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MS Design Lets You Put Batteries In Any Way You Want

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the dis-orientation dept.

Microsoft 453

jangel writes "While its strategy for mobile devices might be a mess, Microsoft has announced something we'll all benefit from. The company's patented design for battery contacts will allow users of portable devices — digital cameras, flashlights, remote controls, toys, you name it — to insert their batteries in any direction. Compatible with AA and AAA cells, among others, the 'InstaLoad' technology does not require special electronics or circuitry, the company claims."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32770850)

courtesy of Opera 10.60.

Suck it.

Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode bridge? (-1, Troll)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770864)

Hmm, way prior art and even previous commerical application. According to the Wikipedia article: [wikipedia.org]

Prior to the availability of integrated circuits, a bridge rectifier was constructed from "discrete components", i.e., separate diodes. Since about 1950, a single four-terminal component containing the four diodes connected in a bridge configuration became a standard commercial component and is now available with various voltage and current ratings.

Also from the same article on very basic electronics - something I learned at a 15 month tech school when I was 18 (1997):

In each case, the upper right output remains positive and lower right output negative. Since this is true whether the input is AC or DC, this circuit not only produces a DC output from an AC input, it can also provide what is sometimes called "reverse polarity protection". That is, it permits normal functioning of DC-powered equipment when batteries have been installed backwards, or when the leads (wires) from a DC power source have been reversed, and protects the equipment from potential damage caused by reverse polarity.

I also know some early model/prototype charging mats used this tech - at least a decade ago.

Tomorrow, I'm going to file a patent on using a potato for a battery!

(I know where I would like to insert a car battery on Balmer)

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (4, Insightful)

twisting_department (1329331) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770884)

Not Prior Art if it uses electronics, diodes etc. This is purely mechanical. I think it's the most brilliant thing Microsoft has ever come up with. Patent worthy? Quite possibly in my mind.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (4, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771106)

Well when reading the news item as in "no electronics needed" how many people on Slashdot came up with the same idea in their head before reading the article? It's rather obvious how it could be done but yeah, many patentable things are. I just think it's sad people can patent such crap/simple stuff. Especially since many others could come up with a very similar product from just wanting to solve the same problem, and the patent would most likely cover that solution to.

I assume there's a reason it's not used already. Such as: It's not that hard to put the battery in correctly in the first place and maybe the connectors worn out faster / get bent more easily / touches by accident/moist/..

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771158)

diode battery isolation while "lossy" is a far better idea from a practical standpoint this idea is just silly - I agree after getting some dirt, moisture, a corroded battery it will be far less reliable - plus many devices need more than two batteries in series which means complicated additional wiring (to handle all the possible cases of screwed up batteries) - I just don't see it as practical in any way, in fact its ridiculous

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771234)

It doesn't require complicated addition wiring - each cell will have one +ve and one -ve output in total, which can be wired in series as you see fit.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771366)

And before he starts to think about doing it parallell: It would be even easier.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771362)

It doesn't have "complicated additional wiring" that I can see. The complexity scales as a constant for each battery. They aren't wiring each permutation, but instead just ensuring that there is both a positive and negative contact on each end of the battery. The only added "complexity" is designing the ends to have the physical contacts placed in such a way that only the correct contact is touching the battery on each side and adding a single extra wire running between the like contants. The rest of the design i.e. connecting up multiple in serial/parallel, has no bearing on if one uses this system or not.

I find the speculation that "maybe the connectors worn out faster / get bent more easily / touches by accident/moist/.." to be ridiculous. From the images, the contacts look just as rigid and durable as would a normal contact layout. I also don't see how dirt/moisture/corroded plays any more against this system than normal contacts. Where could corrosion/moisture/dirt take place that in this layout that isn't equally likely to take place with the regular layout? The only somewhat critique that I can think of is that it may be slightly easier to accidentally short the circuit by bridging both contacts on one end of chamber, but this is no more likely than it is for a 9v battery where both contacts are next to each other already.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (0, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771368)

this idea is just silly

If it had come from Apple, there would be Nobel nominations.

And Sun Tzu also said, "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting".

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (-1, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771190)

If it were as easy to come up with as you're saying, why didn't you do it?

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771350)

I did as soon as I read the news item.

I just hadn't identified the problem yet ...
Once you think "How could I make it possible to connect to this battery no matter what position it's in?" the solution is easy to come up with.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771332)

Well when reading the news item as in "no electronics needed" how many people on Slashdot came up with the same idea in their head before reading the article?

