This is one invention that has great ability to change your childhood notion about “how to insert a battery” and it has every potential to turn a “Microsoft hater” into their fanboy! How many times did you feel frustrated because a device refused to work because you put the batteries in the wrong direction? But thanks to Microsoft‘s new revolutionary battery technologyInstaLoad (called ), that the days of making sure the + and – side of your AA batteries are in the right direction are over. Microsoft has come up with an amazingly obvious tweak to battery tech that should save us some headaches, as well as several trillion hours of hitting-head-over-the-wall and peeping into dark holes.
For batteries to work, they need to be placed in the right way. It’s one of those fundamental notions that we all pick up from an early age. But Microsoft has just announced an innovation that turns all that on its head – literally. Known as “InstaLoad” battery installation, the technology allows you to insert a battery without having to worry about positive and negative polarity. That’s idiot-proofing of the highest order!
The most impressive part is the low-tech way this is handled. Each contact in the battery compartment has both positive and negative terminals. If the fat, flat end of the battery is pressing against them, it touches the outside contact. If it is the pointy positive end then it makes contact with a slightly recessed inner contact. This, combined with some simple circuitry, makes sure the current is always running the right way. Isn’t that simply brilliant?
In Microsoft’s own words: “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.” Moreover, the technology works with most barrel-type batteries, so your AA, AAA, C and D batteries are all compatible. It also doesn’t matter whether the batteries are disposable or rechargeable.
“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,” said Rusty Jeffress, corporate vice president, Specialized Devices & Applications, Microsoft.
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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. InstaLoad is the first technology offering by Microsoft Hardware for licensing to a broader industry, across a variety of battery-operated devices.
In addition, Microsoft offering a no-charge InstaLoad evaluation kit, which includes a detailed design specification and demo unit to help device suppliers quickly start their product prototyping. And under a Royalty-Free License Program for Accessibility Products, the InstaLoad technology will provide an additional usability benefit for battery-operated accessibility devices that are designed for people with hearing, vision or learning disabilities. Way to go Microsoft — hopefully, once InstaLoad arrives in our day-to-day gadgets, we’ll never have to look at + or – signs on the battery again.