Microsoft banishes battery bungling

July 1, 2010
Microsoft is taking the fumbling out of figuring out which way batteries fit into gadgets. The US technology colossus on Thursday unveiled "InstaLoad" technology that lets batteries energize devices regardless of how the negative and positive polarity connections are in place.

Microsoft is taking the fumbling out of figuring out which way batteries fit into gadgets. The US technology colossus on Thursday unveiled "InstaLoad" technology that lets batteries energize devices regardless of how the negative and positive polarity connections are in place.

"Industries that could greatly benefit from this type of timesaving technology based on their environments include law enforcement, military, construction, outdoor sporting and camping," Microsoft said in a release.

"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."

Battery powerhouse Duracell is among firms that have expressed interest in the technology, which Microsoft is licensing to gadget makers.

Allsman Enterprises said it is building the technology into a line of flashlights for police.

"Having the ability to quickly change a without concern of proper positioning under stressful conditions is a major safety improvement," said Marc Allsman, the firm's president.

Microsoft also announced a program to license the technology free for use in devices designed for people with hearing, vision or learning disabilities.

Explore further: New Battery Technology in Development to Potentially Double Laptop Run Times

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9 comments

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jselin
5 / 5 (2) Jul 01, 2010
I'd imagine that for batteries in series you'd still have to keep them pointing in the same direction (either one way, or the other) causing confusion and misuse within the general public. This is, if the technology is built into devices and not the batteries. No ammount of clever engineering can un-cancel opposed voltages right?

jsa09
not rated yet Jul 01, 2010
Since Durcell is being approached it could be that it will be the battery not the device that is being modified.
Microsoft also announced a program to license the technology free for use in devices designed for people with hearing, vision or learning disabilities.


although this does point to the device not the battery.
Pete83
not rated yet Jul 01, 2010
A certain amount of clever electrical engineering can un-cancel opposed voltages, however it's really just having extra wiring in the batteries, along with some diodes, and you're good to go. Doing this would make the batteries more expensive to produce, and take slightly more space. All of this is really a waste of time, if you can't work out which way to put batteries into a device, you most likely do not have the ability to operate said device.
DuncanI
not rated yet Jul 02, 2010
Its called a bridge rectifier. Either polarity in, DC out. For batteries you would use 4 mosfets for low voltage drop bridge rectifier. You can also charge either way around by detecting the polarity of the cell prior to charging. Surely Duracell do not need a license for this?
AngryMoose
not rated yet Jul 02, 2010
I'm pretty sure I was ok putting batteries in the correct way round, should have spent the man hours making my hover board!

Guess it will help older people or people with vision problems.
StarkRG
not rated yet Jul 02, 2010
I can see how this might be useful in some very select areas such as the high-stress situations mentioned. I think, however, it might be cheaper, yet just as helpful, to just build the batteries in a specific shape. Ammo clips for weapons only fit in one direction (bullets point AWAY from the user) and the designs have been extensively field tested (see wars since invention of ammo clip).

In short, my solution: Make batteries more like ammo clips.
BrainiacV
5 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2010
Obviously the batteries will be running Windows and therefore requires a license.
trekgeek1
not rated yet Jul 02, 2010
Just make the batteries have a subtle shape that only allows them to fit one way. Batteries that are custom designed like laptop and mobile phone batteries are almost impossible to install incorrectly because they form a piece of the casing when in place.
damnfuct
not rated yet Jul 02, 2010
How about take a cylindrical cell (like they are now), put positive terminals on the top and bottom of the battery, and the negative is the entire side of the battery. Problem solved. Where's my money?

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