IO, or Input/Output, devices refer to any physical devices that interact with a CPU. Input devices send signals to a computer and output devices allow for computers to send information out from a computer.

When it comes to devices, we mainly think of examples that require direct human interaction; however, the large range of IO devices can be categorized into three categories: human-readable, machine-readable, and communication.

Human readable devices are devices that can be interpreted/understood in a natural language structure by humans. Some examples include printers, keyboards, and a mouse.

Machine readable devices are devices that are formatted to allow communication between different hardware, without the need for human interpretation. Some examples include hard drives/disks, controllers, and SD cards.

Communication devices are devices that allow devices to interact over a network. A network is a set of devices that are linked to share some resources over a shared medium. Some examples of communication devices include modems and Bluetooth adapters.


Take a look at the table to the right - it organizes some IO hardware devices into the three categories discussed above.

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