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The 2019 Microsoft Patent USB-C mechanism
What is Patent? …
A patent is a form of intellectual property. A patent gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, and importing an invention for a limited period of time, usually twenty years. The patent rights are granted in exchange for an enabling public disclosure of the invention.
Originally filed on May 23, 2018, the patent for a “Magnetically activated latch mechanism” describes a method for having magnets positioned adjacent to both ends of a USB-C port.
Similar to Apple’s Mag Safe technology, Microsoft envisions a plug tip with one or more magnets on the left or right sides of a given device to cooperate with a “latching feature to switch between an engaged state and a disengaged state.”
That means that a special magnetic USB C cable can be held in place securely, without damage to the device if a consumer happens to trip on the cable and force it out.
Furthermore, the patent also suggests that standard USB C cables will also work with the mechanism. In its details, the patent shows several images of spring mechanisms and mentions a minimum distance of 4.0 mm for the magnets to kick in and pull the cable toward a device, instead of having the consumer force it in.
The Microsoft patent Implementation
“In some implementations, the distance between the two parts before the parts are drawn together may have an upper value or upper and lower values including 4.0mm …
When a standard plug or receptacle is use(d) with one or more implementations of a receptacle of the present disclosure, the magnets on the receptacle side may not provide any input, and the “friction experience” is felt by the user,” explains the patent.
Of course, a similar type of magnetic connection system is already present onboard Microsoft’s Surface Connect port, but that is a proprietary technology.
Bringing it over to USB C not only would make future Surface devices more powerful with faster connection speeds but it also easier for consumers to charge up and transfer data on the go.
This hasn’t been the first patent from Microsoft in recent months. Previous patents have suggested a redesigned Type Cover for a slimmer and lighter Surface device, as well as a reflective touch display.
Of course, these type of patents don’t always end up in final products, but they offer some insight into Microsoft’s future plans and direction.