Stacked in Your Favor: USB Concept = Gadget Freedom

Using a notebook as your primary computer is convenient in a lot of ways, but it can also be kind of a pain when it comes to attaching all of your USB gadgets. Limited USB ports mean that you’re constantly unplugging one thing to plug in another. This award-winning concept from Yi Fan Lin and Hong Yih Chu could make your life just a little easier by eliminating the need to choose between all of your important USB devices.

The Tandem USB Connector lets you stack several USB cords in one port, making it easier to power those must-have gadgets without making the tough choices about which ones are most important. It also eliminates the need for a USB hub, which just adds to the bulk on your desk.

The design takes into account the problem of the cord, putting it off to the side so that it stays out of the way of the next cord in the stack. The series of connectors stays somewhat streamlined in this way, avoiding the bulkiness you might expect.

Unfortunately, there are still problems with the design. A USB port can only put out so much power, so letting users stack cords indefinitely is just asking for trouble. And if one device in the middle of the stack needs to be unplugged, you’ll have to safely disconnect every device that comes after it in the stack.

The design still has plenty of positive aspects, as evidenced by the fact that it won an iF Concept Design Award in 2010. Whether it actually catches on and goes into production is still up in the air, but everyone who’s ever fiddled with the limited USB ports on a notebook computer can see the promise of this unique design.

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See more in Computers or under Gadgets. August, 2010.
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