I personally found the idea quite obvious _after_ reading the article, but it never, ever occurred to me before, even though it is an obvious thing to want. Further, I don't think the patent was rewarded for the abstract idea of creating mechanical connections that work correctly with a battery plugged in either way, but for the actual implementation, which is likely not trivial. If it was as obvious as you think, why has no camera maker implemented it before? What about the slightly easier "put a picture somewhere that makes it really obvious which is the right way"? Even that is not commonly implemented.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

Masa (74401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771354)

What you are saying, reminds me of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_of_Columbus [wikipedia.org]

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771316)

Maybe in your mind, but not in real life. Serious obviousness problem -- if a 15 year old kid can invent it (I did, though I'm afraid I didn't save the paper, so I can't prove prior art), it's certainly obvious to an engineer of "ordinary skill" who's trying to solve that problem. However, few engineers have even considered "make it work no matter which way you install the battery"; "make correct battery orientation obvious" and/or "make it not fail if some idiot installs battery wrong" are much more typical. If nobody's looked at a situation in such a cross-eyed / clear (depending on viewpoint) way as to see that exact problem, that gets you novelty, but doesn't help your obviousness problem.

Unfortunately, there's rather wider variance in dimensions and shape of batteries than might be expected, since the nub's only intended functions are visual/tactile polarity ID and making end-to-end contact (as in typical flashlights). I expect it'll be plagued by the same incompatibilities as some physical reverse-polarity blocks have (but in this case shorting batteries instead of merely failing to work). And all this to save people from thinking about which way they're loading batteries? I'll pass, thanks.

No reverse polarity. (2, Funny)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770902)

Scotty will turn in his grave. MS killed the hyperdrive fix.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (4, Informative)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770966)

I suggest you learn a bit more about electronics. Diodes have a voltage drop, 0.7V for normal diodes, schottky diodes go as low as 0.2V, but that's still a lot if you get only 1.2V to 1.5V from your battery.

And the summery clearly states that it is without circuitry. Which is not that hard to imagine if you LATFPITFA.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (-1, Troll)

Trogre (513942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770994)

Not only that, they patented an inferior alternative. This thing is mechanical, and looks to be designed with very tight tolerances.

Put the battery in at a not-quite-perfect angle, or let the contacts move a bit and *bang* you've got a short.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771160)

Not only that, they patented an inferior alternative.
Diode bridges are near useless for dealing with individual AA or similar cells. In a bridge the power must go through two diodes. Assuming a drop of 0.2V per diode (which is pretty good) then on a nimh cell you'd be throwing away a third of your voltage just on the diodes.

This thing is mechanical, and looks to be designed with very tight tolerances.
mmm, I can see reliability being a problem with this design. Compatibility with the various brands of batteries that can be subtyly different shapes my be a problem too.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771300)

You should just say "out-of-spec RadioShack batteries".

No need to be coy.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771378)

A problem? I think you mean a golden opportunity!

For only 50-100% more than you have been paying for your misshapen generics, Microsoft's battery partners are proud to announce their new line of Premium Dimensionally Certified(tm) batteries: "Because that widget was expensive, and you wouldn't want something to happen."

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771002)

Sometimes the stuff you learn in basic electronics can be really useful. In this case though it just made you look like a dick. RTFA.

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771080)

Are your batteries AC?

Re:Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode brid (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771150)

Did Microsoft REALLY just patent the diode bridge?

No. No, they REALLY did not.

Note: if a question actually has multiple possible answers, it's not rhetorical.

And in other news... (-1, Redundant)

anomaly256 (1243020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770876)

.. they are now trying to patent the diode

Re:And in other news... (5, Interesting)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770978)

I did the unthinkable and read TFA. They are not trying to patent the diode, they came up with a completely stupidly simple *mechanical* system which really allows to put the batteries in any direction you want without checking the polarity. it's one of the "so simple anybody could have thought of it" patents, and I must confess that I am actually impressed by its simplicity.

For once I must say "well done, Microsoft" (sadly I'm not really anticipating repeating that sentence all too often)

Re:And in other news... (4, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771088)

it's one of the "so simple anybody could have thought of it" patents

I remember *some* devices that, instead of the cheap flat plate (positive contact) and spring (negative contact) configuration, had the housing built in such a manner that for the negative plate (which was semi-springy) it was full width, while for the positive plate it was shielded by the housing to just slightly over the width of the protruding positive contact of the AA/AAA battery.

