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Magic or Technology?

4 June 2:00 am
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Ever wonder how things work?  Our kids sure do–they are always asking us “why” or “how”.

Because of this,  I am going to take one of these questions and occasionally answer it for you.  So here is the first question(s) — “How does a fax machine work?  Is it magic?  It looks like magic!”

Fax machines have actually been around in one form or another for over a century!  Alexander Bain patented the first fax machine in 1843, and although there have obviously been technological advances since 1843, one can still see the similarities between the patented machine and the fax machine we use today.

A fax machine works in the following manner–

  • On the sending end, when a person puts the paper into the fax machine, the fax machine scans the paper and converts the info on the paper into a code of black and white dots–black dots where information is present on the paper and white dots where the paper is blank.  In order for the fax machine to create these black and white dots, it uses photo-diode sensory arrays which contain tiny sensors that detect the words on the paper.
  • Once the information on the page to be faxed has been converted into white and black dots, the fax machine then converts these dots into a series of sounds.
  • The fax machine on the other end receives the sounds and reverses the process by decoding them into black and white dots and then from black and white dots into words that replicate the document.

Technology–absolutely!  A little bit of magic too?  Possibly…..

Remember, fun learning is forever learning.

Ann Simpson

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