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Matching Connector Features and Overmold Shape for Improved Usabiltiy

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016632D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jul-07
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jul-07
Document File: 2 page(s) / 150K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Users continue to have problems connecting cables quickly and easily. Connectors are often color coded and labeled with an icon, but these offer little help in low light environments (under desks when attaching devices to a computer, in darkened presentation room when using a projector, etc.). A significant source of confusion is that connectors are often asymmetrical, allowing only one correct orientation when connected, but the connector overmold (housing) that the user holds has no cues to help the user determine the connector's orientation. The asymmetry of the connector could be the shape of the connector itself or the arrangement of individual connector pins.

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Matching Connector Features and Overmold Shape for Improved Usabiltiy

         The invention is a redesign of the connector overmold (or other feature of the connector housing) so that it offers cues regarding the asymmetrical shape of the connector. These cues allow users to determine the connector's proper orientation for alignment with the port on the computer or other device. Examples of applicable connectors includes VGA, Parallel, Serial, or other connectors.

      Users are provided with orientation cues via physical features of the connector housing that match the asymmetry of the connector. These cues could consist of asymmetrical connector overmolds (see Illustration 1), asymmetrical bumps or ridges (see Illustration 2), or asymmetrical cable overmolds (see Illustration 3).

      Illustration 1: VGA connector with the existing, mismatched connector overmold (left) and redesigned, matching overmold (right)

      Illustration 2: DVI connector with the existing overmold (left) and redesigned overmold that provides cues regarding the asymmetric connector (right)

Illustration 3: Video connector with the existing cable overmold (left) and redesigned cable

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overmold that matches the asymmetry of the connector (right)

Disclosed by International Business Machines Corporation

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