That way, the battery could only be inserted one way. It solves the same big problem of inserting batteries the wrong way around and either the device not working, or worse.

It doesn't solve the "I wish I could put the battery either which way around so I don't have to use my square-peg-in-round-hole 18-month-old brain" problem, though - and it's still a fairly clever design. Now to see how well it holds up in mass production where tolerances of fitting such things in the housings are often seen as +-2mm and everything moves, twists and turns.

Re:And in other news... (1)

anomaly256 (1243020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771186)

They didn't 'come up with' it, they re-invented it. I recall some of my childhood toys from the 80's that used this very concept. And, rtfa? wtf? asif.

Re:And in other news... (1)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771000)

It's actually not a diode, but rather new battery contacts that only make contact with either the positive or negative connection at either end (but not both). Simple, nothing new required but wiring and these new connectors, and nothing to get in the way of the function of the device. I'm actually mildly impressed.

Re:And in other news... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771182)

I'm actually mildly impressed.

There's probably both a positive and negative side to the design.

What to work on next. (5, Funny)

bob_jordan (39836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770898)

Thats one of lifes great problems solved. Any chance they can work on Windows stability next?

Bob.

Re:What to work on next. (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771130)

Atleast they've got the button placement for starting and ending your work at the computer solved in a similar action. No matter what just click Start.

Re:What to work on next. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771132)

Any chance they can work on Windows stability next?

Bob,

it's been almost 30 years. Get over it.
Adjust to a new generic outcry of discomfort or malcontent.

hint:Apple is the new Microsoft.

Re:What to work on next. (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771144)

If you have major trouble on XP, you bought a shit computer. That's hardly something you should blame Microsoft for.

First post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32770900)

If only I had put the batteries into the mouse right way after the first try.

Dodge this (0, Troll)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770904)

Let's say it use 2 batteries and the user place them like this

[- +}{+ -]

Well... doesn't look like it's going to work...

Re:Dodge this (0, Redundant)

glavenoid (636808) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770984)

The method does not allow putting the batteries in direct series contact with each other. Problem averted.

Re:Dodge this (5, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771026)

This is specifically for battery compartments with a physical parallel configuration, rather than a series configuration.
( 'physical configuration' as in the batteries laying side-by-side, rather than end-to-end, so the batteries' poles never directly touch eachother; unrelated to the electrical circuitry's configuration )

I'm trying to recall the last time I've seen a physical series configuration; but I just realized my old-ass flashlight counts as one.
( it's been replaced years ago by a proper wind-up for emergency cases and a decent Maglite-like one with a rechargable set for more frequent/high intensity beam use )

Re:Dodge this (3, Interesting)

Thrawn7 (1047716) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771102)

Heh.. my Microsoft wireless keyboard takes in batteries in physical series.. Guess they'd have to rework that one

Re:Dodge this (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771226)

I'm trying to recall the last time I've seen a physical series configuration; but I just realized my old-ass flashlight counts as one.

Most devices that require more than two batteries use a series-parallel configuration for space reasons. Usually, it's two and two. For example, my universal remote, my first-generation Apple wireless keyboard, etc.

Re:Dodge this (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771344)

You're right, but still, what happens usually is that you have two compartments side by side (either holes or slots) and then a wire connecting two batteries next to each other.

And that 'wire' is placed usually in a space constrained place (like a lid, in digital cameras)

Trivial (3, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771044)

Do not do it serially. Keep in mind that you can design with batteries in parallel fashion, and then connect the batteries serially logically. The funny thing is, that I DID think about this 3 years ago. For the last 3 years, I have been putting loads of batteries in kids toys and some of them just plained sux to put batteries in.

Re:Dodge this (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771066)

Let's say it use 2 batteries and the user place them like this

[- +}{+ -]

Well... doesn't look like it's going to work...

Just when Microsoft thought they'd built the ultimate idiot proof device, nature comes along with a better idiot.

To be fair though, those sort of devices are less common, and it's easier to spot when you've got it wrong (two batteries nose to nose or tail to tail is more obviously wrong than a single battery in backwards).

Re:Dodge this (1)

Spaham (634471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771292)

more obviously wrong ?
are you some kind of anti-gay righteous activist ?

Re:Dodge this (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771360)

Don't think of this as physical placement, but logical placement.

