The InstaLoad technology will be licensed on a royalty-free basis, Microsoft said. Duracell was named as a partner for the technology, as well as several manaufacturers of electronic devices, including ClearSound's hearing aids, NovaTac's LED flashlights, and Black Diamond's headlamps for mountaineering.
Put simply, an InstaLoad-compliant device allows the user to replace the battery in any direction, without the need to line up the "+" or positive terminals in a given direction. Multiple batteries can also be inserted in any direction. An InstaLoad terminal contains both a positive and negative terminal, and works with CR123, AA, AAA, C or D batteries, either the disposable versions or rechargeables.
The battery technology does not require any special circuitry. "At one end of the battery, the battery interfaces with either the positive contacts (light gray) or the negative contacts (black). The battery interfaces with the opposite contact at its other end. When coupled with PCB traces, proper power polarity is automatically delivered to the device," Microsoft said.
Microsoft has filed for a patent on the invention, and touted InstaLoad as a technology that could be convenient, as well as useful in situations where a user may not have the time to examine a battery diagram, such as in law enforcement.
"Microsoft is pleased to offer a royalty-free license program to suppliers and manufacturers for this class of accessibility devices," said Rusty Jeffress, corporate vice president, Specialized Devices & Applications, Microsoft, in a statement. "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."