USB Turns 20

USB Turns 20

Twenty years ago seven technology companies came together to simplify and unify the connectors found on personal computers. They wanted to create a new connector type that was simple, fast, and most of all, universal. In January 1996, the first official iteration of the Universal Serial Bus, USB 1.0, was born.

USB has come a long way in the last 20 years. From speeds of 1.5 and 12 Mbps at its creation in 1996 to the blazing fast 5 and 10 Gbps of USB 3.0 and 3.1 today, USB is and has been the data transfer method of choice for most computer peripherals.

Speed increase has not been the only change to USB over the years. We have also seen an evolution in connector types, such as USB mini and USB micro, and with the advent of USB 3.1, we now have USB Type-C connectors. With the goal of future-proofing the standard, Type-C cables were introduced to connect to hosts and devices alike with the same connector type. In addition, the connectors are not keyed, so there is no right or wrong way to plug them in. It was also recently announced that USB 3 Type-C connectors will be supported via Thunderbolt 3 ports. The coming together of these standards will see cable prices drop and better interoperability of peripherals.

Lumenera has been a pioneer of high quality and reliable USB cameras for the past 14 years and is at the forefront of USB 3 technology with its Lt Camera line. Cameras with high resolution and high framerates are ideal candidates to make use of the 5 Gbps bandwidth offered by USB 3, which is five times that of Gigabit Ethernet. Coupled with the fact that most new computers are equipped with USB 3 and that Lumenera camera drivers are easy to use and incredibly robust, users can be up and running a new USB 3 camera minutes after opening the box and installing the included software. Once the camera is up and running, it is able to harness a reliable and stable peak throughput of 378 MB/s.

USB technology is alive and ever evolving from its original design that we have come to know and love over the last 20 years. It is a well-engineered framework that has seen global adoption due to its robustness and ease of use. USB remains a part of our everyday lives and will be for years to come. It will be very exciting to see what USB will offer in the next 20 years and beyond.