You can do this in a remote even though the batteries are side by side and if their connection is serial or parallel is irrelevant (ok, if it's parallel it will probably go out in smoke if you place them wrong, still)

Re:Dodge this (1)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771126)

Well if you put it together like that, you are correct. However if you'll read the article you'll notice that the battery cradles are

[ ]
[ ]

instead of [ ][ ]

And the terminal contacts as well as the internal circuitry will sort it out.

It's a nice idea and makes life simple, especially for the people who are baffled by the battery diagrams.

Re:Dodge this (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771128)

Let's say it use 2 batteries and the user place them like this

[- +}{+ -]

Their hardware design works on batteries that have something in common. Batteries where plus contact is higher and minus is flat. Circuit has contacts for both in all locations. No matter how you put your battery minus contact on circuit never touches plus contact on battery and plus contact does not touch battery's minus. Everything else is wiring. It might be compatible with AA and AAA, but it is definitely not compatible with button cells.

So... (-1, Offtopic)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770908)

Microsoft has invented the diode? Thank goodness for that, I don't think electronics could progress any further without it.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771074)

Microsoft has invented the diode? Thank goodness for that, I don't think electronics could progress any further without it.

If you insist on thinking of it as a diode, then it's a diode with a voltage drop of 0, which is pretty impressive!

Re:So... (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771134)

You must be new here. This is Slashdot, and physics laws do not apply here.

Let me guess (-1, Offtopic)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770916)

Four diodes [wikipedia.org]

Re:Let me guess (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770974)

You guessed wrong, just like nearly everyone else above you.

Re:Let me guess (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771156)

Which is weird since even the Slashdot news item specifically says:

the 'InstaLoad' technology does not require special electronics or circuitry

Guess even reading the news item before posting isn't obligatory longer.

Headlines 'ought to be enough for everyone!

Re:Let me guess (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771200)

I didn't really believe that Microsoft had patented the bridge rectifier.

Re:Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32770988)

right - because all my batteries provide AC current.

Re:Let me guess (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771028)

I think you should first analyze how the diode bridge works. FYI, it fixes polarity of DC input just fine.

Re:Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771296)

With a subsequent voltage drop, which is unacceptable in many applications.

Thus their solution is actually pretty neat.

You fail; trying to be snarky you stepped in poop.

Re:Let me guess (1)

takowl (905807) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770998)

Wrong, actually. It has two separate contacts at each end--the positive "blip" will touch one contact, the negative pad will touch the other. If it works reliably, that's pretty neat.

Sometimes, I like to RTFA, just for the novelty.

Re:Let me guess (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771180)

Sometimes, I like to RTFA, just for the novelty.

I'll start once they give out free shirts for everyone doing so :)

Pretty proud, eh? (3, Funny)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770918)

They even made a logo for it. http://www.windowsfordevices.com/images/stories/microsoft_instaload_logo.jpg [windowsfordevices.com]

Neat but not buzzword or logo worthy.

Re:Pretty proud, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771012)

ummmm, like you couldn't see that image on the article page?

karma whore

Re:Pretty proud, eh? (5, Insightful)

ragefan (267937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771152)

They even made a logo for it.

So instead of just paying attention to whether the batteries are in correctly, they'll have to first pay attention to whether the device matters which way that batteries go.

An actual patent (5, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770930)

For once, we're hearing about an authentically clever, afaik new physical design which solves a real problem and is actually sanely applicable to be patented. I wasn't expecting that when I clicked on this story. Gotta hand it to Microsoft for this one.

Re:An actual patent (2, Insightful)

tius (455341) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771118)

"solves a real problem ..." I wouldn't have gone out of my way to call this a real problem. I can see it as a risk mitigator in medical devices and emergency equipment, but beyond that it just adds to the noise that dumbs down the public.

Re:An actual patent (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771164)

For once, we're hearing about an authentically clever, afaik new physical design which solves a real problem and is actually sanely applicable to be patented. I wasn't expecting that when I clicked on this story. Gotta hand it to Microsoft for this one.

Whenever reading something like this, I cannot help wondering which company they bought the solution from.

It's certainly a clever design, and even if they bought it elsewhere that was a very good decision. Which, if technology blogs are anything to go by, are increasingly rare within Microsoft's management layers.

Re:An actual patent (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771336)

Dude, they employ thousands of the smartest CS people in the United States. That might not translate into products you like, but fucking try to acknowledge a little reality through the smell of your own farts.

Re:An actual patent (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771172)

Yes, I'm all for Microsoft dropping this stupid software business stuff and fully invest into battery container research!

