Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
An electronic machine that uses binary code to store and process data is a computer. Binary code can represent numbers, text, sounds, pictures, and movies. This data is stored in the computer’s memory and on magnetic disks, CD-ROMs, and DVDs.
Data is stored in binary code on microchips. They are made up of millions of transistors that are on or off—1 or 0 in binary code. The capacity (size) of a memory chip is measured in megabytes (MB). One byte is an eight-digit binary number. One megabyte is just over one million bytes of information.
A microprocessor is a computer’s brain. It is an integrated circuit made of millions of transistors. It carries out the instructions (the programs) that make a computer operate. Everything the computer does is broken down into simple steps. The power of a microprocessor is measured by how fast it carries out these instructions.
Virtual reality controls what you see, and responds to your movements and actions. When you wear virtual reality goggles, the scene you see changes as you move. Sensors on special gloves, or a body suit, allow you to interact with the scene by pointing or touching. Sounds increase the experience of reality.