Spring-loaded USB concept seeks to end plug-in frustration
By Paul Ridden
January 27, 2011
Admittedly, it's not a major headache, but it is an irritation nonetheless. I'm talking about having to make sure that the male USB-A connector is the right way up before you slot it into the female socket. Designer Ma Yi Xuan has come up with one of those simple, effective ideas where you have to wonder why no one else has gone there before. The Double USB concept features a couple of spring-loaded plastic connectors laid one on top of the other with the metal strips pointing inwards. The idea is that whichever way you push in your USB plug, it will always connect.
The way it is at the moment, a USB-A plug generally consists of a metal housing that encases a plastic divider sporting connector strips facing inward, that sits at one end of the housing. A similar plastic divider sits at one end of the receiving port on the device, again with the strips facing inward. When the two are brought together, a lovely snug and secure connection is made and whatever you're connecting via USB begins to work... but you have to make sure that you insert the USB connector the right way up.
True, if you don't get it the right way up, then it won't push into the receiving port and you just turn it over in your hand and try again. However, the Double USB design from Ma Yi Xuan makes things even simpler. As you push a USB connector into the port on your device, whichever of the two plastic contact plates inside the metal housing is blocked by the receiving port's equivalent simply pushes back within the outer shell of the double USB connector end. This leaves the other to marry up with the device port's contact strips and away you go. When you pull the plug out, the spring brings back the hidden contact plate for next time.
For those of us who have wasted way too much time fumbling and stretching behind an inaccessible computer tower – so much so that it would have been much better just to pull the whole thing out from its cubby hole, connect the USB device in plain view and then push it back in – this would be most welcome indeed. We only hope that the mighty powers who oversee the world of USB take note, and something like this is made real in the near future.