In 1996, Intel released USB (Universal Serial Bus) 1.0 and we have been annoyed ever since. National Public Radio spoke with engineer Ajay Bhatt who led the team that unleashed the perpetually frustrating non-reversible plug on the world. From NPR:
"The biggest annoyance is reversibility," Bhatt told NPR. Nonetheless, he stands by his design.
Turns out there's a very specific reason for the USB's lack of reversibility.
A USB that could plug in correctly both ways would have required double the wires and circuits, which would have then doubled the cost.
The Intel team led by Bhatt anticipated the user frustration and opted for a rectangular design and a 50-50 chance to plug it in correctly, versus a round connector with less room for error…
"In hindsight, based on all the experiences that we all had, of course it was not as easy as it should be," Bhatt said.