Exhibition Input/Output


The IPO principle is the foundation of data processing

© ZCOM-Stiftung

From the typewriter … to the computer keyboard

Data input using keys and keyboard layouts and their functions stem from the typewriter.

The Englishman Henry Mill first patented the idea of recording characters on paper by mechanical means in 1714. Peter Mitterhofer from South Tyrol built the first prototype of a typewriter, the so-called Vienna Model, in 1864. Today, Mitterhofer is regarded as the inventor of the typewriter. However, other models of typewriter appeared shortly afterwards and independently of his invention.

The Hansen Writing Ball was the first typewriter in the world to be manufactured in small series. Hans Rasmus Malling-Hansen patented it in 1870. The proud owners of one of these typewriters also included the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.


In 1868, US inventor Christopher Latham Sholes rearranged the keys of the typewriter for the first time. The initial alphabetic keyboard layout created problems, because it caused the typebars to jam. Sholes avoided this by moving apart the letters that followed one another most frequently.

That is how Sholes invented the QWERTY layout – named after the arrangement of the first letters on the top left of the keyboard. It was eventually transferred to the computer keyboard although there were no longer any typebars left to jam!

Depending on language and region, a distinction is made between three types of keyboard layouts with Latin letters:

QWERTY – keyboard layout for English-speaking countries

QWERTZ – keyboard layout for German-speaking countries

AZERTY – keyboard layout for French-speaking countries

Facts & figures:

Once the QWERTY keyboard layout became established no new system really had a chance. This is still the case although far more efficient layouts have been found. The best known of these is the Dvorak keyboard, developed in 1936. It places all vowels on the left and the important consonants on the right, which means the most common letters are located in a row.

 Facts & figures:

Japan is the country with the shortest space bar. The representation of all Japanese characters is only possible using additional keys next to the space bar.
When you press the space bar, roughly 600,000 other people around the world are also pressing a space bar at the same time.
The world’s only keyboard monument is in Yekaterinburg in Russia. People jump from key to key to make a wish. If you want to start again from the beginning, you jump from Ctrl to Alt to Del.


 Assignment of keys to individual fingers in the touch typing system. In the home row the fingers of the left hand lie on the keys A, S, D and F, while the fingers of the right hand lie on the keys J, K, L and Ö. The thumbs are used to press the space bar. © VivienSC / Wikimedia Commons, license: CC BY-SA 2.0 DE


Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128 home computer with programming commands on the keyboard

1986 onward

The ZX Spectrum 128 was a further development of the ZX Spectrum and also the last computer to be made by the Sinclair company. It had 128 kB of RAM, a sound chip and additional interfaces. The cooling fins of the heat sink for the voltage regulator are located on the right-hand side of the computer. This special feature gave the machine its nickname in English-speaking countries: Toast Rack.

 ATARI 800 XL computer combined with the Erika 3004 electronic typewriter

1987 onward

Printers were expensive and difficult to obtain as output devices in the GDR. As a result, technology enthusiasts used their ingenuity to utilize typewriters as printers in their homes. This computer has had an interface added to connect the ATARI 800 XL to the Erika electronic typewriter.

ASHATA laser keyboard


This special keyboard works via a Bluetooth connection or a USB interface. Its easy operation and transportability mean it can be used in places where conventional keyboards would be unsuitable.

Extra: Mouse knowledge

Fun facts:

 The mouse was invented twice: once by a team led by the American Douglas Engelbart and almost simultaneously by the German Rainer Mallebrein working for the Telefunken company. > See also our Mainboard Interface display at the window

The mouse was initially called a “bug” by Engelbart, a word that does not only mean “beetle” or “insect” in English, but is also the synonym for a programming error.


Wireless computer mouse in Ferrari design

Game lever, joystick, controller …

The idea for the joystick is based on the aircraft control column, which was first developed around 1900 by Wilhelm Kress, the Austrian aviation pioneer. Joysticks were also used to remote control flying bombs during World War II. It was only later that people discovered their potential for peaceful use during work or recreation. Joysticks and controllers have now become a normal part of many people’s everyday lives.

