A calculator is a small device that is used for performing simple and complex mathematical operations. Calculators are used by everyone, from school students for simple calculations to scientists for very complex and scientific operations.
Students love to use the calculator and why not! With just a few clicks of a button, they can get right answers in a matter of seconds. Calculators are also very easily available. Every smartphone has an in-built Calculator application. People can perform calculations on-the-go without depending on anyone. People can even get an electronic calculator at any retail store for cheap prices. If you are using a computer or laptop, you can do complex operations in no time. But in most cases, people use solar-powered or battery-powered calculator for their day-to-day operations.
Calculators are so common today but neither it was cheap nor it was easily accessible a few years back. The first calculator was only developed in the early 1960s. As microprocessors were created and computer technology advanced, pocket calculators were introduced. These devices were smaller and cheaper and could easily fit into the pockets. By 1980s, calculators were so affordable that they were commonly found in schools.
How does a Calculator Work?
A calculator generally comprises of a processor chip, sensors, display, physical keys and a battery. Calculators depend on integrated circuits, which has transistors for performing mathematical calculations. These transistors can be turned on or off using electricity through the battery. Basic operations like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication can be easily done in a small basic calculator. For performing complex calculations, the integrated circuit in a calculator should have more transistors. The scientific calculators, which are commonly used by many these days, can perform incredibly complex and advanced mathematical calculations.
We use numbers in base-ten format, which has ten digits (from 0-10). But calculators work by processing data in binary form (0 and1). When you press a number on a calculator, it gets converted into binary form. The series of 0s and 1s will turn on and off the transistors for performing the desired calculation. After the operation gets complete, the result in the binary form will get converted into the base-ten format and then displayed on the LCD screen of the calculator.
Calculators have evolved a lot since it was first developed in the 1960s. Nowadays, they are used by students in schools and colleges, people in businesses and employees in technical jobs. The calculator is a great invention as it has reduced a lot of time to perform simple and complex arithmetic operations.