Re:An actual patent (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771206)

Yes, but unfortunately Slashdot has still mostly jumped on it as an opportunity to slag off Microsoft.

Sure this may not be ground breaking, but if Microsoft can take it mainstream then why slag them off for it? as simple as it may be, the fact remains that no one else has bothered to take it mainstream yet.

It's not just about the ingenuity or difficulty of inventing a device, but in taking it to the greater market, there's no point inventing the most complex amazing thing ever if no one actually ever gets chance to make use of it. So this is where the real test is- whether Microsoft manage to take it mainstream and hence whether we all do get to benefit from it in the long run.

Re:An actual patent (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771220)

I rather grant them credits for identifying that it actually was a problem in the first place rather than for the solution. The solution is obvious, seeing it as a problem which needed a solution is another thing.

But it's the same for glass jar or bottle openers, velcro, the zip, ..

Re:An actual patent (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771374)

If you had given the problem to solve to 10 mechanical engineers, you would get 9 times the same solution. The last one would have a slightly more innovative approach. Sorry, no, this is as innovative as a new algorithm : it has some cleverness, but forbidding other people to copy the functionality that is trivial to implement is still absurd.

Great! (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770944)

So, since Microsoft designed it, if the battery-powered device does not work anymore, we can fix it by simply removing the batteries and inserting them again...

Re:Great! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771008)

"Your batteriy is not a Genuine Microsoft Battery"...*Pzzzzzt!*...Blue Smoke Of Death

They invented the Graetz circuit? (0, Troll)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32770970)

Not exactly unknown invention...

Re:They invented the Graetz circuit? (1)

IvoC (1840536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771052)

If you would have bothered to read the article, you'd have noticed that this is a mechanical solution not involving diodes.

Re:They invented the Graetz circuit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771090)

RTFA? What world are you living in? Currently RTFS(ummary) is becoming a dying art...

Now if only... (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771024)

Now if only someone could invent something that would stop my wife putting non-rechargable batteries in my charger and blowing them up. She said it was an accident... I just think she likes the explosions.

Re:Now if only... (1)

tresstatus (260408) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771192)

Now if only someone could invent something that would stop my wife putting non-rechargable batteries in my charger and blowing them up. She said it was an accident... I just think she likes the explosions.

maybe she's holding them wrong when she inserts them

Re:Now if only... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771194)

Upgrade your wife. You can get bulk buy discounts if you import 10 or more from Russia.

Re:Now if only... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771246)

stop my wife putting non-rechargable batteries in my charger and blowing them up. She said it was an accident... I just think she likes the explosions.

Time to turn her in [slashdot.org] !

Re:Now if only... (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771248)

I just think she likes the explosions.

Mr. Bay, is that you?

This is best invention from Microsoft ever. (5, Insightful)

twisting_department (1329331) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771032)

I have to say it again. This is the most brilliant invention Microsoft has ever come up with. It fixes an every day niggle that every one has just accepted for decades. It's dead obvious but no one thought of it before (I assume so far). Perfect candidate for a patent. And for all those who don't read articles: No it does not uses diodes, it's purely mechanical therefore does not drop any battery voltage or waste power like a bridge would. It's probably as cheap to make as regular battery contacts. Just hope it is as reliable as normal contacts. Brilliant I say. Well done Microsoft. I always thought you had some innovation in you somewhere.

Re:This is best invention from Microsoft ever. (4, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771254)

It's probably as cheap to make as regular battery contacts.
It won't be, it requires more peices of material in the contacts themselves (twice as many contacts plus an extra insulating peice) and more wiring (since you have to take both the positive and negative leads to both ends of each battery slot).

BTW you can make contacts that protect against damge from backwards insertion far simpler (and i've seen them in equipment) just by shaping the plastic right at the positive end (basically you put the positive contact inside a slot so the flat negative end can't touch it). The only advantage of these new contacts over that style is that they allow things to work both ways round.

Just hope it is as reliable as normal contacts.
Indeed I have two main concerns with this

1: reliability, how long will these fancy contacts last.

2: failure modes, when normal battery contacts fail they tend to fail by just not making good contact, they can then be cleaned, bent back into shape etc. This thing looks like it could easilly fail in a way that shorts out the battery and looks like it would be difficult to fix poor contacts without ruining the mechanism.

worthwhile imho (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771034)

to be fair to microsoft, ive not seen many electronic devices where you didnt have to put a battery in in a certain way. indeed, the fact that this is probably trivially implementable, yet had yet to be implemented, means i think microsoft is more deserving of this patent, cause others are less deserving, as they didnt bother to implement it.

