Running Out Of USB Ports?

One of the limitations on notebooks is the lack of USB ports in proportion to the number of devices we would like to hook up. An easy remedy these days is the USB Hub, but YD won’t be YD if we showcased run-of-the-mill solutions! So here’s the Infinite USB – an alternative plug on devices that kinda acts like a tag team. The design speaks for itself, so no point elaborating, however what we can do is talk about its effectiveness and limitations. For starters I don’t think we may be able to tag too many devices one behind the other. I reckon max 3 or 4 before the tag starts to look awkward, but the color coding on plugs will make it easy to identify which plug belongs to which device.

What do you think?

Designer: Gonglue Jiang

Infinite USB - Plug Redesign by Gonglue Jiang

infinite_usb2

163 Comments

  • M_Crow says:

    its a cool idea, but there are limitations to it. first is when one wants to unplug a device that is connected in the middle of the combination, the user will need to start safely remove all the device connected after it. Second, tagging too many devices is not only a problem about looking awkward but also a problem of overloading. one will easily blow the power adapter of the laptop if too many usb devices are connected. this is a problem we face currently.

    • qwerty says:

      i dont think that many people safely remove… or am i the only one

      • KARTHEEK says:

        if u hav to remove somethin in the middle v hav to remove all the others b4 dat

      • Trent says:

        The point behind USB and Plug and play, is that you dont have to Safely remove. I never use it. unless I have a thumbdrive that requires special software to work like a military one.

        Outside of that one I never use it and I have no problems with any of my USB devices.

        because of this I say….

        UNPLUG AWAY

    • trybudi says:

      exactly my thought

    • mousse says:

      But…. simply detach the OTHER plug of the cable leaving it in place?

    • Chris says:

      Actually usbs are suppose to be daisy chained 127 long

    • Kenchin says:

      Let me agree with you. However this concept shows the use of the port. Not just to plug an that’s it.. it is saying if you r out of usb port you can use one of them. it will indeed cause damage to the adapter… but I still love the concept..

    • Glass says:

      It won’t blow.

      The output power is limited to 100mA. You can’t draw more power than the amount given to you. By the way, each device can ask for more by “negotiating” with the USB controller inside the computer.

      Do some research, would, ya? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus

      • Jon says:

        i was going to say the same thing
        my laptop has trouble sometimes with just supplying power to just the two usb’s on one side of the laptop not 5 in one usb

    • M_Crow says:

      ok.. seems like many people are assuring me that 1 port is able to support a chain a usb devices in terms of the power needed. initially i had viewed it similar to the case where many appliances are connected to wall power socket. anyway, i think a user will at most connect 3 devices on each port. however, it defeats the purpose if power is still needed to be supplied externally. there might be a workaround for the safely removal of devices. also, safely removal are more important only for devices with mechanical parts (hdd, optical storage, etc) but i also doubt these devices will be using this usb connector as they generally need more power from a port. factoring these cases, this design might actually work.

    • Yo mama says:

      Get a docking station, much nicer and more convenient… for the laptop when in portable mode you only need 4 USB maximum…

      And why use a MAC in the first place… it has a much slower processor speed than what you get in the PC…

    • Elliot says:

      @M_Crow

      I'm afraid you're wrong about the power adapter my friend.

      Firstly think about the following:
      If I was to have a reservoir pouring water out into a pool and then make another whole to pour water into a new pool you would not expect the reservoir to suddenly fill up with water now would you?

      Secondly
      The universal serial bus will only provide 5v no more no less it's up to this effective hub to decide how it wants to share that 5v around (unless it's a powered hub in which case it could provide 5v to multiple devices)

    • Elliot says:

      @M_Crow

      I'm afraid you're wrong about the power adapter my friend.

      Firstly think about the following:
      If I was to have a reservoir pouring water out into a pool and then make another whole to pour water into a new pool you would not expect the reservoir to suddenly fill up with water now would you?

      Secondly
      The universal serial bus will only provide 5v no more no less it's up to this effective hub to decide how it wants to share that 5v around (unless it's a powered hub in which case it could provide 5v to multiple devices)

  • www says:

    you can’t pile up usb like that, it’s just usb port not design to support that way. there is a reason for usb-hub to be produced.

    • Glass says:

      This is nothing more than a 2-out USB hub, but daisy chained. Of course there are limitations, but as Chris said above, you can connect up to 127 devices.

      Also, Firewire works exactly like this: almost all my Firewire devices have two ports, you use any of the two for input and the other for output.

  • Thumbtack says:

    I like the look of those cables, too. I can’t believe USB has been around for so long and I’ve never seen a USB cable and thought, “That looks pretty stylin’.”

  • Ahmed Alzayani says:

    We already have this for power adapters, the issue is as you chain them they become very bulky and not so stable. and as the big issue (as any USB hub) is that it still needs external power.

  • Gavin says:

    I was just thinking about something like this last night. My nettop has six USB ports but two are used by the keyboard and mouse( I’m getting a Bluetooth set soon, any suggestions want a key board with track pad) I always seem to use more USB then I have ports.

  • Curiosity killed the says:

    Won't you have to safely remove all of the devices connected if you want to disconnect the blue one in the first picture?

  • tudza says:

    Each of those plugs must have a little hub circuit inside. The limit on chaining these things is going to be either 4 or 5, most likely 4 since you have a limit of 5 hubs in a string and the port you plug into is probably already a hub.

