I’ve made a Cursed USB-C 2.0 system. It behaves in a different way 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 2.0 system.” It is an correct title. For years, we put up with normal USB plugs that may solely be slotted in in a single course. 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 system.
I can not 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 2.0 system is definitely a captivating little object. It exists just because de Groot was curious if it was potential. The important thing to the system 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 build. “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 among them will get a connection and turns their LED inexperienced, the opposite does not and stays purple.”
It is a humorous single-purpose system, elegantly robbing USB-C of its biggest power. In de Groot’s palms, USB-C is like a mouse with just one button. Or a rest room paper holder that solely rolls below, not over. The cursed board is not really doing something nefarious—it is simply lighting up a special LED to cheekily present that it may possibly inform which approach your cable is plugged in—however simply think about the potential for evil right here.
Usually, if you plug a USB-C cable right into a USB 3.0 port, the USB controller is definitely performing some fast processing to find out the orientation after which operate correctly. However de Groot casually advised that it might be potential to put in writing a USB driver that messes with that course of, and as a substitute of working the primary time you plug it in… or if you flip it over… it solely connects the third time, if you return to the unique orientation.
USB-C 3.0 and up handles this by detecting the orientation within the controller and configuring some switches. It could be potential to make a customized driver or firmware to allow this.March 21, 2021
This might apply the cosmic regulation of USB-A to USB-C, simply once we thought we might escaped it. To this point 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 does not appear to be behaving because it ought to:
“In case you encounter issues along with your USB-C units you would possibly wish to attempt to flip the connector,” de Groot says. “As a result of whereas they instructed us the orientation of the plug does not matter, it clearly does in some instances.”