USB inventor Ajay Bhatt says plugging in connector is his 'biggest annoyance'

The inventor of the standard USB admitted it can be a challenge to plug in USB devices in right on the first try — but said he still stands by his design despite the constant stream of complaints.

Ajay Bhatt, who led the Intel team that created the Universal Serial Bus, told NPR the design of USB ports used to plug in devices such as keyboards, mice, printers and thumb drives is a bit annoying. Frustrated users have created several memes over the years mocking USB devices.

"The biggest annoyance is reversibility," Bhatt told NPR on Friday.

The USB has become an industry standard, but people still complain about the annoying feature that makes it difficult to plug into the port. (iStock)

Although Bhatt admitted to USB's annoying aspect, he still stands by his invention. He went on to explain that the standard USB port was created without the reversible feature because it would have required twice the amount of wires and circuits — and double the money — to create it. The Intel team also could’ve opted for circular design, but instead went with a rectangular connector to give users a 50-50 chance to plug devices in correctly.

"In hindsight, based on all the experiences that we all had, of course, it was not as easy as it should be," Bhatt said.

He noted that it took some time to convince all computer companies to implement the USB model, ultimately making it an industry standard. He said one factor that won over firms was USB’s low cost.

Although Batt and his team invented the USB, he didn’t receive any money from the design because Intel owns the patent — a factor that doesn’t bother him.


"We were not worried about notoriety," Bhatt said. "In the end, it's a team sport — my feeling is that if everyone adopts your idea, then you've succeeded. Notoriety should be given to the technology."