Inputs and Outputs

At the simplest level computers might be described as input/output machines – but so could our bodies and many other types of machines – so its not a very helpful definition.

Think through some examples


Have a look at this very fancy (and a little silly) robot – what inputs and outputs does it need to do the job its trying to do? 

Now lets think about our own bodies. What types of inputs does it need and provide for? What does it do with the stuff that comes through those inputs? How does the input work?

What are all the different types of inputs you can think of? Lets list them.

Put a list of inputs together like this;

Body,  Eyes,  Light.
Body, Ears,  Sound.
Playstation, Button, Movement.
Radio, Dial, Movement.

etc, etc

Once we have a good list let do the same for outputs.

Body, Voice, Speech.
Computer, Screen, Light.

etc, etc

Think about how the body works with technology to extend its outputs.
Is a pencil an input device, an output device, or both?

Does this make the pencil a Machine or is it simply a tool? Is there a difference? What is that difference?

What is the difference between writing with a pencil and writing with a computer. How are the inputs and their relations to outputs different in each case?


If the body can be thought as an input/output device and the pencil can too – what is achieved by connecting different input/output devices together – what is the effect? what do these connections allow?