It has many names; ‘pocket drive’, ‘memory stick’, ‘jump drive’ and a myriad of other names created by avid computer users. For the purpose of keeping things simple, we’ll refer to it as a flash drive. USB is short for Universal Serial Bus, and since its creation, many people have been utilizing the USB’s ‘technological’ perks.
So, where did the USB flash drive come from, how was it created and how does it work? These are questions often asked, but rarely answered. As consumers, we want to be more informed about the products we use. We know that a USB makes a great promotional product! We can customize a USB to fit all of our marketing needs.
But where did it come from?
Like most ingenious ideas, the inventor of the USB is in debate. Some records indicate that the USB was invented by one man in 1998 and other records state the USB idea was created as early as the 1980s. Regardless of who gets the credit, in 1994 the most noted conceptualizer of the USB were seven different companies that needed to find a convenient way to connectexternal devices to their computers. Needless to say, these were very smart engineers, from very well-known companies (Compaq, IBM, and Microsoft, to name a few) that were focused on consistently finding ways to make technology easier! In 1995, the vision of the USB was brought to fruition when the first silicon model was created. We won’t get into the details about data transfer rates, megabytes, gigabytes and low vs. high speed. Just know, that with any good invention is must be perfected over time and eventually the USB was able to do much more compared to the first design in 1995.
The USB flash drive is just a juvenile, the first commercially sold flash drive was in 2000. As much as we use these handy devices, it’s amazing to realize that they have only been around for a little over a decade!
The first flash drive started out at 128 megabytes (MB) and was priced around $30 each. Today, they are generally bought and sold in the gigabytes (GB) and go as low as $10 each. To give you some perspective on size, one GB = 1024 MB!
We now have a general understanding on how it was created but how does a USB flash drive work?
How it works can get complex, so let’s look at this from very simple terms. One end of the flash drive has a standard-A USB plug that fits into your computer (the other end is where you customize and make it fun!). Inside the casing is a circuit board which is comprised of small surface mounted integrated circuits or ICs that transfer information from one device to another. I know, it sounds complicated. Essentially the USB flash drive acts as a small external hard drive that operates, using your computer as a power source, to store various amounts of data that can be moved from place to place.
Don’t you feel enlightened for having this information? Now when you use or give out a USB flash drive you can have a cool back-story!