We announced a hardware solution that will allow users of portable devices — digital cameras, digital clocks, watches, remote controls, toys, you name it — to insert their batteries in any direction. Compatible with AA and AAA cells, among others, the patented "InstaLoad" technology does not require special electronics or circuitry.
Microsoft’s "InstaLoad" technology, which the company says it has patented and will license to device manufacturers, seems poised to end an everyday source of frustration. Inserting batteries with the proper polarity ought to be simple, but is often made difficult by adverse field conditions, bad lighting, unclear diagrams, impatience, or plain old presbyopia.
According to Microsoft, InstaLoad requires no electronic circuitry that could add cost to a device or drain battery power. Rather, it involves fitting devices with battery compartments that have positive and negative contacts at both ends, instead of a single positive contact at one end and a negative contact at the other.
A central contact at either end of the battery compartment will support positive connections, while wider outer contacts support negative connections (see below). Once this physical design is combined with appropriate PCB traces, proper power polarity is automatically delivered to a device, the company claims.
For more information, refer to details at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/licensing/instaloadoverview.mspx