May 18, 2011

Black Box

This article is about black box systems.

A black box is a component that is viewed primarily in terms of its input, output and transfer characteristics without any knowledge of its internal workings.

We first encounter the use of the black box in Physics when we encounter the Operational Amplifiers, and how to use them. The internal workings of the Op-Amp can be ignored, and replaced with the black box. Why do we do this?

Well, the uses of the Op-Amp, to a complete greenhorn, is intimidating enough without knowing the internal circuitry of the Op-Amp.

An Op-Amp can:
  • Do mathematical calculations
  • Compare Voltages
  • Convert an analog signal to a digital signal [Analogue-Digital Converter]
  • Function as a NOT gate 
  • be a buffer amplifier
  • participate in an oscillator
  • function as a Voltage Integrator
Now, if you were to study the topics mentioned above, coupled with the internal workings of the black box as shown below:
741 op-amp (8 pins) can see why the black box comes into play now.

Read more here:
Wikipedia's entry on black boxes

The black box even has a theory of its own! Named the Black box theory, or theories, they show a system with a black box in it. For example, Sir Newton produced his black box theory of science as explaining only how things happen but not why things happen.
 Thus, the birth of the Laws of Motion.

Black box theories are brought up in multiple fields of philosophy and science by a number of philosophers and scientists. Even our consciousness is defined in terms of the black box theory, with scientists nowhere near in deciphering the internal systems of the thought process.

The black box theory of consciousness


  1. Black boxes are fascinating.

  2. haha great advice :) black boxes are "usefull"

  3. Sounds like what I do when working with other people's code. Don't care how, just that is does it.

  4. This is all quite interesting! Great read!

  5. :o kind of reminds me of Schrödinger's cat in the box paradox, but it's quite different.

  6. I read this article and it made me happy that I am not taking physics. lol.

  7. i should understand this, but I'm too tired ='( better luck tomorrow =^p

  8. Not sure if I 100% agree with offering an IC as a black box, as we know how they work due to the fact that we create them, but it is true that you don't have to know how they work inside to make circuits with them. But, knowing how they work on the inside (by reading mfgr. documentation) helps engineers create better and more efficient circuits from said chips.

  9. Hmm, would this work somehow in minecraft?

  10. Interestint theory. Never heard about it before:)

  11. pretty complex stuff man, need to be mathmatically savy i think

  12. Very interesting information! These pretty much come in handy with a lot of different things!


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