High-tech controller for (almost) everything

Today there are countless types of joysticks and controllers that are used in many fields of work to manage and control processes, devices or machines. The advantages of the joystick are its simple operation, robustness and reliability. It is especially useful in medical technology and mechanical engineering as well as in special-purpose, rail and electric vehicles and watercraft – and also for an exciting, but relaxing game in your free time!


Spielhebel (game lever)

VEB Kombinat Robotron, 1984

Price: 130 GDR marks

Joystick for the KC 85 computer

Do-it-yourself construction, circa 1985

Atari joystick for the Atari 7800 game console

Atari Corporation (USA), circa 1989

Competition Pro Star joystick

Kempston Micro Electronics (GB), early 1990s

Price: 39.95 deutschmarks

Quickjoy Supercharger joystick

Spectra-Video, Inc. (USA), early 1990s

Price: 19.95 deutschmarks

The first video game console

German-born engineer Ralph Baer developed the prototype of a video game console, the Brown Box, in 1968. It became the basis for the first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, in 1972. It had no processor or working memory and had to be connected to a television set. The analogue technology meant players had to remember or write down their scores. Game control was realized by two control knobs. Popular games included Tennis and Submarine. Approximately 360,000 consoles were sold between 1972 and 1975, roughly 10,000 of them in Germany.


 Ralph Baer’s Brown Box of 1967/68

 © Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

 Ralph Baer, inventor of the first video game console, at the 2009 Lara Games Awards in Cologne

© Michael Schilling / Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC BY-SA 3.0

 Ralph Baer (right) plays Tennis on the Brown Box against David Winter (left)

 © Collection David Winter, Paris

 User manual for the Magnavox Odyssey video game console

 © Collection David Winter, Paris

 Fun facts:

Comfortable game play was possible on the Magnavox Odyssey from your armchair or sofa because the controller cable was a generous 1.80 metres in length.

Out of the living room and into the world

The video and computer game industry grew rapidly during the 1970s. The Atari company launched the arcade video game Pong in 1972. In 1975 Atari’s video game console conquered living rooms. The success story of the Nintendo Game Boy began in 1989 with the game Tetris; Pokémon followed in 1998. Over 118 million Game Boys were sold worldwide. Sony also became a global player on the computer game market with its PlayStation.


64´er – Das Magazin für Computer-Fans, September 1991

 You will find an overview of joysticks and much more in our Multimedia Station.

 Magnavox Odyssey video game console

Lender: Haus der Computerspiele

Magnavox Odyssey was the first commercial video game console. It was launched in Germany at the IFA consumer electronics fair in 1973 under the name Odyssee. Ralph Baer, the “father of video games”, had a big influence on Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, who developed the game Pong shortly after Baer’s presentation of the video game console.

Atari Touch Me


Lender: Haus der Computerspiele

The Atari game Touch Me first appeared in 1974 in an arcade version. The principle of the game consists of pressing four black buttons in the right order. Ralph Baer and Howard J. Morrison discovered the game’s potential. They expanded it with coloured buttons and musical sound effects and put it on the market under the name Simon. Atari attempted to build on this success, and in 1978 began distributing a portable device with three different games under the name Atari Touch Me.

Mini Senso

circa 1978

Lender: Haus der Computerspiele

The Mini Senso game is based on the Simon game by Ralph Baer and Howard J. Morrison. The game is also known in German-speaking countries as Senso. It was originally conceived as a pure table-top game. The portable Mini Senso was developed to make it mobile. The four coloured buttons blink at random and make a short sound. The player has to remember the correct order and afterwards repeat it. After each round an additional colour and sound combination is added.

Power Glove

Mattel Inc., 1989

Lender: Haus der Computerspiele

Toymaker Mattel produced the unusual Power Glove controller for Nintendo in 1989. This was one of the first attempts at using motion control in a video game console. Nintendo took this step to maintain its market position. The Power Glove did not work reliably and faced criticism because of its imprecise control. The glove was originally supplied without software. Later, two video games were created, Super Glove Ball and Bad Street Brawler, which were written exclusively for the Power Glove. Despite all the criticism, some 100,000 of these data gloves were sold.

