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Spring-loaded USB concept seeks to end plug-in frustration

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January 27, 2011

The Double USB concept from designer Ma Yi Xuan would allow users to plug in a device with...

The Double USB concept from designer Ma Yi Xuan would allow users to plug in a device without first making sure the connector was the right way up

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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.

The idea of the Double USB is that whichever way you push it in, it will always connect

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.

Via Yanko

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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10 Comments

This is not a good idea, at all. What if for some reason, say a slightly bent pin, or a small speck of debris or whatever, both plates slide into the connector? You'd have no connection at all, or power only, and you'll be forced to use a different port. What if they're all a bit worn or dirty?

Facebook User
27th January, 2011 @ 03:33 pm PST

Then you could just flip it over, and the side that isn't jammed would work...

Don't be so quick to judge, this will probably catch on, and at the very least, it's a simple idea that has been proven in other arenas.

On a different note altogether, I'm surprised no one thought to revise the shape of the USB connectors and ports to be more readily discernible.

Joseph Smathers
27th January, 2011 @ 05:06 pm PST

This double USB sounds o/k, I had the problem also, not knowing which way was up or down for a couple of tries, then I got my yellow ink marker and put a big "T" on the top and now even in low light it's easy to spot the correct position.

Since then I have printed computer, modem, charger, media etc onto all plugs and appliances and what a difference it makes, especially when you want to identify quickly.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

peewee
27th January, 2011 @ 05:20 pm PST

AWESOME! One of the coolest things I've seen on GizMag.

I remember years ago using the metro in france - the mag stripe was down the middle of the ticket, so you could put it in either side up, backwards/forwards - it always worked (machines must have had 2 reading heads inside them of course).

Most of the rest of the world are just idiots - putting the mag stripe off-center on one side only, and forcing commuters to always orient the ticket the correct way, right-side-up. LAME!!!

We need more people to use their brains in this world.

Congrats Ma Yi Xuan !!!

christopher
27th January, 2011 @ 05:30 pm PST

don't like this,, sounds like USB for morons who should just walk near open manhole covers and manure pits whilst texting and walking at night

Bill Bennett
27th January, 2011 @ 07:11 pm PST

It should be fool proof (Rugged) as many handle it roughly.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh
27th January, 2011 @ 08:21 pm PST

@Joe Smathers: no, if you flip it, both sides will just slide into the connector again. I'm talkin about the most sensitive part of the connection here: the host side.

Facebook User
28th January, 2011 @ 12:00 am PST

Good design. Hope everyone starts shipping this.

The original USB connector was the worst connector design ever. It always takes at least a few tries before the connector can be plugged in correctly regardless of how you line up the male and female connector. Frankly, the original USB connector is a stupid design should be replaced with the mini-USB connector.

Facebook User
28th January, 2011 @ 04:33 pm PST

Polarity!

One type of positive person uses the brain to innovate, creating something as an invention or an improvement. The opposite, or negative type, don't seem to do anything creative, just wait around, ready to jump in and criticise....usually ungrammatically...must be very boring....it is to everyone else!

Ian Colley.

Terotech
30th January, 2011 @ 09:19 am PST

This totally violates the principle of Occam s Razor!

Ed
3rd February, 2011 @ 02:11 pm PST
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