A device that can read text or illustrations printed on paper and translate the information into a form the computer can use. A scanner works by digitizing an image — dividing it into a grid of boxes and representing each box with either a zero or a one, depending on whether the box is filled in. (For color and gray scaling, the same principle applies, but each box is then represented by up to 24 bits.) The resulting matrix of bits, called a bit map, can then be stored in a file, displayed on a screen, and manipulated by programs.
A type of printer that works by spraying ionized ink at a sheet of paper. Magnetized plates in the ink’s path direct the ink onto the paper in the desired shapes. Ink-jet printers are capable of producing high quality print approaching that produced by laser printers. A typical ink-jet printer provides a resolution of 300 dots per inch, although some newer models offer higher resolutions.
A type of printer that utilizes a laser beam to produce an image on a drum. The light of the laser alters the electrical charge on the drum wherever it hits. The drum is then rolled through a reservoir of toner, which is picked up by the charged portions of the drum. Finally, the toner is transferred to the paper through a combination of heat and pressure. This is also the way copy machines work.