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7/1/2010
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Microsoft Invents Bipolar Battery System

New InstaLoad technology lets users insert batteries into their gadgets any which way they please.

Microsoft has introduced a new battery technology that could be a boon to those easily flustered by the process of trying to correctly insert power cells into electronic devices such as digital cameras, tape recorders, and television remotes.

The company's new InstaLoad technology "allows users to easily install a battery without regard to positive and negativity polarity," the company said in a statement Thursday.

"Never again will people have to squint to see battery diagrams—the device simply works regardless if the battery is installed positive-side-up or positive-side-down," said Microsoft, which has obtained a patent on the technology.

Microsoft said the key to InstaLoad is specially designed battery contacts that are essentially agnostic when it comes to connecting with either the positive or negative end of a battery. It's planning to license the technology to third-party gadget makers and said InstaLoad can easily be swapped in for conventional battery contacts.

Microsoft said the technology is compatible with CR123, AA, AAA, C, and D batteries. The company added that battery manufacturer Duracell has already endorsed the system.

Microsoft said InstaLoad could be particularly useful for environments where it's inherently difficult to handle gadgets, such as a dimly lit restaurant, or where time is critical, such as in a military or law enforcement situation.

It could also be convenient for the elderly, or for those with physical or cognitive impairments. Microsoft said it plans to offer the technology on a royalty-free basis to manufacturers of devices designed to meet the needs of such individuals.

"We believe the InstaLoad feature can make a difference in the lives of those people who need and use these products on a daily basis," said Rusty Jeffress, Microsoft's corporate VP for Specialized Devices & Applications.

Microsoft shares were up .80%, to $23.19, in mid-afternoon trading Thursday.

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