Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sleeker solutions

Some of the greatest achievements in technology are taken for granted and overlooked. I look around every now and then I marvel at how small and thin things are getting these days. Question in point the USB power adapter. Some time back I picked up a USB power adapter that I could use for my iPhone. This is not the official sleek adapter that comes with the iPhone but a local adapter which could be used in local power sockets (because I picked up my iPhone in Hong Kong and it comes with a flat pin adapter). Recently I bought a Kindle which came with its own power adapter. Comparison of the three USB power adapters shows how things have definitely progressed over the years. Things are getting smaller, slimmer and much sleeker. Kudos to a product developer somewhere out there. Another unsung hero.

This made me start to think. It must be years since the plug was invented. Yet the world over we still seem to have so many different types of plugs. True we now have universal power adapters (ideal for globe trotters) that bridges the gap. Did you know that the patent for the first grounded plug goes way back to 1915, and was filed by George P Knapp. Today there are around 11 different types of plugs in existence. One would think that after having become so technologically advanced we couldn’t have settled on one standard for the basic plug by now. Another interesting fact I chanced upon was that when electricity was new people used to connect appliances to light bulb sockets because the electricity charged for light sockets was cheaper!

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