What Is a Technological System?

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After reading this lesson, you'll understand how important technological systems are in daily life and how you really can't live without these technological systems that are in place today. Updated: 11/25/2020

What Is a Technological System?

Just look around you and you are sure to see a technological system of some kind. The clock on the wall with moving hands is a technological system. If you toasted bread in the toaster this morning, you've used another technological system.

A technological system is defined as a system that takes an input, changes it according to the system's use, and then produces an outcome. It's made up of components that work together to transform, transport, store, or control energy, materials, and information. For example, your clock with moving hands is made up of gears, a battery, and the hands that are moved by the gears. They all work together to change the input, the battery power, into time, the moving of the hands at a set pace. Another aspect of a technological system is that it works on its own once it's given an appropriate input. You don't have to do anything for the system to work.

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Technological System Parts

All technological systems include these parts.

1. Input

The input of a technological system can be electricity or a user-defined setting. The clock has an input that lets you turn it on or off, while the toaster has an input that allows you to change how long to toast your bread for.

2. Transformation

All technological systems also transform the input. They do work on the input to give you what you need. For example, the clock takes the on input and transforms it into time, while the toaster transforms your request into heating your bread for the amount of time you have requested.

3. Output

After the technological system has transformed the input, it gives you the output or outcome. For the clock, you see the time, and for the toaster, you get your nicely toasted bread.

4. Control

To make sure that the technological system is working, there is usually a control. This control is how the technological system should work. For the clock, it will be a working clock that is accurate, and for the toaster, it will be a working toaster that toasts the bread correctly. If a technological system doesn't work like the control, then something is wrong. For example, if you get a toaster that always burns your toast black, then that's a system that's not working properly.

5. Subsystems

A technological system can also have various subsystems. Take your smartphone, for example. It has a camera, various apps, a touchscreen, a light, a vibration setting, and a speaker. These are all subsystems that are technological systems themselves.

Creating a Technological System

Technological systems are created by people to meet a need. It takes a lot of teamwork to create a technological system. You have your designers and engineers that create the product, and then you have other people to test the product to make sure it works properly. You also have people that come and fix or repair technological systems that are broken or are otherwise not working as they're supposed to.

The creation of a technological system typically goes like this:

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