I’ve made a Cursed USB-C 2.zero gadget. It behaves otherwise primarily based on the orientation of the plug. pic.twitter.com/8Ko66wPuV2March 21, 2021
Mechanical engineer Pim de Groot has constructed a profane object. Or, as he calls it, a “Cursed USB 2.zero gadget.” It is an correct title. For years, we put up with normal USB plugs that may solely be slotted in in a single route. As a consequence of some cosmic regulation, these USB-A cables at all times appear to require three makes an attempt to plug in correctly. USB-C was meant to be our salvation: a smaller, symmetrical plug that may deal with information and video and work with principally any gadget.
I am unable to consider something extra cursed than tainting USB-C with a board that betrays that symmetrical design. Pim de Groot is a mad genius.
The Cursed USB-C 2.zero gadget is definitely an enchanting little object. It exists just because de Groot was curious if it was doable. The important thing to the gadget is that whereas USB-C cables have a symmetrical form, the electronics contained in the cable aren’t precisely symmetrical themselves. “The plug solely incorporates one pair of D+ and D- contacts,” de Groot explains in a tweet thread about his construct. “The way in which this board works is that it has two SAMD11C microcontrollers, every related to at least one pair of D+/D- contacts. One in all them will get a connection and turns their LED inexperienced, the opposite would not and stays pink.”
It is a humorous single-purpose gadget, elegantly robbing USB-C of its best energy. In de Groot’s arms, USB-C is like a mouse with just one button. Or a bathroom paper holder that solely rolls below, not over. The cursed board is not really doing something nefarious—it is simply lighting up a unique LED to cheekily present that it may possibly inform which means your cable is plugged in—however simply think about the potential for evil right here.
Usually, while you plug a USB-C cable right into a USB 3.zero port, the USB controller is definitely performing some fast processing to find out the orientation after which perform correctly. However de Groot casually recommended that it could be doable to jot down a USB driver that messes with that course of, and as an alternative of working the primary time you plug it in… or while you flip it over… it solely connects the third time, while you return to the unique orientation.
USB-C 3.zero and up handles this by detecting the orientation within the controller and configuring some switches. It is perhaps doable to make a customized driver or firmware to allow this.March 21, 2021
This is able to apply the cosmic regulation of USB-A to USB-C, simply after we thought we might escaped it. Up to now de Groot has solely used his energy for chaos. Let’s hope he by no means makes use of it for true evil. However within the meantime, some phrases of knowledge simply in case your USB-C cable would not appear to be behaving because it ought to:
“If you happen to encounter issues along with your USB-C gadgets you would possibly need to attempt to flip the connector,” de Groot says. “As a result of whereas they advised us the orientation of the plug would not matter, it clearly does in some circumstances.”