The digitization senses

All living things – and many technological systems – are aware of their surroundings. Information is recorded and processed. We are therefore always surrounded by sensors or sensor technology. Sensors function here as measuring probes or measurement recorders. They register physical or chemical characteristics, e.g. in a smartphone, car or blood glucose meter. And what “sensors” do humans use? Their five senses!

Sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

Facts & figures:

Modern physiology identifies four additional senses in humans: temperature, pain, balance and body awareness or proprioception. In addition to these, there are also other sensory skills, but we are not consciously aware of them.

The term “sixth sense” is used when we notice something without (consciously) perceiving it with our sensory organs.

How sensor devices work

As a rule, when temperature, brightness or pressure is measured, a non-electrical signal is converted into an electrical one. We differentiate between optical, temperature and force sensors, for example, on the basis of the kind of measurement involved. Many sensors cannot convert the signal directly. Accordingly, a transducer initially converts the input signal into an interim chemical or physical energy. A transformer then generates electrical energy (e.g. current, voltage, power) that is measurable and therefore translatable into a digital signal.

Sensor requirements

  • Accuracy
  • Resistance to environmental influences
  • Quality and reliability
  • Cost-effectiveness


The numerous sensors on an Audi A7 car

© Audi AG

Sensor technology as the basis for autonomous driving

© Robert Bosch GmbH, 2015


 Huawei Y7 smartphone

Programming languages


A programming language formulates calculation specifications that a computer has to carry out. Normally this is done by means of step-by-step instructions made up of allowed (text) patterns. However, the computer does not understand this source text yet

A compiler or interpreter has first to translate it into the binary machine language.

From Plankalkül to Python

The first generation of computers were programmed by being “hardwired”. As a result, reprogramming took a very long time. At first, because large numbers of men were conscripted during World War II, it was primarily women who programmed mainframe computers. High-level programming languages made more complex programs possible. The first programming language was devised by Konrad Zuse: Plankalkül was developed in the years 1942 to 1946. Since that time over a thousand programming languages have been developed, most of them for special purposes. Roughly 20 programming languages are widely used today. The most popular include Python, Java, JavaScript, C++ and C#.


Family tree of the most important programming languages

© ZCOM-Stiftung

 Margaret Hamilton next to the software for the Apollo program

© Draper Laboratory, Adam Cuerden / Wikimedia Commons  Grace Murray Hopper in her office in Washington, D.C., 1978 In 1952, US computer scientist Grace Hopper developed the first compiler A-0 for the UNIVAC computer. It performed the translation of the program into machine code. Grace Hopper also worked on the new programming language FLOW-MATIC, whose instructions were very similar to English statements for the first time. FLOW-MATIC became the foundation for COBOL, which is still used today for programming commercial applications.© Lynn Gilbert / Wikimedia Commons, license: CC BY-SA 4.0

Our output: electronic waste 

Art Installation: 

The following rule applies to input and output devices just as much as it does to other computer components: their lifetimes and above all their operating lives are limited. When we buy a new computer system we often replace all the input and output devices, even if they still work. Although it is forbidden, this electronic waste frequently ends up in Africa. There the scrap is “reprocessed” on local waste dumps without any protection for people’s health or the environment. Plastic parts are burned and the collected usable raw materials are sold and returned to the production cycle.

The art installation highlights this connection by presenting a monitor housing as an animal snout symbolizing the natural world, which is increasingly being encroached upon by electrical and electronic components. The game element reflects how we close our eyes to the problem of electronic waste. This problem, represented here by the Tetris blocks, can be pushed aside, but it will not disappear.


Use the joystick to control the individual blocks. You can move the blocks by pushing them to the left or right. Pushing up makes the block turn and pushing down accelerates the rate of fall. You can choose between single-player and two-player mode using the two buttons. Points are scored when a player has assembled a continuous horizontal line of blocks. The line is taken to pieces and then arranged as waste for the opposing player. Several lines can be dismantled at once. The game is lost when the play area is completely filled – cluttered – with blocks.


