Good Thinking

Infinite USB proposes an elegant alternative to hubs

Infinite USB proposes an elegant alternative to hubs
Jiang Gonglue's Infinite USB concept design
Jiang Gonglue's Infinite USB concept design
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Jiang Gonglue's Infinite USB concept design
Jiang Gonglue's Infinite USB concept design

For anyone who has ever lamented those clunky USB hubs, there might be a far more elegant solution around the corner. Thanks to clever design student Jiang Gonglue, we might not be too far off from seeing something like this 'Infinite USB' connector, which allows an unlimited* number of devices to plug into one USB port.

The connectors would wisely be color-coded, allowing you to distinguish between your devices. In addition, to combat the inevitable power issues that come with attaching multiple devices to a computer Jiang has also theorized an external power adaptor that would also feature the unique 'infinite USB' head.

Of course this is just a concept for now, but I look forward to the day when I don't have to unplug one device to make room for another.

The designer says that his idea comes from always having his mouse plugged into the same USB port all the time. He thought that it would be convenient if his mouse could provide a port while at the same time occupying one. And if a mouse could do this, why not any USB device?

*Geeky disclaimer in my best nerd voice: Technically, daisy chaining only allows 127 devices to be connected to one USB port. So Mr. Jiang might reconsider renaming it, because 'infinite' is not really accurate. But thoroughly impressive nonetheless!

Jiang Gonglue via Engadget.

Alan Braggins
Technically, chaining passive hubs only allows one of those devices to work if they follow the USB spec:
Stan Sieler
Hmm...what\'s old is new ... has he perhaps seen HP-IB cables?
See the bottom photo at
NeXTstep also had a bunch of workstations that worked in the same fashion as HP\'s cables, albeit with far more complexity. it\'s a brilliant solution, even if not a new concept -- power cables that do exactly the same have been around for decades too.

it\'s a wonder there was no provision for pass-through USB cables in the USB 1.1 standard. for that matter it\'s a great shame they didn\'t test it more thoroughly and realise that, thanks to the bevelled corners, the device end (USB-B) works far better and is far more reliable than the computer end (USB-A), which is now infinitely more widely used thanks to the popularity of the thumb drive and other portable devices.

I hope this concept takes off soon -- it\'s great to see someone with a whole brain putting some sensible ideas out there. the colour coding is great, (although I can see that like every other cable in our homes/offices, you will end up with a hundred beige/opaque cables with same coloured end on all of them -- alternatively, the cables might be sold in multi-packs with a dozen or more different colours to avoid that scenario). the single-handedness of the connector helps alleviate much of the pain of trying to plug a USB-A connector in blindly at the back of a PC/TV/STB for example.

I welcome the day when we have USB for nearly every device in our homes, a future USB standard with higher amperage would allow lamps, clocks, screens, modems, laptops, basically anything that uses a 9V plugpack, to fit a USB wall socket in any part of the building, a ribbon of connectors integrated into your skirtings would eliminate nearly every power point in a building.