Computer Basics: What Is an Output Device? Types of Output Device

What is an output device?

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An output device is a component of hardware for a computer that receives data from the computer and converts that data into a different format. This form can be visual, audio, or text copies such as printed documents.

Difference between input device and output device:-

The main difference between input device and output device is that the input device transmits information to the computer whereas the output device receives information from the computer.

As an example Using a microphone to record a podcast is an example of using an input device. An example of an output device could be the ability to listen to podcasts with connected speakers. Both input and output gadgets are examples of peripherals or accessories.

Analysis of device functionality:-

There are four types of output devices that can be classified into visual print, data, and sound. Each instance of an output device has a different story, so I’ll discuss in detail what process each device goes through, the most popular brands that sell the device, and a fun fact before it becomes part of the history in technology.

What Is an Output Device
What Is an Output Device

Examples of Output Devices.

  1. Monitor
  2. Printer
  3. GPS
  4. Headphones
  5. Computer Speakers
  6. Projector
  7. Sound Card
  8. Video Card
  9. Braille Reader
  10. Speech-Generating Device


Mode: Visual

Use: A monitor consists of a display with circuitry, battery, buttons for adjusting the settings on the screen, as well as an enclosure that houses the entire set of components. The monitor projects information from a computer on a screen, so that users can interact with the information through an interface that is digital.

The Story of Origin: The first monitors made use of the same technology as earlier televisions, using the cathode ray tube as well as an LCD that was fluorescent. The first time this technology was used was to create the computer screen in 1965, in the Uniscope 300 machine, with a built-in CRT display. CRT displays illuminate dots that shine the beam of light that is focused on a specific area on the display. This led to the highest resolution of 1200 by 1600 pixels. LCD (liquid crystal display) was introduced at the end of 2000. It beat CRT monitors by 2007. Today, LCD monitors use flat-display technology. Plasma monitors have a brighter display than LCD and CRT. They function by shining tiny gas bubbles that are charged that are called plasma the display.

Interesting Facts: VDT (video display terminal) and VDU (video display unit) are different names for monitors.


Mode: Print

The primary function of printing devices is to produce copies of the data transferred from the computer into the printer. Printers receive electronic data from computers and produce hard copies.

Photocopying sometimes referred to as xerography, is the earliest technology used in modern printing. It was invented in 1938 by Chester S. Carlson of Queens, New York.

The first printer using inkjet was invented in 1951. There are numerous types of printers including laser and inkjet printers being the two most commonly used. Modern printers typically connect to a computer using a USB cable or Wi-Fi.

GPS (Global Positioning System)

Mode: Data

Use: GPS is a radio-based navigation system comprised of a sender computer as well as the receiver. The sender broadcasts signal 24 satellites which ping the sender computer the precise position of the computer sending the signals by way of longitude and latitude coordinates. Satellites utilize signals from microwaves in order to “talk” to the GPS and provide information about where the vehicle is located, its speed, and many other bits of information.

Origin Story: A Soviet-era technology GPS was initially employed in the 1960s for tracking U.S. submarines carrying nuclear missiles. In the 1960s, the Department of Defense deployed more satellites to boost the growing navigation system. In 1993, there were 24 satellites in orbit, and GPS was extensively used around the globe in aviation, agriculture, military sports, scientific research, and so on.

Fun Fact: Prior to May 1st of 2000, the highest-quality GPS signals were restricted to applications by governments.


Mode: Sound

Function: Headphones transmit audio via a computer to two headphones to one listener. Also called earphones, these headphones let you listen to music and not disturb others in the vicinity.

The Story of the Origin: It’s not clear if there’s a one-person who invented headphones, however, the concept of headphones originates directly from the military. Nathaniel Baldwin of Utah submitted an idea for a headphone for the U.S. Navy in 1910 and was later adopted a few years later by Naval Radio Operators. Koss Corporation then created the first stereo headphones that were commercially available in the year 1958. Today, headphones are available in all sizes and shapes starting with basic earbuds, to traditional ones with padding around the earpieces, and an earpiece that connects over the head of the user.

A Fun Fact about Headphones: They became popular to mainstream use in 1979 thanks to Sony Walkman.