Reducing barriers > computers for everyone!

 Computers enable people with various disabilities to participate in the world of work and access the vastness of the Internet. Depending on the degree of disability, various assistive technologies are available for overcoming barriers. Special keyboards and mouse simulators have been developed for people with motor disabilities, as well as Braille keyboards, for example, for people with visual impairments. Improvements in sensor technology and computing speed are also reflected here: controlling a mouse with large head movements has been superseded by eye tracking, which controls the user interface by following the smallest movements of the pupil.

 Facts & figures:

 The Braille writing system does not belong to any language. However, almost every language can be written in Braille.

 Lego bricks with Braille letters for visually impaired children came on the market in 2020.


 Elotype 5 electronic Braille writer and Braille printerBlista-Brailletec Gemeinnützige GmbH, 2019 The Elotype 5 is an electronic Braille writer with an ergonomic Braille keyboard. The machine can be used to write 6-dot and 8-dot Braille. Printed letter text input can be carried out using a USB keyboard (for the sighted). It is then transcribed into Braille. Sighted people can read the entered text on a display. The Elotype 5 can also be used as a Braille printer when connected to a computer.

M32h minikeyboard and mouse simulator for magnetic stylus operation

Ingenieurbüro Dr. Elisabeth Seveke, 1989 onward in small batches

The keyboard enables inputs by severely disabled people who have fine motor skills, but whose hands have a low range of movement and little strength. The magnetic tip has to be placed in the appropriate key depression using an operating rod. There is a mouse simulator in the upper area that can be adapted to different programs to permit different speeds of movement.

Footime Model FT 07-01 foot mouse and FT 07-02 foot pedal

Bili Inc., 2010

The foot mouse controls a computer using the feet. In addition to people who suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) or mouse arm, it is primarily used by people without arms or hands. The foot mouse moves the cursor, while the foot pedal fulfils the function of the mouse keys. The orange-coloured button helps with scrolling. The red buttons enable a left, right and double click, while the yellow buttons are freely programmable.

SUMO large keyboard with mouse simulator

Ingenieurbüro Dr. Elisabeth Seveke

This kind of keyboard was produced from the 1990s onward. It had already existed in modified form for typewriters. The large recessed keys are intended to enable accurate typing by severely disabled persons who can type with one finger or a gripping aid. The most frequently used keys are located within a small area in the middle of the keyboard and are adapted to the German language.

Mouse simulator

Ingenieurbüro Dr. Elisabeth Seveke, 1990

The recessed buttons reproduce the function of a mouse. In addition to the left and right mouse button, there are buttons for a double click and locking function. This mouse simulator is used when hand motor function is severely impaired.


Origin Instruments Corporation

The device consists of an infrared transmitter and receiver that track the position of a reflector sticker on the user’s forehead or glasses. It mainly helps people who cannot move their hands. A click is performed by stopping at one point for a certain amount of time; additional software makes it possible to select other mouse functions.

Alexa! Siri? Google Assistant! Cortana? Bixby!

 The history of our much-loved or most hated virtual assistants goes back as far as the 1950s. In 1952, the US firm Bell Labs developed a system called Audrey (Automatic Digit Recognition). Audrey could recognize the digits from 0 to 9. However, the speaker had to make a short pause between each number word. The IBM Shoebox computer was presented at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962. It was able to understand simple arithmetic problems – and solve them correctly. The first speech recognition systems came onto the market in the 1990s. Today the machines we can control by talking to them include coffee machines, robotic vacuum cleaners, cookers, heating systems … and even our cars.


Voice control facilitates everyday life and working with a computer for people with disabilities.

Your hands are free, for example, while driving a car.

Using voice control is faster and less effort than inputting text with a keyboard.


Privacy concerns mean you should not use voice recognition when you are dealing with confidential information.

Background noise hinders voice recognition. Additionally, instructions are often not recognized when the speaker has unclear pronunciation, a speech impediment or a strong dialect.

It’s a matter of habit: many people are still unaccustomed to speech control.

