Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy.
In 1990, while installing a new printer on his wife’s computer (she wanted to print school materials for their child), the 33 years old Indian-American techie Ajay Bhatt, who had just started as a senior staff architect on the chipset architecture team of Intel, was confronted with a huge frustration: connecting new peripheral devices (such as printers, modems, joysticks, and scanners), was a time-consuming headache. If this situation was frustrating for Bhatt, who worked at the forefront of computer development at the chip giant, we could only imagine how difficult it was for average users.
In those ancient times, the poor computer users had to negotiate a maze of competing plug designs on the back of their computers, install new drivers and often open up the machine to add a new computer card. This was followed by a tedious process of trial and error, which required repeated rebooting of the computer system and fine-tuning until everything worked properly.
Fortunately, Bhatt saw an opportunity to simplify the process greatly. He looked to the wall sockets for inspiration, seeking to imitate their simplicity.
Getting there was anything but easy. Simplifying the digital Babylon that preceded USB involved convincing nearly every computer and gadget maker in the world to get on board with a single type of cable, creating a sort of universal language that lets all computer hardware connect.
Intel produced the first integrated circuits supporting USB in 1995. The original USB 1.0 specification, which was introduced in January 1996 (USB standard evolved through several versions before its official release starting with USB 0.8, released in December 1994), defined data transfer rates of 1.5 Mbit/s (Low Speed) and 12 Mbit/s (Full Speed). Then in 2001 USB 2.0 defined 480 Mbit/s, in 2008 USB 3.0 defined 5 Gbit/s, and in 2019 USB 4.0 defined 40 Gbit/s. Concerning USB connectors, only Type C connector is recommended at the moment, all other types are in deprecated status.
Today, the least tech-savvy consumer can attach printers, scanners, cameras, and other peripheral devices to PCs easily, simply by plugging them into the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports found on every platform.