A microcomputer is a small computer with a microprocessor that a single user can operate at a time.
This type of computer is typically used in homes and offices. The microcomputer can perform simple calculations, word processing and data entry work.
This computer has a central processing unit (CPU) which acts as a bridge to communicate between hardware and software.
The CPU can have multiple processors in it that can perform multiple parallel tasks at a time.
It is called a “micro” computer because it is small in size and has less processing power as compared to a mainframe computer and a supercomputer.
It is easy to carry a microcomputer.
Some types of microcomputers are tablets, desktop computers, laptops, and smartphones.
The initial work on microcomputers started in the 1960-70s.
As you know microcomputers cannot work without a microprocessor. The first microprocessor named 4004 was created by Intel in 1968. This microprocessor can process 1 bit at a time. Then in 1971, a 4-bit processor was introduced which was named 4008.
In 1972 the 8-bit processor came and was used by the first microcomputer (Altair 8800).
Apple Company invented its first microcomputer in 1976.
In 1981, IBM introduced its first personal computer (PC). Note that a microcomputer is also known as a PC.
In old days microcomputers come with a command line interface but after a few years, microcomputers came with GUI (Graphical user interface).
MS-DOS was the first command line operating system that was used to operate microcomputers. Later Windows OS was invented by Microsoft that came with GUI.
The first MAC computer was invented by Apple Company that had a built-in GUI in it.
In later years in 2001, iPod was released by Apple Company which is also a type of small computer (Microcomputer). Then in 2007, iPhone was released which is also a type of microcomputer.
Uses of Microcomputer
Some uses of the microcomputer are:-
Used in education:
Students and teachers use microcomputers to enhance their education. These computers are used by students and teachers from elementary school to university level. They are used in learning software, in research and doing online classes.
Doing scientific research:
These computers are used in understanding weather patterns and guessing weather forecasts on a weekly and monthly basis. Microcomputers are used in the scientific field to perform:
Inspecting biological processes
Microcomputers are also used in the entertainment field. You can listen to songs, watch movies, stream online videos and also play music. Software programs like Roku and Apple TV are run by microcomputers.
Used in transportation:
Microcomputers are used in transportation systems for performing various tasks like:-
Monitoring vehicle performance
Managing public transit systems
Controlling traffic lights
For gaming purposes:
Kids and young people play games on microcomputers. Desktops and laptops are also used to develop games. These computers can run high graphics games and users can enjoy playing games on their devices.
Used in hospitals:
Doctors use microcomputers to keep a record of patients and do medical research. Hospital staff also use these computers for heart monitoring and CT scan. Healthcare departments also use microcomputers for patient inspection.
Used in the military:
Microcomputers are also used in the military field to train soldiers. Military drones are also controlled by these computers and the data is collected from different locations by the drones with the help of microcomputers.
Doing office work:
Employees use these computers in their offices for creating spreadsheets, sending/receiving emails, and writing documents. Various office tools like MS office, Open Office and Google Suite help in performing different office work.
For automation of homes:
These computers are used in controlling the temperature of homes and for lighting purposes also. Different home application software is used like Google Home and Amazon Echo.
For space missions:
Microcomputers are used for performing a simulation of space missions. They are also used for analyzing data that is collected by satellite sensors. The flight of spacecraft is also controlled by microcomputers.
Used for communication purposes:
Microcomputers are used for communicating on video chats like Skype. There is other software like WhatsApp by which users can exchange messages with each other. You can also use social networking sites on microcomputers.
For doing freelancing:
Graphic designers, web developers, content creators, and marketers use microcomputers for doing their freelancing work. There are various software available on these computers that enhance their work like Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress, Shopify, Visual studio code etc.
Used in the stock market:
The business in the stock market is also controlled by microcomputers. Brokers and investors use these computers to do business in the stock market. They buy and sell stock shares in the stock market. These computers also forecast the stock market and give reports to users.
Used in business:
Businesses use microcomputers for accounting, inventory and payroll management. They run marketing campaigns on social networking websites and use these computers for communicating with customers.
Used in the agriculture field:
Microcomputers are used in the agricultural field for performing various tasks like:-
Maximizing crop yields
For précising farming
To reduce crop wastage
For analyzing soil data
Monitoring crop growth
For controlling the irrigation system
For doing telecommunication:
They are used to manage communication networks and analyze data flowing through the network. The working of data centres, internet routers and telephone systems are managed by microcomputers.
These computers are used for security purposes like:-
Monitoring surveillance cameras
Controlling access to buildings
Doing smart locks
Used in the energy field:
Microcomputers are used to control energy distribution to customers. The power plants are managed by these computers. The overall infrastructure is also controlled by these computers.
Different environmental aspects are inspected by using microcomputers like water quality, air quality, and temperature measurement. These computers use different sensors and analyze the environment by inspecting data. Finally, decisions are made by authorities for the precautions of people.
As you know robots are used in industrial areas and also in big tech companies. The functions and movements of robots are controlled by microcomputers. Different sensors are attached to the robots and data from sensors are delivered to microcomputers.
Examples of Microcomputer
Some examples of the microcomputer are:-
Tablets are touchscreen devices which are larger than smartphones. Some examples of tablets are iPad, Microsoft Surface and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Desktop computers are also known as PC and are commonly used in homes and offices to perform data entry, and word processing work. Some brands that develop desktop computers are HP, Dell, Apple and Lenovo.
Laptops are portable microcomputers that can perform all the tasks that a desktop computer can perform. They are usually used by students and travellers. Popular tech companies which manufacture laptops are Apple, Asus, Samsung, Acer and Dell.
Smartphones are small-sized handheld devices that have replaced traditional mobile phones. They are modern touchscreen devices which are normally used for making voice and video calls, doing social networking and listening to music. Some examples of smartphones are Samsung Galaxy, iPhone, and Google Pixel.
Digital cameras are another type of microcomputer with a small screen that can capture high-quality pictures and record videos as well. Some companies that manufacture digital cameras are Sony, Nikon and Canon.
These types of microcomputers are usually used for learning and DIY projects. They are small-sized and affordable computers. Some brands that make these microcomputers are Arduino, BeagleBoard and Raspberry Pi.
As the name suggests they are wearable devices such as smartwatches. They are also used as fitness trackers. Some examples of these devices are Samsung Galaxy Watch, Apple Watch, Garmin and Fitbit.
Smart home devices:
These devices are used in homes such as smart thermostats (e.g. Ecobee, Nest). They also include smart security cameras for example Arlo and Ring. Smart speakers are also smart home devices. Smart speakers include Google Home and Amazon Echo.
E-readers are also examples of microcomputers that are used for e-books. Some brands of E-readers are Kobo and Kindle.
The gaming console is another example microcomputer that is used to play games. Some examples of gaming consoles are Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation