Microsoft Enables Batteries To Be Inserted in Either Direction

Microsoft Enables Batteries To Be Inserted in Either Direction

If you've ever squinted in the dark trying to replace batteries in your digital camera, flashlight, or other electronic device, Microsoft's latest InstaLoad battery installation technology should catch your eye. This new technology lets users install a battery without regard to positive and negative polarity. The InstaLoad technology is now available for license by third-party device suppliers, and companies such as Duracell have already taken interest in the technology. The technology is compatible with standard battery types we use today including AA, AAA, C and D size batteries.

Dan McCarthy, Director, Global Marketing at Duracell said, “Duracell Smart Power is all about making the lives of consumers easier and more efficient as they depend on battery power for the mobile devices that keep them organized and connected while away from the grid. After evaluating Microsoft’s InstaLoad technology, Duracell is excited about the possibilities of incorporating this simplified battery installation technology into future Duracell products, delivering a better experience for our consumers.”

According to Microsoft, InstaLoad is a mechanical battery contact design that does not require special electronics or circuitry. The InstaLoad battery configuration includes a set of positive and negative contacts at both ends, instead of a single positive contact at one end and a single negative contact at the other end.

Microsoft Unveils InstaLoad Battery Installation Technology
That Allows Batteries to Be Inserted in Either Direction

New ease-of-use feature now available for third-party licensing.

REDMOND, Wash. July 1, 2010 Microsoft Corp. today announced a new technology aimed at improving the battery installation process called InstaLoad battery installation technology, which allows users to easily install a battery without regard to positive and negative polarity. Never again will people have to squint to see battery installation diagrams — the device simply works regardless if the battery is installed positive-side-up or positive-side-down. InstaLoad is a patented battery contact design now available for license by third-party device suppliers, with companies like Duracell already lining up to endorse the technology for use in their own products.

Product Applications and Differentiators

InstaLoad technology can be incorporated into devices that require frequent battery swap-outs, are used in less-than-ideal environments or use several batteries. Industries that could greatly benefit from this type of timesaving technology based on their environments include law enforcement, military, construction, outdoor sporting and camping. In addition, users of devices with multiple batteries and frequent battery swap-out — including battery chargers, digital cameras, camera flash units and toys — could also benefit.

Unlike existing electronic solutions designed to address battery-polarity installation, InstaLoad is a mechanical invention that does not drain battery power or require expensive electronic circuitry. InstaLoad battery contacts can be cost-effectively designed into most battery compartments, as it usually requires replacing existing battery contacts with the patented InstaLoad contact design. The technology is compatible with popular off-the-shelf batteries used in products such as flashlights, toys, battery chargers, lighting and most other battery-operated consumer electronic devices that use CR123, AA, AAA, C or D size batteries (disposable or rechargeable) or similar barrel-type battery form factors.

Royalty-Free License Program for Accessibility Products

The InstaLoad technology can provide an additional usability benefit for battery-operated accessibility devices that are designed for people with hearing, vision or learning disabilities.

“Microsoft is pleased to offer a royalty-free license program to suppliers and manufacturers for this class of accessibility devices,” said Rusty Jeffress, corporate vice president, Specialized Devices & Applications, Microsoft. “We believe the InstaLoad feature can make a difference in the lives of those people who need and use these products on a daily basis.”

Microsoft Licensing Program

InstaLoad is the latest addition to the Microsoft Hardware Intellectual Property Licensing program. The Microsoft Hardware IP Licensing program was established five years ago and has successfully licensed Microsoft technology to many global manufacturers and retail brands in the mouse, keyboard and webcam industries. InstaLoad is the first technology offering by Microsoft Hardware for licensing to a broader industry, across a variety of battery-operated devices.

