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Communicating With Computers

- By Michael Signal
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(1) Computer input devices have changed a lot over time. Today, you can tell a computer what to do by clicking a mouse, typing a command, or even sliding your finger across a screen. Computers weren’t always so easy to communicate with though. The first computers didn’t have mice, keyboards, or touch-screens. They didn’t even have monitors. Advances in computer input devices have made computers very easy to use.
 
(2) The first electronic computer was a massive machine called ENIAC. It took up an entire basement. ENIAC did not have a keyboard, mouse, or any type of display screen. Users would program the computer with punch cards. A punch card was a small, thick piece of paper with holes punched into it. The way the holes were punched told the computer what to do. The computer would also give the programmers information by spitting out punch cards those programmers would have to interpret.
 
(3) Keyboards made it easier to input information into computers. Whirlwind was the first computer that used a keyboard for input. It was a huge military computer, completed in 1951. The first computer mouse showed up in 1968, but it was quite different from today’s mice. The prototype was made of wood! It took decades for keyboards and mice to become available to the public. Eventually, they became the primary input devices for personal computers, but now that is changing.
 
(4) Now it’s easier than ever to input information into a computer. Computers still have keyboards and mice, but some computers also have touch-screens. With a touch-screen you enter information by touching or sliding your finger right across the screen. Tablet computers usually don’t have keyboards or mice. The main way to input information into a tablet computer is by using the touch-screen. Sometimes it is the only way, but a touch-screen still isn’t the most advanced way to communicate with a computer.
 
(5) New technologies are always being developed to make it easier to interact with computers. Some computers have sensors that can sense the way you move your hands, even if you don’t touch the screen. Other computers can be controlled by a user’s voice. Some people even want to create computers that users can control with their minds! Computer technology advances very quickly, so those mind controlled computers might be here sooner than you think.

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Questions and Answers Communicating With Computers

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Word Lists:

Input : what is put in, taken in, or operated on by any process or system

Computer : an electronic device for storing and processing data, typically in binary form, according to instructions given to it in a variable program.

Prototype : a first, typical or preliminary model of something, especially a machine, from which other forms are developed or copied

User : a person who uses or operates something, especially a computer or other machine.

Whirlwind : a column of air moving rapidly around and around in a cylindrical or funnel shape.

Interact : act in such a way as to have an effect on another; act reciprocally

Device : a thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, especially a piece of mechanical or electronic equipment

Monitor : an instrument or device used for observing, checking, or keeping a continuous record of a process or quantity

Information : facts provided or learned about something or someone

Technology : the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry

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Rating: A

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