Calculator: People’s best friend

We use calculators quite often. Despite the technological advancement, the calculator has been a good friend to people. From the time of abacus to the modern smartphone, this device has secured an important place in our lives. It performs arithmetical operations and certain mathematical functions. If you wish to associate degree illustration of a speed of technological amendment, look no other than the electronic calculator, the modest little device that will be the foremost advanced add instantly which you hold within the palm of your hand. This powerful nevertheless diminutive device has undergone some important facelifts over the millennia however; the basic functions would be acquainted in thought to our ancestors. 

History of the calculator

The history of a calculator, or what we all know of it, began with the manual Abacus in Ancient Sumerian and Egypt in around 2000-2500 BC. In the early time, a sort of hand-operated mechanical calculator that used beads on rods was used. It made addition and subtraction faster and easier, and this technology was stuck for the next 3600 years. In the 17th century, the first mechanical calculator appears in Europe. That was capable of doing rapid multiplications and divisions. In 1642 one Blaise Paschal created a tool that would perform arithmetic operations with simply two numbers.  The key part of his machine was it carries a mechanism that adds one to nine on one dial.

The big leap in the development of the calculators was when a microchip was developed. This made the calculator portable as it used rechargeable cells. This was a huge innovation by the time.

By the time calculators became smaller and smaller and LED screens also came into the picture. More advanced calculation capabilities were introduced to the pocket calculators.

Advanced calculators

The advanced calculators are different from the old calculators. The old calculators were not pocket-friendly, however; the advanced calculators are more pocket-friendly and are created to perform more complex calculations. There are several types of calculator created these days for different purposes. It contains a keyboard with buttons for digits and arithmetical operations. The calculator’s display has a liquid crystal display (LCD) as output. They also have the ability to store numbers into computer memory. The power source of calculators is mostly batteries, solar cells, or main electricity. 

Internal working of a calculator

A calculator mainly consists of a power source (mainly electricity, battery, or solar cells), a keypad that is used to input numbers and function commands, a display panel that displays input, numbers, commands, and results, the advanced calculators mostly use dot matrix displays. It also has a processor chip that can also be called as a microprocessor or central processing unit.

Functions of Microprocessor

  • The first unit of the processor chip is a scanning unit, whenever a calculator is steam-powered on; it scans the data input device waiting to choose up an electrical signal when a key is pressed.
  • The second unit is the encoder unit that converts the numbers and functions to binary code.
  • The third function is X and Y register, they are numbers store, that stores the number temporarily that is used while doing calculations. All the numbers go into the X register and the number stored in the X register is shown in the display.
  • The fourth function is a flag register; it stores the function for the calculation until the calculator needs it.
  • The fifth function is permanent memory also known as ROM, the arithmetic operations are built in the binary form. These instructions are programs that are stored permanently, and cannot be erased.
  • The sixth function is user memory also known as RAM; in this, the numbers are stored by the user and can be changed or erased.
  • The seventh function is Arithmetic logic unit (ALU); it executes all the arithmetic and logical functions and provides the result in a binary form.
  • The last function is a binary decoder unit; it converts binary code into decimal numbers which can be displayed on the display unit.

What happens when you press a key in the calculator?

  • Whenever you press any key on the calculator it displays a number or symbol on the display screen. However, there are much more other things happening in the background to make those numbers display.
  • As soon as you press a button on the calculator there is another membrane underneath which gets pressed.
  • The button pushes down making electrical contact between two layers in the keyboard sensor and keyboard circuit detects that.
  • The processor chips understand which key you have pressed.
  • It activates the appropriate segment on the display corresponding to the number you have pressed.
  • The calculator will store the number you have pressed in the register and it will display that in the display screen. If we press another number it wipes the previous number and displays the latest one. When you hit the = sign it will calculate the two registers and will display the results.

Use of calculator in education

The technology of the calculator grows by the time the use of the calculator also increased. The calculator has become a common need in everyday tasks. It has improved its mechanism from basic addition and subtraction to advance calculations. Hence, the use of calculator increased for education purposes also, in most of the countries students use calculators for schoolwork or mathematical operations. The scientific calculators are also common among the students as it can perform more complex calculations of math and physics. This has also enhanced the speed of working of students and helped them to understand the arithmetic operations better.

Calculators have always been helpful to humans in every aspect; it has made the more complex calculations easier. It is one of the best inventions happen which has made life easier. We cannot imagine life without a calculator now. Thanks to the inventor who thought about making the calculations easier and understood the importance of calculators in the world.

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