Facts & figures:

The Google Nest Mini virtual assistant would now speak to you. Unfortunately, use of the smart speaker in this exhibition is prohibited for data protection reasons!

 Security and data protection have priority!

 Facts: The Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information has already been in dispute with Google Ireland Limited for several years to achieve compliance with data protection guidelines.

 Try the following Easter Eggs at home: “OK Google, make me laugh.” – “OK Google, can you rap?” – “OK Google, talk like Yoda.” – “OK Google, what is cooler than cool?” – “OK Google, bark like a dog.” – “OK Google, are you friends with Alexa?” – “OK Google, do you speak Morse code?”


Google Nest Mini smart speaker


Voice input on a Z9001 computer (GDR)

© ZCOM-Stiftung

 Infographic on the use of voice control in Germany

© BankingHub / zeb.rolfes.schierenbeck.associates gmbh

How often do you use voice control?

© BankingHub / zeb.rolfes.schierenbeck.associates gmbh

 Apple M7963 speaker2000This loudspeaker is also known as iSub and was developed by Apple for the second generation of iMac, the G4. It was produced by the well-known audio equipment manufacturer Harman/Kardon.

Three short – three long – three short

People have always had the desire to communicate with one another over long distances. This only became possible immediately and without any delay following Samuel Morse’s invention of the telegraph. The Morse code served as the medium for this. It made it possible to encode and transmit information with the aid of three signals: short signal, long signal and pause. In the process, language was transformed into short and long electrical impulses. The disadvantage was that the transmitter and receiver had to know the Morse code.

At the beginning of the 20th century the telegraph was slowly replaced by the teleprinter. It could transmit data and text messages over the special Teleprinter Exchange (TELEX) telephone network. The first teleprinter service established itself in Germany during the 1930s. From the 1980s onwards, teleprinters were gradually replaced by fax and email.

Facts & figures:

 Teleprinters were used in data processing as input devices for computer control and as output devices – thanks to their paper-tape reader and punch.

The first commercial telegraph line was built in 1844 between the cities of Baltimore and Washington.

Fun facts:
Messages in Morse code can also be sent without a telegraph – for example, using light signals. Want to give it a try? Here is the Morse code:


Samuel Morse with his recorder, 1857

© Mathew Brady / Wikimedia Commons

Receiving a text on a teleprinter

© Bell Telephone Magazine 1922 / Flickr

 1920s teleprinter (USA)

© Bell Telephone Magazine 1922 / Flickr


RFT T 51 teleprinter in free-standing housing

with separate tape transmitter and telecontrol device, punch tape for five-bit code

The design of a teleprinter resembles that of an electric typewriter. The keyboard (transmitting unit) and the printing mechanism (receiver) worked separately of one another. Connections to another subscriber were made by a separate or integrated switching-in device linked to the TELEX network. Teleprinters used a two-level five-bit code, the Baudot code. The advantage over the telegraph was that it received the message as plain text. Messages could then be encoded or decoded using punch tape technology.

Teletype ASR 33 teleprinterTeletype Corporation, circa 1968

The printer won’t print!

Using a printer to output data on a carrier medium usually works. The result can be, for example, text, graphics, photographs or a complete 3D object. A distinction is made between impact printers and non-impact printers. As the name suggests, impact printers work by using a mechanical impact on an ink ribbon. They include daisy wheel, ball, line and dot-matrix printers. Printing with non-impact printers involves no direct contact with the medium whatsoever. They include:

Thermal printers: Heat-sensitive paper is selectively heated up by a thermal print head. This creates monochrome text on the respective printed lines.

Inkjet printers: The ink is heated by the Bubble Jet process. This forms steam bubbles that push the ink out of the jet onto the paper.

Laser printers: A laser diode is used to expose the parts of a negatively charged drum that are later to carry toner. The toner is also negatively charged and therefore adheres to the places that have been neutralized by the laser. Afterwards, the drum transfers the toner to the positively charged paper. Heat and pressure then fix it permanently on the surface.


