Renowned American Industrialist and business magnate, Henry Ford, once said, “Man minus the Machine is a slave; Man plus the Machine is a freeman” This quote holds true in so many aspects in today’s digital era. 

Today, while man is at the helm of technological advancement, there is no denying that innovative technology and machines play an integral role in our daily lives. With a massive boom in path-breaking innovations, individuals and organisations continue to break new ground in technological advancements every day.

In a bid to create the perfect gateway between humans and the world of technology, Input- Devices have emerged as the most significant developments in Human Machine Interface technology.

What is an Input-Output Device? An input device is defined as a piece of equipment or hardware that helps feed data into a computer (examples include a keyboard, mouse) whereas an output device is defined as a piece of equipment or hardware that provides the result of the entered input after it is processed (examples include a printer, monitor, etc.)

The functioning of a computer is entirely dependent on the use of input devices and is an ideal example of how input devices are the bedrock of the man and machine relationship. For instance, the input device here is a piece of equipment or hardware that helps feed data into a computer (examples include keyboard, mouse), whereas an output device is defined as a piece of equipment or hardware that provides the result of the entered input after it is processed (examples include a printer, monitor, etc.).With the help of an input device, instructions are passed on to the computer to perform an action. The computer then responds to the instructions and provides the results through an output device.

Let’s take a look at the most popular types of Input Devices:

 

1. Flexible Membrane Switches

Input Output Devices Flexible Membrane Switches

Ultra-thin assemblies, Flexible Membrane Switches comprise an array of open momentary contact switches that are printed using conductive materials. These switches have membranes that allow SMD (surface mounted diode) LEDs to be embedded and sealed.

Key Features

    • Superior in Quality 
    • Cost-effective
    • Customisable

 

2. PCB-based Hybrid Switches

PCB-based-Hybrid-Switches

Similar to Flexible Membrane Switches, PCB-base Hybrid Switches comprise contact layers etched on a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). These Hybrid Switches can be customised to incorporate discrete passive components, mechanical switches, surface mount devices and provisions for active components.

Key Features

    • They are supported with riveted mountings.
    • They have a completely self-supporting assembly
    • They can also be used in enclosures as well as integrated with other accessories

 

3. Capacitive Keyboards

Capacitative-Keyboards manufacturers

Capacitive keyboards use changes in capacitance (the ratio of the amount of electric charge stored on a conductor to a difference in electric potential) rather than changes in electricity flows used by contact keyboards to register an input when a user has pressed a specific key on the keyboard. Capacitive keyboards are far more durable than contact keyboards.

Key Features

    • A constant flow of electricity through the keyboard as compare to traditional keyboards
    • The input method of these keyboards are quicker and quieter owing to the way they are structured internally
    • Resistant to oxidation, which can weaken a keyboard’s mechanics

 

4. Integrated Keyboards

Integrated Keyboards_1

Integrated keyboards are those that combine various features into a single product and serve multiple functions and specifications. In essence, an integrated keyboard is combined with another part of the computer to facilitate ease of use. The most prominent integrated keyboard is one that most people use on a daily basis – the keyboards on laptops.

Key Features

    • Many integrated keyboards are mobile or movable
    • They are multi-purpose
    • Come in wired or wireless forms

 

5. Illuminated Membrane Keyboards

Illuminated keypad manufacturer

Illuminated keyboards are those powered with back lights. The lights provide illumination from behind and around the keys; as a result the keys become visible in low light or dark environments.

Key Features

    • Can be created in various designs
    • Can be customised as per colours, borders, icons and text

 

6. Membrane Switch Solutions

Membrane-switch-solutions

Membrane switches, one of the many input devices for human-machine interface, are constructed from several layers of plastic films or other flexible materials. In a membrane switch, conductive materials and graphic inks are printed or laminated  onto the surface of these materials. 

Key Features

    •  They work by temporarily closing or opening an electric circuit. 
    •  Can be used along with a custom overlay

 

7. Vandal-resistant keyboards

Prosteel keyboards 02

Designed to survive hostile conditions and vandal attempts, Vandal-resistant keyboards are completely sealed and highly durable·   

Key Features:

    • These keyboards can be made of various materials like stainless steel, aluzinc, aluminum and plastics.
    • Can be customised for a wide range of shapes and sizes
    • Can be embossed or engraved on which also makes it a suitable facilitator for braille  

 

8. Silicone Rubber Keypads

Silicone Rubber Keypads

 

Silicone Rubber Keypads replace mechanical switches at a much lower cost while having greater design versatility. They can be designed to look and feel like traditional mechanical switches while doing away with some of their shortfalls.  

Key Features

    • Silicone rubber keypads are durable, making them resistant to moisture and other hostile environmental condition
    • Screen printing enhances rubber keypads as they print the graphics on the tactile part
    • Overcoating silicone rubber keypads extends the life expectancy when keypad graphics are exposed to conditions like high abrasion applications

 

9. Metal Touch Keyboards

Metal-Touch devices

Designed on the principles of capacitance, Metal touch keyboards are usually made using metallic surfaces such as steel.

Key Features:

    • Metal touch keyboards can be designed with audible and haptic (things related to the sense of touch) feedback
    • These keyboards are waterproof and can operate even when in contact with water
    • The metal plates can be anodised or printed as per individual customer expectations.
    • Metal touch keyboards are very touch sensitive and can be operated even with gloves

 

10. Programmable Keyboards

Programmable Keyboards

Programmable keyboards use macros to execute specific actions with the help of advanced scripting, program keyboard shortcuts, text snippets or launch programs. As a result, these Programmable Keyboards ensure more accurate and time-efficient output. Programmable keyboard include buttons that are customized to perform specific functions such as opening programs, copying and pasting text, content creation, photo editing, and gaming

Key Features

      • Metal touch keyboards can be designed with audible and haptic (things related to the sense of touch) feedback
      • Some Programmable keyboards have all buttons set for the various functions while others include some buttons that are customized.
      • Can be used for gaming or for business purposes as well.

 

Powering a more evolved and seamless system of efficiency, input devices have revolutionised all aspects of life. It makes the work done more accurate and efficient and much more cost-effective – opening up various avenues for humans to upskill themselves. Extensively used in various industries, including Defense, Aviation, Medical, Consumer Electronics, and Test and Measurements, Input Devices are a perfect example of what man and machine can achieve together to break barriers and contribute to the advancement of humankind.

Checkout our wide range of Input Devices and drop us a line to inquire about our design, manufacturing and customization capabilities for your business.