Microsoft is offering commercial licensees both a license to the InstaLoad technology and a license to the InstaLoad logo for use on product packaging and marketing materials. This logo program will help users identify those battery-operated products that feature InstaLoad technology. Microsoft offers commercial licensees fair and equitable terms. In addition, Microsoft offers a no-charge InstaLoad evaluation kit, which includes a detailed design specification and demo unit to help device suppliers quickly start their product prototyping.

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Gee, I was doing this 35 years ago with what we called a "diode bridge." Didn't know you could license basic electronic ideas like that.

Maybe Microsoft would be interested in patenting my new idea for a "circle," which I describe as a 2-dimensional circular figure. I'm sure we could get lots of licensees for that!

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>> Didn't know you could license basic electronic ideas like that.

They've been patenting basic software ideas for years, so why not move on to electronics?

Patent on "double-clicking" in 2002: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,727,830.PN.&OS=PN/6,727,830&RS=PN/6,727,830

Patent on page-up/page-down from 2005: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1%3Cbr%20%3E%3C/a%3E%20&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7,415,666.PN.&OS=PN/7,415%3Cbr%20/%3E%20,666&RS=PN/7,415,666

Patent on running applications from removable media in 2004: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7712086.PN.&OS=PN/7712086&RS=PN/7712086

etc....

The list of stupid things they patent, which have 30 years of prior art, is ridiculous. The patent system is BROKEN.

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"The InstaLoad battery configuration includes a set of positive and negative contacts at both ends, instead of a single positive contact at one end and a single negative contact at the other end."

I'm no electrician, but even if they have both a positive and a negative contact on one end, doesn't something battery-exploding occur when the positive touches the positive? Or does the negative touching the positive make it neutral somehow? Seriously though, can someone explain this?

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this solve by just having those Lithium batteries (plus they're rechargable)!"

Nope, not yet. The rechargable batteries that fit in the "old" sockets (AA, C, D, etc.) still need to be taken out to be recharged. Also, rechargable batteries lose charge after a while, so it's a plus in any device if they can be replaced once that happens (one reason why I'm not getting an iPhone, even if it goes on the Verizon network. OK, maybe then. But you get the point).

"Duracell is excited about the possibilities of incorporating this simplified battery installation technology into future Duracell products, delivering a better experience for our consumers.”

The stupid ones, maybe. Others won't notice the difference so much: after all, changing batteries isn't like changing magazines in the middle of a gunfight, I'm pretty sure you can spare a second to make sure you're putting it in the right way.

Durr...does the plus end go to the minus end? *drools*

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Well if two positives touch each other then it will not cause an explosion. Basically there will be no electricity flowing through either of the positive ends but I do have some idea how I think it could work. Envision this, it can be two things.

AB

| |

BA

(The Positive and Negative on both ends but reversed)

AB

|-|

AB

(or Positive or Negative on both sides, except the positive current will go to the negative end on the opposing side)

At least that's the way I think this is the way I think the technology could work. Though I don't have a firm grasp on it, I think the positive current will pack more volts and it's going to be split into lower volted negative current.

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Ah, I guess that makes sense. Stupid me, I should have thought of having a dual-polarity connector on the battery AND the device. But if that's how it works, then this is utterly useless. Batteries that have this bilateral connection would only work with certain new devices, not the existing ones, and who's going to buy something with new removable batteries if rechargable technology will soon evolve to the point where you can charge a battery up in half an hour and have days of available power, and do so hundreds of thousands of times over so you never have to replace a battery? Silly Microsoft, stuck a decade in the past...

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Have we become so lazy to put batteries now that we have to make this ridiculous patent technology? There is a difference between convenient and lazy. For example, a start button in cars is convenient because you don't want to damage the engine by revving up too much. This, however, is just flat out lazy.

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I saw the tag, and though Microsoft was finally getting into the porn business!

This is rather simply smart. But why would you want your customers to who would put their batteries in backwards to be save from damage. Then they wouldn't have to go buy another?

Imagine having no tech support because no one was calling in saying my PC wont turn on...all because they didn't have it plugged in! That has to be at least 60% of their market base.

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