​In A Perfect World, Every USB Plug Would Also Be A USB Port

Illustration for article titled ​In A Perfect World, Every USB Plug Would Also Be A USB Port

If those nesting USB plugs look familiar, you've been reading Gizmodo for a long time. Back in 2010, the stackable USB plug wasn't much more than a big-spoon/little-spoon concept, but now it's almost real—by which I mean it's on Kickstarter.

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The idea behind Infinite USB is simple: plug one USB cable into your computer, another into the back of that, another into the back of that and repeat until you run out of desk space, devices or cables. The Kickstarter claims you'll never run out of ports, but there's probably a limit to how any devices can be piggybacked across one port (electrical engineers, help me out). At least they're compatible with almost everything, too — cables will be sold with MicroUSB, Lightning and female USB connectors at the end. Neat.

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Infinite USB promises to ship out a cable to any backer that pledges $15 or more, although there are a few $10 cables left for "early bird" supporters. Oh, and if you're hoping to use the cable to solve to make up for the new Macbook's connectivity limitations, you'll have to wait: the creators say USB Type C won't be available until they make the next version. [Kickstarter]

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DISCUSSION

There are going to be a couple limits here:

- Physical leverage. Enough of those and it's gonna be heavy enough to pull down and break something at the point of leverage (the computer port). Or maybe the whole thing will sort of bend at the plugin points and avoid snapping. Still not great for the port. You'd need to put something underneath to support the middle.

- 127 device limit for USB (including the hubs - more on this below).

- Max 1000 mA power from a port, or 2000 mA if you're lucky. I think this would be the first limit you'd hit practically.

- He doesn't say how he does cascading logically, but if it's by treating each plug as a hub for the next then there's a limit of 7 deep, and each plug would count as two devices for that 127 device limit.

- If he's doing something clever to avoid an extra hub per plug, then the internal USB controllers have device limits you're going to hit fast, and those are also going to limit the number of things you can plug into the other ports that share the same controller.

- Also if he's doing the hub thing, each extra plug outwards is going to be slightly slower.