Microsoft know their target market!
(...idiocracy). 'nuff said.. it's friday.
Microsoft bigged up a technology yesterday that simplifies the battery installation process by forgoing the need to lopsidedly peer at the plus and negative signs on the energy gizmo. InstaLoad is a patented battery contact design that Microsoft has made available for licence by third party device suppliers. The software giant …
a learning experience.
It also works on several levels:
1. How do I make it work? It only works with the cells in "right"
2. Why does it work? Electricity, positive, negative, electrons... stuff
3. Where are we going with this? There's lots of things in life where understanding is important to success.
Acknowledgement: Douglas Adams. Forget the coat, where's my towel.
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So, the diodes are in the battery itself. No worries then.
You think a battery company that WANTS you to buy more will really be concerned that the batter doesn't last as long? Really?
What's that? Reputation? If they can sell the convenience of installation (even by children(tm)) then what would parents/guardians/nurses care? Let the botherers do it themselves. Isn't the latest rage (hehehe) in customer service not "Self Service"?
When I insert batteries in a dimly lit place I use the nipple technique - simply feel which end has the nipply thingy on it and then in the battery receptacle, feel which end has the springy thingy. No need for some crap Microsoft invention here, not with the nipple technique!
Yes, cutting the key on both sides makes the task of inserting it into a lock foolproof. In the 1970's and 80's Ford (in North America at least) used a double sided key like this. You would be surprised at how many people think that both sides needed to be the same for the key to actuate the lock! A pal of mine had two Fords with only one set of keys, and most people were amazed to find out that this could be done. Even better, in the dark you could easily orient the key correctly for the car you were going to use simply by running your fingertip down the length of one of the cut sides, much like the "nipple technique" mentioned in another post, but this is more akin to braille.
... insert batteries incorrectly in series: "Instaload means I can put them in any way".
It's actually quite a clever idea, just wait for the naysayers to say it shouldn't be patentable as it such an obvious solution. It's a simple solution, but at least it's a hardware patent rather than some business process or one-click rubbish.
Actually I reckon that's the one where it's probably going to be a big win.
I've puzzled a few times over the "which ones go up and which go down" bit badly stamped in a miniscule pictograph on the inside of a battery cover. The ability to shove 'em in any which way is a good thing.
That's also why it ain't "just four diodes". That method would still require you to get 'em in consistantly in one configuration or the other.
I reckon I might know why this has come from MS though. I bought a Wireless Desktop 7000 set on FleaBay a while back dirt cheap. Obviously new, obviously opened and fairly obviously a returned product. When I installed it, the mouse didn't work. The *reason* the mouse didn't work was that the rechargeable NiMh "AAA" was in the wrong way round. The vendor had umpty-something similar units for sale and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they all had the same "fault"....
course makers of battery powered things could just restrict themselves to springs = - tits/studs = +
for one the designer of eveready 2 AA battery phone chargers (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)could do with an ergonomics 101 swift kick in the pants.
paris cos she knows what her tits are for.
If you bother looking at the pictures at: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/licensing/instaloadoverview.mspx
You'll see it's mechanical.
There are two seperate contacts, a wider one at the bottom for the negative connection, and a slightly recessed upper contact that the negative end of the battery will never touch. If it wasn't from Microsoft, you might almost call it an innovation...
Well son of a gun.
That is pretty clever. Now, I wonder hard it is to mess it up by putting the batteries in too quickly and bending one of the tabs?
However, if not a tab and rather a layer of metallic connector on rigid substrate, then how would the ends hold tension on the battery to hold it in place? You couldn't just have the ends the exact size of the battery - notice the mouse (from page above) has one end of the batteries concealed in the case - that means the batteries must have been inserted at an angle, with one end or the other "springy".
Perhaps a spring on the inner side of the connector, so its not exposed? If that's not part of the patent I hereby claim first publishing rights! ;)
Nice simple design using existing form-factor. I like it, but you still need to tell the kids about polarity and why it is important, you could use the design of these contacts to illustrate that it was so important that someone came up with this design.
