I don't know much about VB, but if it's like any other language, there's probably some kind of library that would allow you to do so. That library probably is some mixture of C and ASM, for which functions in VB could be bound to. Have you checked MSDN's website for it? They may have information about something like that.
Knowing Windows, you may not have direct access to the hardware under an NT-based OS, but there may be some interface to the Hardware Abstraction Layer, so you might be able to generically access hardware in the system that way.
wow... for not being a programmer, I can throw out the gibberish like 'em eh? ;) Take my advice with a grain of salt-- it may not be entirely correct since I'm more of an armchair programmer