Patent number 8556659 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The number of types of electronic devices that are commercially available has increased tremendously the past few years, and the rate of introduction of these devices shows no signs of abating. Devices, such as tablet, laptop, netbook, desktop, and all-in-one computers; cell, smart, and media phones; storage devices, portable media players, navigation systems, monitors, and others, have become ubiquitous.
"Often, these electronic devices communicate with other electronic devices. As just one example, a desktop computer may need to communicate with a monitor or display device. Such communications may take place over a cable. The cable may have plug connector on each end, where the plug connectors mate with receptacle connectors on the desktop and the monitor.
"Currently, some electronic devices may include many connector receptacles. For example, a laptop computer may have connectors for Universal Serial Bus (USB), a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), Digital Visual Interface (DVI), DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, FireWire, power, Ethernet, stereo audio and other types of interfaces.
"Such diversity is not without its downside. The inclusion of so many connectors consumes space inside the electronic device, as well as the surface area of its outer case. This means that smaller devices may only be able to include a limited number of connectors. Also, different communication interfaces typically employ different connectors that cannot be mated with each other. For example, a plug connector for a USB interface cannot be mated with a receptacle connector for a FireWire interface. Furthermore, each set of corresponding connectors (male and female connectors of a particular interface that are designed to be mated with each other) can typically only be connected in one particular orientation. Attempts to mate corresponding connectors with each other in the wrong orientation will fail just as attempts to mate incompatible connectors with each other will fail. Customer confusion may result as users try to determine which receptacle connector on the computer or other electronic device a plug connector for a particular cable or accessory must be mated with as well as which orientation matching connectors much be connected together in."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Various embodiments of the invention pertain to receptacle connectors that improve upon some or all of the above described deficiencies. Embodiments of the invention are not limited to receptacle connectors on computing devices and may be used for numerous other electronic devices. Some embodiments, however, are particularly well suited for computing devices. In view of the shortcomings in currently available receptacle connectors, some embodiments of the present invention relate to circuits, methods, and apparatuses for providing a scalable receptacle connector that may concurrently interface with one or more of a multiplicity of different plug connectors.
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