 Terminal K8924 computer with the K6316 dot-matrix printer

© ZCOM-Stiftung

A7100 office computer with the Robotron K6418 plotter

© ZCOM-Stiftung

 A7100 office computer with the Erika electronic typewriter as printer

© ZCOM-Stiftung


 Robotron SD 1156 dot-matrix printer1974–1987Price: 14,827.29 GDR marks (1982)VEB Büromaschinenwerk Sömmerda developed the Robotron SD 1156 as a medium-speed printer for mainframe computers. During the early production phase it was also sold into Western foreign markets. The SD 1156 was produced not only as a stand-alone machine with a metal base, but also occasionally as a table-top or case-less fitted device. It weighed roughly 80 kilograms.  

Print head for Robotron SD 1156 dot-matrix printer

The print head is a major component of the impact printer. The 5 x 7 matrix of pins enabled it to print a complete letter with a single strike of the pins. The print speed was 100 characters per second.

Printing pins1980sIndividual pins for the print head of the Robotron SD 1156 printer

Print head for the Robotron K6313 dot-matrix printer

VEB Büromaschinenwerk Sömmerda, 1985

The 9-pin printing head facilitated fast and low-cost printing. It was installed in typical office and administration printers – the K6313, K6314 and K6319. The print speed here was 100 characters per second.

  Ink ribbon cartridgeInk ribbon cartridges served as an ink delivery system for different kinds of printers and typewriters. The ink ribbon was positioned between the print head or daisy wheel and the paper.

Silver Reed EXP 550 printerSeiko Instruments Inc. (Japan), 1980s 

Daisywheel for the Olympia electronic typewriter1980s The daisy wheel was a major component of the impact printer and electronic typewriter. The desired character is moved into place by turning. Then the character is struck against the ink ribbon and paper by a rod.

 K6304 printerVEB Büromaschinenwerk Sömmerda, 1987–1990The K6304 printer was very light and small compared to others. It was nominated for the iF Product Design Award as early as 1985.   Timex Sinclair 2040 personal printer1983Price: 99.95 US dollars

 Apple Color Style Writer 22001995

Mbrush portable colour printer2020Weighing just 162 grams, the Mbrush is a modern portable miniprinter. It works in a similar way to a conventional inkjet printer. Via Wi-Fi, however, it is possible to use it to print on almost all surfaces. The Mbrush is simply pulled over the object to be printed. In most cases, however, the print quality is not ideal.   

Printout of the Mbrush miniprinter on balsawood

Heart and wrist joint produced by a 3D printer

Will we be able to save lives with body parts from the 3D printer in the near future?

The third dimension

Printing three-dimensional objects with a 3D printer is very popular. The fields of application are diverse – from the production of prototypes in architecture and medicine to applications in education or the aerospace sector. Scientists in the medical field are working on the further development of “bioprinters”. This involves using 3D printing to produce function-specific tissue or transplantable organs.

Facts & figures:

The basis for 3D technology was invented in 1860 by the Frenchman François Willème. The first 3D printer was developed by Chuck Hull, a US inventor, in 1984.

Fun facts:

According to a survey by Bitkom, only one in eight Germans would eat meat from a 3D printer.

The lightest materials on Earth are created by 3D printing.

Japanese researchers are combining 3D printed exhibits with barcodes to provide forgery protection.

A goggle box, isn`t it!?

The visual display unit – or monitor – is one of the most important interfaces between human and computer. Oscilloscopes were forerunners of today’s monitors. They were usually used to measure electrical voltages. In 1952, a game called OXO (Tic-Tac-Toe) was displayed on an oscilloscope of an EDSAC computer for the first time. Today, monitors primarily output the graphical user interface (GUI) and processed data – enormous progress has been made here in terms of both visual image and technology.


  1. A. Barton examines the oscilloscope screen at the EDSAC computer

© Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge / Wikimedia Commons, License: CC BY 2.0

Maurice Wilkes and Bill Renwick in front of the EDSAC computer. The oscilloscope screen can be seen on the left on the table.

© Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge / Wikimedia Commons, License: CC BY 2.0

Facts & figures:

 The light output of monitors, smartphones and tablet computers leads to sleep disorders, especially among young people who are still growing. One remedy for this is provided by the blue light filter in so-called night mode.

From tube …

The first monitors (cathode ray tube or CRT) were based on an electron tube, which was invented by the German physicist Ferdinand Braun.

Operating principle

When the monitor is turned on, a stream of electrons is produced by the cathode at the end of the tube. All cathode ray tubes contain three cathodes, each of which represents one primary colour (red, green, blue). The electron beam is directed towards the display surface. As a result, a luminescent image is produced. Behind the monitor screen is a mask that ensures each electron beam can only make one colour point shine.


Vivid colours, flexibility with regard to resolution, low price


Large space requirement and high weight, high electricity consumption, heat build-up

… to flat-panel display

A technology was developed in 1968 that gave rise to a new generation of screens: LCD monitors (liquid crystal display).

Operating principle

This technology is based on liquid crystals, which are opaque in their normal state. Applying a voltage makes it possible to adjust brightness – because light can then pass through. An image is displayed with the aid of red, green and blue filters. There are many different technologies today: among others, LCD, OLED, TFT, FED and SED. Under normal circumstances, however, the differences between them are barely perceptible.


Flat design and low weight, low power consumption, long service life


Fixed (native) resolution, temperature sensitivity, high price


Design of a colour cathode ray tube (CRT)

© DATACOM Buchverlag GmbH

Shadow mask technology in CRT monitors

© DATACOM Buchverlag GmbH


Cathode ray tube from an Ambra monitor, 1993

Circuit board from an Ambra monitor, 1993

 Intergraph InterPro 6240 with accessories (without second monitor)Intergraph Corporation (USA), circa 1992

Price: roughly 130,000 deutschmarks

Lausitzer Braunkohle AG (LAUBAG) deployed this computer in the Mine Survey Department at the Welzow-Süd Opencast Mine from the end of 1992. The graphics workstation was primarily used to create and edit maps and mine survey records. The computer’s operating system was Unix CLIX, which was developed by Intergraph. Its main work tool was the MicroStation software produced by Bentley Systems. This software was not only operated using the keyboard with its programmable function keys, but also with the aid of the mouse and graphics tablet.

How will we communicate in the future?

Man-Computer-Interaction (MCI) explores the interface between man and computer.

Information technolo­gy should support human efficiency in the best possible way – or simply just be fun. What is important is an uncomplicated interaction with AI systems as well as understandable decision-making processes by Artificial Intelligence, human intervention possibilities as well as ethical and legal aspects, like fairness and responsibility.

Nevertheless: What will distinguish man from machine in the future?

Are we in no way “mechanical”, or are machines in no way human?

Will man and machine speak one language? And if so, which one?

On the way to the day after tomorrow…

Eye trackers and face trackers can record not only head movements and facial expressions, but also emotions and glances. They are used in behavioural psychology, among other fields.

Autonomous driving is making new forms of interaction between humans and vehicles necessary. While the focus has previously been on the interaction of the driver with the vehicle and other road users, vehicles will communicate with their environment independently in the future.

Virtual reality enables users to immerse themselves completely in a digital world. Video game consoles with VR headsets are common. Augmented reality, on the other hand, complements reality with superimposed information or virtual objects. Keeping important data in view and hands free: AR headsets can assist human work in a targeted way.

Facts & figures:

In Japan, paralyzed people control service robots with the aid of eye tracking to serve customers in a restaurant.


Face tracking application developed by TU Chemnitz

Modern driving simulator with cameras, smartphone and eye tracker to enable data analysis

Driving simulator with smartwatch and eye tracker for the data evaluation

Driving simulator from the user’s perspective

Will smart glasses become an everyday work tool?


 Microsoft Band 2

The Microsoft Band 2 is a combination of a smartwatch and fitness tracker. It contains eleven sensors that record data about the body and its surroundings. In addition, it runs the Microsoft Health app that makes it possible to evaluate data such as sleep quality and calorie consumption. The user also has access to classic smartwatch functions: for example, email display, receipt of messages and music control.