A device used to convert continuous (or analog) electrical signals into discrete digital signals. Such devices are often found in trackballs and joy sticks (or other computer input device) that indicate movement by electrical signals that must be converted into digital form to be understood and processed by the computer. The continuous electric signal is sampled many times per second, with each sample translated into a discrete number representing the amplitude and frequency of the continuous waveform. Analog-to-digital converters are also found in scanners, where electro-optical signals generated by CCDs or photomultiplier tubes need to be translated into digital form before they can be input to a computer. Also known as an ADC and an A/D Converter. See also Digital-to-Analog Converter.