Saturday, April 10, 2010

Infinite USB Ports ?

Yes, that's right. A Chinese designer and inventor has made something that most of us would think, "why didn't someone think of this before!" Gonglue Jiang, the man behind this innovation has made this attractive little contraption that may be of great use to computer users.

These days, we see a lot of USB devices and for a person like me who uses too many devices at once (2 external drives, a pen drive, a USB mouse, laptop cooler and a USB mobile phone charger), such a thing could be a boon. At the moment, I use a 4 port USB hub on one of my USB ports on my laptop (out of the total three) and that's how I manage my USB devices. But most of the times this becomes messy and irritates me a lot. A good alternative could be such a device as shown in the picture which would allow me to add any number of USB devices I would want to use.
Typically, the no of devices that can be attached in this daisy chain kind of arrangement is limited to 127(+ the main port). But there's hardly any need for anyone to add more than 127 USB devices on a computer.
Every coin has two sides they say and such is in this case too. The innovative contraption comes with its own disadvantages too. Attaching too many devices on a single port will need a lot of power and it may lead to a deficient power supply to some of the devices at the end of the chain. To counter this problem, Jiang has come out with a solution, that is a USB ended AC power adaptor that will compliment in providing the required power (click on the image to see the original size).
But again, an additional power adaptor will hinder mobility. Also, plugging too many devices over a single port may turn out confusing for the user but Jiang seems to be optimistic about this innovation and believes that "the colourful design helps users organise their devices more easily, and makes a series of USB plugs more vivid".

On a more practical note, no person is mad enough to need 127 USB devices in one go, so the argument about too many devices making it look messy and drawing too much power is out of question. Yes, devices such as external hard disks can requires more power but a laptop or any such portable computer has more at least 2 or more ports so they can be assigned to a dedicated port and the other, less power consuming devices can be added to this contraption. And as I said, very few people would require even more than 5 USB devices to be used simultaneously!

One thing that people should note is that USB controller on the motherboard shares the bus among all the USB ports. So in case there are many devices attached on the ports + this contraption, then it will decrease the efficiency of all of these. For stuff like USB keyboard/mouse, mobile charger etc, this arrangement would be fine. But in case, in addition to all these, there are 2-3 external hard disks attached, then they will see a drop in their performance transfer speeds because of the above mentioned reason.

Overall, I believe this device is very useful and can serve as a suitable substitute for USB hubs. It would be especially nice when we do not require the many additional ports that the hubs have, instead we would just plug in the number we want.

Hero or just a fizzle, its yet to show. But that the device is truly eye catching and innovative has been proved from the world wide acclaim it has received. It also won the 'iF concept award 2010' for this innovative concept and is gaining in popularity slowly but steadily. It's now upto you to decide whether it is good for you or not. As for me, am waiting for its release into the market!

Check Gonglue Jiang's site.


ms_cs said...

hey optimystix

you are really a good writer..keep it up..

in btw,,what is your name??

optimystix said...

Thanks ms_cs . Am happy that you like my articles :)

My name is Rishabh Ghosh. You can read more about me on the ABOUT ME section on the top of the page (or the link below).

Madhav said...

nice blog bro !

godfather from CE

optimystix said...

thank you Madhav :)

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