Hope you would have gone through and enjoyed the previous article where we discussed “What is a software?”.
What is a Hardware?
Article Id : 4
Topics : Computers, Hardware
We had seen about software in the previous article. We had also seen that it is possible to write a software (or an application) for any real world operation provided we have another thing called hardware.
What could be the term hardware mean? A hardware is a device (like a computer) which runs on electrical energy and with few physical components to do its function. You can take many devices for example which we use in our day to day lives. A wet grinder, refrigerator, motor, generator etc., all are hardware only.
What is so special about them? Well, a hardware is a device which could act on its own with its defined inputs and capabilities. There is nothing special about it. In case, you want to automate the things so that without any manual interference the things should be happening at a stipulated/scheduled time.
Manual interference means the necessity of a human being present in front of the device to provide any intermediate data which is required to fulfill its operation.
The term automation means we do something by writing an application so that we can avoid the presence of human being in front of the device and we can also do the work effectively.
For doing this, we have a software which is an application which will do the work for us for a faster processing.
In computer science terms, a hardware is also called as a peripheral.
A software alone can NOT do much for our faster processing as it needs to interact with other device for which the software written. Say, for example you write a software for automating your Wet grinder and its tasks. Typically a wet grinder needs the ingredients (like rice, water) to be fed in for doing its work (grinding). It also needs an intermediate attention from the people as and when to monitor the status of grinding and act accordingly. At the end (may be after a stipulated time), you need to stop it otherwise it would overdo the process which is not preferred.
We can automate this task by writing a software so that we capture the time when we start the wet grinder and we can make it stopped after the scheduled time period gets over. For doing this, we need to really talk to the device (hardware, which is a wet grinder here). Otherwise, how do we pass an instruction or a command from our software to the hardware?
Likewise, you can interact at any given time with your hardware through your sofware for doing whatever you want to achieve.
You can make your refrigerator turn on or off at a particular time and do any piece of work you wish to accomplish. However, there are few physical limitations. You can ONLY achieve the things which are possible through the wet grinder but in an effective way. Not whatever you want . If at all an activity is NOT possible to be done through the respective hardware, you can NOT write a software to make it automated. Makes Sense? Of course.
This is how actually the hardware (peripheral, device) in combination with the software works.
Inside the computer also, we have a set of hardware like Keyboard, Mouse etc., All are devices with the physical shape and size. In order for them to work effectively with the computer (which is again a hardware, but when we mean talking with the computer we really mean talking inside the components of the computer which is a software, example Operating System), we need to have an application which will be intermediating between our software and the hardware.
This particular software we call it as a ‘Driver‘, whose main job is to pass on the instructions from hardware to software. Printer is one such example.
We can talk about the need of Driver , Driver software in detail in the next example.