Microsoft debuts bipolar battery technology, Duracell endorses

The age old problem of putting batteries into electronics the wrong way is about to end if Microsoft has its way. The Redmond company on Thursday introduced InstaLoad, a technology aimed at making electronics work whichever way the battery is inserted.

Battery-maker Duracell has already endorsed the system, although the technology would not affect the way a battery is made -- more how the electronics are manufactured. It would work with CR123, AA, AAA, C, and D batteries, the company says.

While the technology may sound at first like something not too useful, the benefits are in less-than-ideal situations where battery changes aren't easy -- say in dark or inclement conditions, or where speed is necessary. One could say Microsoft's latest invention is one out of convenience more than anything.

"Battery installation is typically not a high driver of product tech support calls by itself, but it can be a factor for a bad customer experience and unspoken frustration with a product - leading to reduced customer loyalty," the company argues in promotional documents for the technology.

Microsoft will make InstaLoad available for licensing immediately, which would be royalty-free when used in accessibility devices such as those used for persons with disabilities. It says the technology is aimed at those devices which may require frequent battery changes.

As part of the licensing agreement, Microsoft is asking manufacturers to place the InstaLoad logo on devices which are compatible. It would also make available demonstration kits at no charge to developers interested in developing devices with the technology built-in.

InstaLoad's technologies would become part of Redmond's intellectual property licensing program, an offering it set up in 2005 to allow easier access to its vast patent portfolio for inventors and entrepreneurs.

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