What Is The Light Pen

What Is The Light Pen - The pointing device (guide tool) that is used to run the computer is not just the mouse. There is still another guide tool called a light pen. Is that a light pen?

A light pen is a tool in the form of a pen that allows the user to run the computer through the monitor. Light pens are computer tools that are only good for certain purposes, such as for drawing on a monitor or identifying important sentences in a document. Therefore, its use is not as wide as other input devices such as a mouse.

When translated into what is, a light pen means light pen. Despite the name, actually, the light pen does not work by emitting light on the monitor, but by using the light emitted by the monitor. In the light pen, there is a sensor whose role is to find out the light and send a signal to the computer.

Light Pen History and Changes

The first light pen was created around 1952 as part of the Whirlwind project at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), under the leadership of Jay Forrester. Throughout the 1960s light pens were common in graphics terminals such as the IBM 2250, and existed for the IBM 3270 text-only terminal. light pens came into use during the early 1980s.

By using a lightpen, we can immediately enter data, either in the form of numbers or letters to the CPU via the monitor. Even though using a lightpen, some keys on the keyboard are still needed, including setting numbers or letters according to the type of letter on the computer and execution time.

Lightpen is the latest development of input devices because this tool is used like we write on paper. On the lightpen, there is a cable that connects the lightpen with the monitor so that the monitor that is used is not a commonly used monitor but a special monitor that has a connecting cable with a lightpen,

For example, a Sharp Netbook connects a lightpen with a soft cable to the computer, and the light pen is used to write on it. a list sector or may not be written to the monitor. The use of this lightpen generally uses a program for the design, such as CAD (Computer-Aided Design) or CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing).

Of the various types of roles, light pens have advantages and disadvantages. The following outlines the advantages and disadvantages of the lightpen.

Understanding Light Pen

A light Pen is an input device or electronic pointer that is generally used for technical drawing or graphics on a computer. You can meet some graphic designers to find out if this hardware is really very useful for drawing. This hardware acts as an alternative to a computer keyboard and mouse.

Some Light Pens are equipped with a drawing board, where on this board the upper surface consists of several hundred places, and the following places are then connected to a computer. 

Each touch of the pen in the corresponding place will generate a pulse of electronic pulses. Some architects, many of whom place paper containing drawings on a drawing board, and with the light pen they have, they follow the drawing.

The Role of the Light Pen

Light Pen plays a role in modifying and designing images with screens (monitors). The light pen has a sensor that can send a light signal to a computer which is then recorded, where the monitor works by recording six electronic signals per line per second.

  • Commonly called Graphic Tablet
  • Used to design/draw with the monitor
  • Sends a beam signal to the monitor which is then recorded

Light Pen Work Steps

The use of light pens is sometimes equipped with a drawing board, where on this board the upper surface consists of several hundred small places, and the following places are then connected to the computer (see the touch screen). 

Each touch of the pen in the corresponding place will generate a pulse of electronic pulses. Some architects, many of whom place a paper containing a drawing on a drawing board, and with the existing light pen the area of ​​the stroke through which it passes. 

That way, the light pen will place the image status accurately and carefully. In the end, the image pattern is passed through the monitor. This light pen with a drawing board is commonly referred to as the Graphics Tablet. 

There is also a light pen that is used to read bar codes. The light emitted will read the bar-code, and replace it in an electronic pulse and send it to the CPU

Advantages of Light Pen

As a guide tool, light pens have advantages and disadvantages. The advantage, the light pen does not require space. Unlike the mouse, which requires a place to place the mouse pad and mouse. This advantage makes the light pen better for a narrow work desk.

Another advantage, when viewed from the ergonomics factor, is that the light pen is easier to use for drawing. The movement is more flexible when compared to the mouse. It is light in weight with high precision making it comfortable to wear to read bar codes.

  • Device direct pointing (direct control over the monitor).
  • Does not require coordination between eyes and hands.
  • Users can immediately change/manipulate what is seen on the computer monitor.
  • Really useful as a pointing and positioning tool.

Disadvantages of Light Pen

The biggest drawback is that the light pen requires a special monitor, namely monitors made with cathode-ray tube technology. These monitors are generally larger in size and heavier in weight than LCD monitors.

The light pen can only perform its role as a guiding device on CRT monitors because the way it works is that it detects the electron beams used in that type of monitor.

The problem is not only on the physical side of the monitor but also on the availability of the monitor. The problem is that CRT monitors are outdated. In addition, the price of LCD monitors is increasingly affordable so that the average desktop computer currently uses an LCD monitor.

  • When using the lightpen, some monitors are covered by hands
  • Physical fatigue (tired) or tired hands
  • Hands away from the keyboard
  • The light pen must be lifted
  • The light pen can disturb the monitor
  • Easily crushed or broken

Light pens can make hands tired when used for long periods of time and without being tucked in with rest. This problem cannot be separated from the status of the hand when using the light pen. 

This factor is also a trigger why the light pen is not as famous as the mouse. When the mouse is used, the hand can rest on the table, in contrast to the light pen which requires the wearer's hand to hang continuously in front of the monitor.

Because of these shortcomings, and because there has been touch screen technology and better graphics tablets, light pens are not being used again. However, the term light pen is still quite often used today to refer to digital pens.

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