"something we'll all benefit from?" (1)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771046)

".... something we'll all benefit from. The company's patented design ...."

Something's wrong there.

".... something MICROSOFT will benefit from. The company's patented design ..."

There. Fixed it for you.

Also cool (1)

prionic6 (858109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771070)

I think this is a nice feature. What also surprised me as pretty cool: My Logitech mouse operates with two AA batteries, but if you want to reduce the weight, it works with only one. Great!

RTFA, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771072)

I'm sorry, but has Slashdot just had an influx of fuckwittery? This involves NO electronics whatsoever. To everybody referring to rectifier bridges: Take a look at the diagram.

It's simple. REALLY simple. So simple, in fact, that I'm surprised nobody's thought of it before. On reflection, it's completely obvious.

Or perhaps someone had thought of it, and found that different batteries from different manufacturers with different nipples and dimples on the ends rendered their contact design unreliable across different battery brands.

Oh, wait, this is Microsoft we're talking about. They'll want you to buy Microcells[TM] if you want to reliably stick them in either way. Never mind.

Batteries, eh ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771084)

Well, just imagine a beowulf cluster of...oh wait!

A better design (1)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771092)

What about a battery that does not fit if it's inserted the wrong way? By the age of 3 we all learn to put pegs in the holes of the right shape, so it should be user-friendly enough. Let me just patent it before Microsoft will...

Re:A better design (1)

DerPflanz (525793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771210)

What about a battery that does not fit if it's inserted the wrong way?

This better, because it doesn't matter what you do. There is always somebody who will *make* it fit.

One problem tho.. (4, Insightful)

The Creator (4611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771140)

Users will be looking at these abiguos contacs and not be able to figure out which way to insert their batteries.

(No it doesn't help that any way will do if the user doesn't know it.)

Re:One problem tho.. (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771286)

Presumably the user will just jam the batteries in whichever way they please in their frustration and.. hey presto, it works.

I suppose a more serious side-effect would be that they might start thinking this holds true for -any- battery compartment, and subsequently kill their device.

Embrace and change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771170)

Being this is microsoft, I can almost imagine, a few years down the road,we will all be forced to use MS brand batteries.

Just watch! If they can do it with file formats, they will find a way!

Do You Think... (2, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771174)

...that someone who is too stupid to put a battery in the correct way round probably shouldn't be using an electronic device in the first place?

Re:Do You Think... (3, Insightful)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771282)

You are stupid one here. Why assume dumbproofness when you can just think of it as the fulfillment of an incomplete design ? I can think of multiple situations where quickly swapping batteries without looking would be awesome.

Re:Do You Think... (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771376)

...that someone who is too stupid to put a battery in the correct way round probably shouldn't be using an electronic device in the first place?

Mea Culpa.

When I was at my PHB seminar the other day, they had a prototype of this this thing. It's not quite up to par. See, I put the batteries in backwards into my camera in it projected the pictures I had in there! What got me into trouble was that the previous night I photographed my exploits with two Albanian Circus dwarfs. Quite embarrassing! I wasn't wearing a rubber! I wasn't sure if one of them was female or not, either.HIs/her name was Chris.

That's the sound of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771224)

100,000 electrical engineers simultaneously kicking themselves in a "why didn't I think of that" moment.

Cognitive dissonance anyone? (1)

mebollocks (798866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771256)

Microsoft has announced something we'll all benefit from. The company's patented... uhhh... Come again?

I'll wait... (1)

leenoble_uk (698539) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771356)

...for version 1.1 thanks.

This will be fun for support ... (1)

the bluebrain (443451) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771372)

... they won't only have to continue to teach users what the "any key" is, now they can teach generations of users how to put batteries in, all over again.

Remember, kids: it *always* a good thing if there's more than one way to do something; indeed, the more ways there is to do something, the better (*).

I always appreciate devices that treat me like an idiot, and attempt to do my thinking for me. I'm looking forward to my first device that is missing the [+] and [-] signs in the battery bay, because hey, it says there right on the box that I threw away half a year ago that the batteries can go in any which way. Duh.

(*) alert: sarcasm

"Microsoft... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771388)

"Microsoft, encouraging people to be dumber, one battery at a time."

Did this "problem" need a solution? Is reading the + and - that hard? All I see in the future are meat-head users now plugging batteries in any which way, destroying non-InstaLoad devices (and putting more stuff into our landfills).

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