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.