Computer Speakers

Mode: Sound

The function of computer speakers is that they are devices in the hardware that convert the signal coming from the computer’s sound card to audio. Speakers produce sound by using internal amplifiers that vibrate at various frequencies based on the data received provided by computers. This creates sound.

The Story of the Origin The importance of speakers is for those who want to have a bigger sound or surround sound, more bass, or just better quality audio. The first computer speaker that was internal (a speaker in the chassis of laptops) was developed at the end of the year 1981 by IBM. External speakers for computers began to be sold in stores in the early 1990s as computers, gaming, and various other media began to become popular. Certain computer speakers are now wireless and connect to computers via Bluetooth.

The fun part is that you can convert the headphones (or headsets!) into a microphone. The distinction between the microphone and computer speakers is the fact that the sound originates from external sound sources rather than information from the computer.


Mode: Visual

Function: As the name implies the gadget “projects” computer images or video onto walls or screens.

The origin Story Projectors originally were not a device for output. Projectors were initially invented and utilized in the late 19th century of France. Through time, biunial lanterns were used to project ink onto glass by lecturers, photographers as well as magicians. Biunial lanterns are lantern that has projection capabilities. “Biunial” means combining two items into one. So the term “biunial” refers to an directional lantern as well as a glass slide that has prints on it to project.

In the 1920s, filmstrips were utilized to display “films” in classrooms. The knob could be turned to allow teachers to stop specific slides. Film copies of clear films for projection didn’t come into existence until the 1960s when 3M was recognized as the top producer of clear film and projectors.

The data projector was first invented in the year 1980. This was the first year it was classified as to be an “output device.” The data projector was the initial version of the projector that was the closest to the modern-day. With a single cathode tube (CRT) it was the very first projector that projected monochromatically.

Today, projectors are used to present, watch films, or as a teaching tool because they allow everyone in the room to view images created by one computer. Modern projectors connect to computers using the HDMI (high-definition multimedia) cable or VGA (video graphics array) cable.

Fun The fact is that 3D projectors are made to project two pictures of the same object from various angles at the same time. When wearing 3D glasses, the user will be able to see a 3D projection made up of several images superimposed.

Sound Card

Mode: Sound

function: The sound card regulates the output signalling to sound, which allows devices such as headphones and speakers to function. It is referred to as an expander card meaning it is connected to the motherboard. While a sound card is not essential for computers’ essential functions, you will need one in order for games to view films and listen to music and even use video and audio conferences.

History of the Origins: The first sound card was created by Sherwin Gooch in 1972 and was utilized to create the PLATO system (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations). PLATO was the first computer-based learning system to be widely used. It wasn’t until 1988 when audio cards became widely used on PCs.

When data from computers is transmitted via a sound card it is transmitted to the sound card digitally. The sound card is then able to translate the digital data (in the form of binary or 1s and 0s) into analog information, which is vibrations or output in the shape of sound.

Interesting Facts: The popularization of sound cards started within the gaming world. Sierra Entertainment, a gaming platform was the first to offer add-ons, such as sound cards which allowed the industry of sound cards to expand without becoming an under-the-radar solution to the growing problem that is a lack of sound when playing.

Video Card

Mode: Visual

Funktion: As with the audio card it functions as an expander card and slot in the motherboard. It processes videos and images, allowing visuals to be shown on a monitor. Many computers come with basic graphics and video capabilities built into their motherboard, however, for higher-quality, faster graphics it is advisable to have a video card essential.

The Story of Origin: Video cards are also called GPUs or graphics processing units. Prior to the advent of modern GPUs, IBM introduced the MDA (monochrome display adapter). The MDA could display visuals, such as lines and text for applications like drafting, but did not provide any graphics-based experience.

To increase the performance of this burgeoning technology of computing, Hercules Computer Technology invented the Hercules Graphics Card, which combined into the MDA to provide the user with a bitmapped (or “rasterized,” or pixels) graphics experience. In the early 1990s, graphic technology began to look similar to modern graphics cards and has improved in graphic quality and speed substantially since the time it was first introduced.

