The Universal Serial Bus, best known as USB, is going to be 20 years old on next January. It seems it has been yesterday when we started to use this technology as a way to share data from different devices easier than ever. But, how this technology was born? What are their precedents? Let’s learn a bit more about this great of the late 20th century.
Previous technologies before USB
One of the great problems of people since ancient times has been the need to store their data and also sharing it with others. Even the possibility to modify texts, images, audio or video in an easy way wasn’t real till the digital era. Nowadays USB is the main standard everybody uses, but there were (and still there are some of them) other ways of recording and storing data before USB. Here is a sample of some of them:
Storage supports on paper
Punchcards and perforated tapes were the first memory supports for computing. This cards where invented on the 18th century, but not implemented for computing since the 20th century, in the decade of the 50-60. They consisted on cards or tapes with holes in their surface according to a binary code.
Magnetic storage supports
Magnetic tapes, hard drives and magnetic disks were also very popular until the beginning of the 2000s.
Optical storage supports
Optical disks were invented on the late 50’s decade. Since then, these devices based on digital technology have become so popular till nowadays. CD, DVD and Blu-Ray are still used to record audio, images and video on them thanks to its large storage space.
Solid state unities
These ones are based on memories that are not volatile, such as flash memories. This unities are present on modern hard drives or USB drives.
The arrival of USB technology
This is a new technology invented on 1996 by Ajay Bhatt, employee of Intel. This was born because some of the most important computing enterprises were looking for a standard that would connect different devices to computers and also share data and electric power.
The first generation of USB drives was the USB 1.0. Those models covered a range of capacities between 8 MB and a maximum of 256 MB. The price and the facilities made this new drives so popular, but the problem was the speed of data transfer.
That speed problem was resolved by the following generations USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 (2008), so now data transfer speed is 5 GB. Also, USB 3.0 allows devices to store an amount of data up to 256 GB for pendrives, which means really a lot.
Talking about USB 4.0 (also called USB-C), it offers new possibilities apart from storing or power sharing. These new devices are smaller and also reversible, so it doesn’t matter how ports are connected, they will run anyway without any problem (and this is a simple but a very useful feauture for users). Furthermore, their capacity to transfer energy watts has been increased.
USB pen drives and USB flash memories have become very popular because people can carry them and also their running is so simple and efficient. Moreover, USB has become one of the best ways to give power to some electronic elements by connecting them to other devices. What is so interesting now is to develop new uses and possibilities for the future. So, what do you think is the next step for USB after 20 years existing?