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Like the "smart power outlets" this would be an outlet /
design that could support a variety of voltages / currents.
instead of doing this by electronic singalling between the
device and power supply, the plug and outlet would
accomplish the same thing through the physical design.
would work like this: Both the plug and outlet would have
"contact array" not unlike the kind you see in computer
interfaces such as USB, firewire, or a hotsync cradle for a
palm pilot. It
would have to be something that can take a lot of wear and
tear, without pins that can get bent. There could be 6
contacts for voltage (3v, 4.5v,
6v, 9v, 12v, 24v) and six more for current (250ma, 500ma, 1a,
2a, 5a, 10a). There could also be contacts added for AC/DC
polarity. Plugs would simply have to have contacts in the
correct "positions" to receive the current they need.
You could take the same design to make an "everything"
that could include power, data, telephony, cable, etc...
||Yeah maybe something as simple as a "key" type plug,
which has "notches" that represent the "requested"
values in voltage, current, etc... and the outlet provives
the current based on the "request"
||Might also make it a little safer, make it harder for people to poke stuff into the slots and get the 'burnt toast' effect. Leave one of the low power ones easily touched to give a warning zap, but hide the lethal ones.
||Where would this be converted, though? For all those voltages and amps, you'd have to have lots of transformers somewhere, and would that be more efficient than a couple of wall warts?