Interesting Facts: Video cards work both in 2D and 3D ones. Images such as browsers, computer desktops as well as PDFs are regarded as 2D while computer games are considered to be 3D.

Braille Reader

Mode: Print

function: A braille reader is a type of device that allows a person who is blind to read text that is displayed on a computer display. The text is transmitted from computers to devices in which it is converted into braille and then read through pushing rounded pins on an uninvolved surface. Braille readers are also known as braille displays and are available in different sizes. Braille readers can be found as distinct devices that are not connected to a keyboard or as a component of the keyboard. The majority of them use piezoelectric technology or electrical energy generated by mechanical pressure that creates one line of text as raised bumps.

It was this way until late in 2018, in the year when Blitlab offered as an alternative to limitations for braille-reading devices. Blitlab will, when it launches will allow visually impaired users to access the internet, read newspapers and books more independently. It is still developing. The device will cost approximately $500, which is a small amount in comparison to the traditional braille readers that cost anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000.

History of the Origins: Braille is an alphabet with 63 characters created in the year 1824 through Louis Braille. Braille could be embossed into paper and other objects for a long time prior to the time that braille readers were created. First, braille-based output was first patented on the 25th of April, 1975 through the Schonherr Company, and braille reader technology has been evolving gradually since then.

Interesting Information: Blitlab is the first braille reader with a tablet technology that uses perforated glass screens which raises bumps as the computer reads the website’s text and then converts it into braille.

Speech-Generating Device (SGD)

Mode: Sound

Funktion: SGDs, also called voice output communication aids, convert text into speech. When a user inputs a word, once the commands are received the SGD reads the message out loud.History: The first version of the SGD utilized printing output. This was the “patient-operated selector mechanism,” known as POSSUM, that identified the symbols on a screen and lift them up to the user. In the early 1980s, Dynavox was created by students of Carnegie Mellon University with the intention of creating an efficient SGD that could be used by a girl who suffered from cerebral palsy. This led to the development of the EyeTyper the device that allowed users to write using their eyes. This could later be followed by a spoken word.

Interesting Facts: The most famous usage of the SGD was made by Stephen Hawking. Hawking was an astrophysicist who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (also called ALS). Lou Gehrig’s disease gradually deteriorates nerves in the brain and spine which causes gradually losing muscle control. This can include the inability to speak.

Devices that work as both output and input.

Some such machines in a computer that provide both output and input and they can be used in both the forms which are as follows


Mode: wireless

Bluetooth is a standard for wireless communication. Devices like mobile phones laptops, laptops, computers digital cameras, printers, and video games are linked by Bluetooth to exchange data. They use radio waves to link. Bluetooth was initially created to cut down on cable lengths linking computer systems to each other. Bluetooth can be used to connect devices over extremely short distances, perhaps only a few meters.

Origin Story:-

Bluetooth specification was initially developed in 1994 by Hartson who was developing the Ericsson (located at Emmen location in the Netherlands) radio system. The Bluetooth specifications were then formalized in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). SIG was founded on the 20th of May, 1999. It was created with Ericsson, Ericsson Sony, IBM, Intel, Toshiba, and Nokia and is also called Bluetooth Technology IEEE802 151.

There are a variety of standardizations for Bluetooth. Data dissemination rates vary. Presently, rates are 3 to 4 MB it each second. Bluetooth applications are usually used for connecting a headset to the mobile phone, or to connect keyboard, mouse, or printer to computers.

Fact: – In comparison, a Bluetooth device uses 3 percent less energy than any other mobile phone.

fax machine

The fax machine listens to the document and converts it into a series of keys that can be transferred like normal computer data when the tax recipient is the same. X converts the data sent by the machine into dots and images. Reprints thus serving as both input and output.


It is a device that converts analog signals received over a telephone line into digital signals. As well as converts digital signals into analog signals, thus it works in both ways, so it can be called both output and input. Similarly, it operates the information received from the computer through telephone lines.

Other examples are touchscreen displays and digital cameras.

MFD (Multi Function Equipment)

This same device works in different ways, which is often different from different devices. Multi-function device is a combination of at least two of the following devices, such as printer, scanner, copier, ear phone, etc. is an example

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