# Digital Electronics

The average person uses a lot of electricity in the many things they do every day. We are used to being able to turn on a light, watch the television, use our mobile devices, and stream music or videos. Because electricity is so much a part of our lives, we should know something about it.

Digital electronics are electric circuits that function with only two fixed values of “1s” and “0s”. This is called “binary” and through the use of the 1s and 0s it involves both communication and storage.

The computers that we use involved programming that basically takes all alphabetic and numeric characters and translates them into 1s and 0s.

### The mystery of only 1s and 0s

In a majority of digital electronic circuits, when the voltage of the circuit is positive and it’s near the area that supplies the voltage, it is represented by the digit “1.” This is called HIGH.

When the voltage is close to or at ground level, it is represented by the digit “0” and is called LOW.

Every time you look at a computer screen you are seeing everything being transmitted in LOW and HIGH, however, to create the sophisticated images and words, these signals have to been running at very fast speeds.

### Electronic gates

Digital electronics use electronic gates that act to perform certain functions on the 1s and 0s. An example of an electronic gate is the AND gate.

In this gate there are two inputs and one output. The AND gate output is only a “1” if both of the inputs are “1.” If either of the inputs are a “0”, the output is a “0.”

Another of the electronic gates is the INVERTER. In the INVERTER gate there is only one input and one output. If the input is a “1” then the output is a “0.” If the input is a “0” then the output is a “1.” An easy way of thinking about this gate is that it “inverts” or opposes the signal.

### Electronic chips

Most people have heard about electronic chips. An electronic chip is a lot of electronic gates put into a small area. The chips themselves are very small and they can contain millions upon millions of gates to accomplish some very complex functions.

There are chips that can be put inside of our pets so that they can be tracked and sent back to us if they get lost. There are chips that do all of the beautiful and colorful graphics on a computer screen.

There are chips inside of the cars that we ride in that automatically sense the condition of the car. There are chips that run complex programs on your computer. All of these chips have a lot of memory for saving data.

Electronic chips are made with special materials called “semiconductors” that are placed together to create precision devices.

Creating electronic chips can involve hundreds of engineers that devote years to the design and development of just one electronic chip. Electronic chips that are integrated into the computer circuitry are called CPU (central processing unit.)

### What other things are computer chips used for?

Just about everywhere you look you can see electronic devices involved in our lives. Our society is now involved in “smart homes” that have everything from our appliances and lights to our vacuums integrated with a home system or artificial intelligence that can respond to both verbal and typewritten requests.

Our world of digital electronics include our phones, video games, televisions, cameras, cell phones, computers, and cars; and each of these devices have computer chips that help to make them function.

## Fun Facts about Digital Electronics:

• Silicon is the main semiconductor used in electronic chips and is the most abundant element found on the crust of the Earth after oxygen.
• Fiber optics has been replacing old fashioned wire for sending information, including internet information.
• Jack Kilby invented the first computer chip when he was working for Texas Instruments.
• Using 1s and 0s, you can also do match that is called “Boolean math” or “Boolean logic.”

### Q&A

What is another name for using only 1s and 0s?
binary

What is the word used when the voltage in a digital electronic circuit is at “1”?
HIGH

What is the word used when the voltage in a digital electronic circuit is at “0”?
LOW

What is a computer chip?
a lot of electronic gates put into a small area

What is the main material used for electronic chips?
silicon