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1.1 - Computer Hardware

Exam Board:



2016 - Unit 1 

Input Devices

An input device allows data, such as text, images, video or sound, to be entered into a computer system.

Common input devices:

  • Mouse

  • Keyboard

  • Scanner

  • Controller

  • Microphone

  • Webcam

  • Chip Reader

  • OCR / OMR Scanner

  • Barcode Scanner

  • Graphics Tablet

  • Sensors (e.g. light or temperature)

  • Touch Screen

  • Remote Control

  • Biometric Scanner (e.g. fingerprint or iris)

  • Concept Keyboard


Output Devices

There are many outputs created by a computer system, including printed documents, on-screen data and sound. 

Common output devices:

  • Monitor

  • Printer (e.g. inkjet or laser)

  • Plotter

  • Speakers

  • Projector

  • Alarm

  • Light

  • Headphones

  • Touch Screen

  • Braille Terminal

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Communication devices can be found in 1.5.

Biometric Devices

A biometric device uses a human characteristic as part of its security mechanism, such as a fingerprint, iris (eye), face or voice

Organisations using biometrics must instruct each employee to first input their information to a database, by scanning their fingerprint for example. Whenever the scanner scans a finger it searches in its database to see if the fingerprint matches one that it already holds. Only authorised employees will have already scanned their fingerprints so if there is no match then access is not allowed

Advantages of biometric devices:

  • Security is improved as biometrics can't be shared like passwords can.

  • Even if a password is exposed the system can't be accessed without having the biometric too.

  • Biometric scanners verify that a user is who they claim to be.

  • Using a biometric device (e.g. fingerprint scanner) might be quicker and easier than entering a username and password.

Disadvantages of biometric devices:

  • Can be expensive to install and all users must take the time to initially set up by entering their biometric into the database so they will be recognised by the system.

  • Unreliable in that it can be affected by the environment (e.g. dirty fingers can't be used with a fingerprint scanner or voice recognition may not work in a loud environment).

  • Disabled users might not be able to provide the biometric required.

  • Privacy concerns - users might not want their personal characteristics stored on a computer system.

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Questo's Questions

1.1 - Computer Hardware:

1. Make a list of 5 input devices and 5 output devices. Challenge yourself to look up and include devices from this page you may not be familiar with. [10]

2a. State 3 human features that may be recorded by a biometric device. [3]

2b. Describe how a biometric device works. [3]

2c. A school is considering installing biometric devices to allow only sixth form students to enter certain parts of the school. Describe 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages to the school of using biometrics in this way. [10]

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