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FutureStarrHow Calculator Works
A calculator is a device that performs calculations by manipulating symbols on an operand, according to a set of rules.
Photo: My newer Casio Calculator, an fx-991ES, has a much larger "natural display" that can show entire equations and even perform calculus! The larger dark gray keys at the bottom are the numbers and the main "operators" (+, −, ×, ÷, = etc). The lighter gray keys above them carry out a whole range of scientific calculations with a single button click. The brown-colored square in the extreme top right is a solar cell that powers the machine along with a small button battery.
In the mid-1970s the first calculators appeared with field-effect, twisted nematic (TN) LCDs with dark numerals against a grey background, though the early ones often had a yellow filter over them to cut out damaging ultraviolet rays. The advantage of LCDs is that they are passive light modulators reflecting light, which require much less power than light-emitting displays such as LEDs or VFDs. This led the way to the first credit-card-sized calculators, such as the Casio Mini Card LC-78 of 1978, which could run for months of normal use on button cells. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Many modern calculators have a durable plastic casing, with simple openings in the front that allow rubber to push through, just like a television remote. By pressing a button, you complete a circuit underneath the rubber, which sends electrical impulses through a circuit board below. Those impulses are routed through the microprocessor, which interprets the information and sends a readout to the calculator's display screen.
In simple terms, electrical circuity is what makes a calculator work. As you press down on a button, you trigger a response in a piece of the circuit board known as the “keyboard membrane.” This is essentially the brains of the operation, sending a signal to the processor chip, which in turn, computes the answer and causes it to appear on the LCD screen. (Source: www.qualitylogoproducts.com)