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article imageOp-Ed: USB connection irreversibility now solved by USB-C

By Ken Hanly     Jun 26, 2019 in Technology
It is now more than two decades since the Universal Serial Bus (USB) came into use. This ushered in an era in which there was a common standard for connecting peripheral devices to personal computers.
The USB port did away with many device specific connections
The USB co-inventor was Ajay Bhatt who was part of a multi-company effort to do away with the many specific cables, plugs, and connections that faced users in the 1990's when they tried to connect peripheral devices to their computers. In particular Bhatt was motivated to create the simple device in order that family members could use their printer without having to phone him all the time to get it to work properly.
Why the USB plug is not reversible
Bhatt noted: “In hindsight, based on all the experiences that we all had, of course it was not as easy as it should be,” explains Bhatt to NPR, confirming that “the biggest annoyance is [the lack of] reversibility. A USB that could plug in correctly both ways would have required double the wires and circuits, which would have then doubled the cost.”
The USB connection would replace the larger serial and parallel ports but it was aso successful in dispacing the Appe's fast but more expensive FireWire standard. With adapters the USB connection has taken over the role of other ports as well such as Ethernet.
Bhatt earned nothing from inventing the USB
Many tech inventors become super stars and earn plenty from their inventions. Bhatt, however, earned nothing as his employer Intel has the patent for the USB. Bhatt said: "We were not worried about notoriety. In the end, it's a team sport — my feeling is that if everyone adopts your idea, then you've succeeded. Notoriety should be given to the technology."
The USB-C new standard fixes the reversibility problem
The USB-C also delivers greater power than the earlier USB 2.0 and 3.0 along with greater data bandwidth and is even more versatile. Most new laptops have the USB-C port. Soon perhaps laptops will have only the USB-C ports.
Is reversibility that much of a problem?
Other connections such as VGA, Ethernet, and even HDMI need to be plugged in with the correct orientation. Strictly speaking they are not reversible. Of course you can visually see how the connection needs to go in. But you can as well with the USB connection. You can see which way the end should be inserted so that it can penetrate into the port. Make sure you are able to see into the port and if the lighting is poor you can have a flashlight handy. I can remember which way my USB connections go so I can get it right be feel. The problem becomes finding exactly where the port slot is. It is not rocket science to be able to connect a USB and the irreversibility problem is a minor issue that anyone who has any experience can overcome through experience.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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