Kudos to the designer.
I have several times found myself wondering which way batteries go in, if they all go in the same way, or if half go in one way and half the other way (especially where you've got four batteries in a 2x2 matrix). Sometimes it's not easy to read the + and - signs, even with pretty good vision. I've got a few devices with custom batteries that won't insert incorrectly, but I'd never thought of hooking up a system to negate the need to put them in the right way round.
I think this is probably one of those cat-flap moments - it's really simple and so blindingly obvious that it took a genius to invent and a thousand people to say, "I could have done that".
Also - for reasons of efficiency, as mentioned above, I suspect it isn't just a bunch of bog standard diodes.
sounds like a short path to a hot time to me... Current batteries can be tossed loose into a drawer and be generally expected to not land in a way that puts both terminals in contact with the same bit of metal. I'm not sure how these are going to manage that. (I'm sure that tossing out even a "spent" 9-volt has has started fires in trashbins more than once already...)
Once you've entered your 25-character Battery Product Key online, had it rejected, made a call to India, written down an even longer activation code, entered that online and finally been deemed a suitable person to use the product you handed over good money for, then yes, it's really easy to use!
But then, of course after about 2 days, you'll take it out and put it in a second device only to be alerted that your painstakingly typed activation code is no longer valid and that your battery may not be genuine. The available voltage will drop by half a volt as a courtesy until you provide a blood sample for DNA matching to prove you're the original purchaser.
no diodes. it's a clever mechanical solution.
why is it so hard for people to accept that MS sometimes come up with a good idea?! If this was from Apple it would be hailed as the second coming of portable electronics and a triumph of elegant design (even if it made your radio controlled toy car explode!)
It is me or is this not going to work?
The current setup involves a spring on the negative end which ensures a good contact and allows for minor variations in the battery's length. This version doesn't (seem to) do either.
With no play in the mechanism getting a battery in there it is going to be damned difficult and getting it out again will be an utter bastard....
Also, rechargeables tend to have a thick plastic jacket which exends partly over the bottom of the battery, negative contacts tend to be pointy springs or plates with nippley bits, wheras this is just a flat plate.
you're still going to have loads of devices without this "instaload" doohicky, especially as it's patented. So you're still going to have to put your batteries in the right way anyway, unless you want to go to the additional trouble of remembering which devices don't care about battery configuration and deliberately putting the batteries in some weird configuration just to get your monies worth.
It is a great idea, but in the way it is shown it requires much tighter tolerances than batteries are made to.
There is a reason why most battery holders have a spring on one end that allows for several percent variation in battery length.
It will also be hard to prove that it will not short circuit any type of battery.
Of course there are ways around both these problems, but either the mechanics will become fiddly or it will only work with some battery brands.
There surely has to be prior art though.
How can you patent steering diodes. And I have such a device for charging my Camera Battery. There must be prior art out there. Yet again a demonstration of the defective nature of the US patent system. And here's a link that took less than a minute to find ..
"Charger automatically detects positive/negative polarity which eliminates the risk of shorting the battery for safe and simple operation"
What about just using a magtrix style connector with preset polarity- if its wrong then the field will "feel" incorrect so it is pretty obvious which way the battery goes.
Plug it in the right way round and it "locks" in place with a solid click.
the added advantage is that the connectors are then not subject to the usual "flaky spring" problems plaguing normal batteries, and yet they are also backwards compatible.
unless the tech is in the battery. Individually slotted batteries, where the cells are actually separated it would work, as it would not matter whether the batteries are in series, parallel or series parallel. This seems like a solution to a rather limited problem. Hardly world changing.
but I suppose nobody have though of it. It will not work for every device, as any device that has batterys in a row will not benefit.
But yes this seems like a worth while thing. Well done MS, lets just hope there not charging a gazzilion quid for the licence.
there is the link again to look at the hardware if you missed i above (like I did)
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