    Is it just me, or does it look like the plug in the second picture is covering up access to the second USB port on the laptop?

  • Pete says:

    Assuming this could be made to work technically with TWO devices, I have my doubts that it would work with a “large” number (say as pictured), because each of those plugs implies a (one-port) hub, and hubs are generally buggy. As well, each of those plugs introduces latency, so that the devices which are in the chain farther from the computer will be slower.

  • whacko says:

    These look cool but just wouldn’t work safely.

    A USB Port can deliver a max of 5v, and a lot of devices try to pull this current when plugged in (for example a camera, or an iPod). Trying to draw too much current through a USB port will definitely cause them to fail, and when once fail in a PC or laptop they all fail. Worst case scenario your PC just won’t be able to reliably detect you device which would render these stackable plugs useless.

    Also these plugs wouldn’t be able to read or send data to multiple devices that are plugged into the stack (for example to copy data from one USB stick to another) unless each plug has USB-hub style circuitry built into it and at that point why bother? Why not use a regular USB hub which would be safer for both you devices and your PC.

    As a secondary issue, are these plugs intended as extension cables for USB devices? Are the cords like 3 ft long? because that could get pretty awkward pretty quick. Again a standard 4 port USB hub would be better in most situations. And they can make standard USB hubs both tiny and with their own power supplies, so you can charge multiple USB gadgets on the go and not have to deal with several lengths of USB cable tossing around in your bag.

  • Brad says:

    The first thing that must be considered is the devices and their power consumption as well as the power available on each port. This is the same problem that has faced traditional hub designs from the beginning.

    This would probably be fine with a string of low mA devices like mice, keyboards, drawing tablets and flash drives but there will be obvious limitations with hungry bus-powered devices like external HDD’s and portable optical drives. Again, this is more a limitation of the hub in the computer than anything else. This is why I still run Firewire (mainly 800 but 400 as well) for my critical projects (multi-track audio and HD video editing).

    This new design is appealing but we won’t be able to stylize with any actual technology behind it until computer manufacturers implement a more robust USB protocol.

  • Stressyado says:

    it may not safely in use… 🙁

  • Curiosity killed the cats says:

    Won’t you have to safely remove all of the devices connected if you want to disconnect the blue one in the first picture?

  • Anon says:

    Awesome idea – when can we purchase!

    Might I suggest alternative lengths?

  • Ipog says:

    I’m not sure if system will recognize/assign drive letter for each USB attached.

  • zno3 says:

    Cute usb, colorful and neat! But does it can provide enough power from one port?

  • Olo says:

    The larger rigid structure you attach to your computer/laptop USB port, the higher chance of serious mechanical damage to that port – either by the user accidentally hitting the stuff sticking out of the port, or purely by the combined weight of all the attached peripherals.

    This is a good idea, but the flexible part must extend from the computer’s side, not from the attached small device side! This way, the mechanical stress on the computer’s USB port will be significantly reduced.

  • Alan says:

    I have no idea why there is a need for such long discussion…

    You all are funny…. this concept has been out there in the market years ago !!!

    And i have been using it like months ???

    Jeez….

  • shenj says:

    I don’t like this concept. It is quite similar with the idea which also win the IF 3 years ago. http://www.ifdesign.de/beitragsdetails_d.html?offset=7&sprache=0&award_id=122&beitrag_id=30455

  • Eacker says:

    great idea. well done.

  • pt says:

    ..not new concept!…

  • dj says:

    innovative
    but practicality is limited.
    nice to look at though.

  • youwish says:

    oh whatever this is so cool i would want them i have like three things that usally i have to charge at one time and only use usbs

    • ClayBratt says:

      but if you divided up the 5v 100ma over three divices it would take forever to charge. Why not just get an ac to usb to charge your device?

  • steve says:

    not sure if i like this or not, it would definitely be nice for devices like printers which require little current and are unlikely to need to be removed.

    It’s a bit ridiculous how many people are just making up technical limitations here…if you don’t know what you’re talking about and nobody is forcing you to talk…why are you talking?

  • derpderp says:

    It would work to a certain extent if you were charging stuff because the power going through them would not be enough to charge lets say 1000 things. it may work, but somewhere down the line if you have enough of them, the power would dissipate and not charge the last one(s). therefore it is not infinite and also it is not infinite by the fact by how much data a usb port can transfer. But, this is a good concept, and like i said before, it would work with alot of things, but only up to a certain extent.

  • I'm curious about the other end of the cable, are we seeing a female plug, mini USB, square palug?
    If its a female plug then there is no issue with unpluging the middle device.
    I've read a lot fo people going on about structural difficulties and while i see the problem for laptops on my desktop which only has rear ports I'd use an extender cable on to the desk first, you know like i have to anyway.
    These could work sold as a set of 4 with an extender cable assuming that windows doesn't decide it hates them like it does my old hub.
    And to everyone whos on about unpluging devices. Cable has TWO (2) ends.

  • Vegaa says:

    Considering that the ports usb, on laptops are close .. would suggest a theme with dual usb connection. connectors expand vertically. but leave the possibility of additional connections. Something.. a like a USB hub, and keep the color identification.

  • What’s up, I check your blog like every week. Your story-telling style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

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