You’ve no doubt connected your digital camera to your computer to download photos or have inserted a little black thumb drive to store or retrieve files. But rejoice – the USB port can be used for so much more, thanks to its ability to suck electricity through your computer, powering some of the world’s strangest devices. Following are ten of the cutest, silliest and most useless examples we could find. As a fun game at home, try playing along by suggesting your own examples: You’ll be amazed at mankind’s capacity for ridiculousness. Oh, how we cry for the poor children…
Brando USB Fridge, $32
Apparently, the mini-bar isn’t the only place to find a cold drink when you’re on the road. Just tote the USB Fridge along with you (after all, it’s only 9.5 x 9 x 8cm), plug it into your computer while you’re working, and pop in a beverage. It takes only five minutes to cool down to 47 degrees Farenheit. Better yet, whatever your choice of tasty liquid, you’ll get more screen time without having to get up for ice.
Fred Flare Star Wars MiMobot USB Flash Drive, $50
Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, you’ll still find these little flash drives as charming as can be. Pick your favorite obscure character from C-3PO to Darth Sidious, Royal Guard to Wicket the Ewok: Each comes loaded plenty of extra goodies, like wallpapers, icons, avatars, and sound bytes, if not a place to hide your dignity.
Fred Flare Mix Tape USB Flash Drive, $18
Back in the Dark Ages (you know: the ‘80s and ‘90s), making a mixtape for a friend or crush was as much painstaking labor as act of love. After all, once you recorded a playlist, there was no going back (that is, unless you put Scotch tape over the little holes on the top). Recapture some of that nostalgia with the USB Mix Tape from Fred Flare. It holds 512 MB and makes a much cooler statement than a boring old silver CD of pop hits ripped straight from your iTunes library. Cure, Depeche Mode, and OMD singles, here we come…
Fred Flare Mix Tape USB Flash Drive
DreamCheeky USB Greenhouse, $20
Forget hydroponics: For just under $20, you can enjoy your own computer-side garden, and all you have to do is plug in the USB Greenhouse to your computer’s USB port. There’s an adjustable growth light, and a computer interface monitors plant development. Marigold seeds are even included to get you started on your road to horticultural success.
Brando USB Volcano Aquarium, $20
While the words volcano and aquarium may seem like an oxymoron, Brando has you covered if you are looking for silly USB gadgets to place atop your desk. This one is definitely a conversation piece. Plug it in, and you can watch red-hot magma erupt from the little mini volcano. OK, so maybe it isn’t actually that blazing, but it looks pretty darn fancy sitting next to your laptop.
Brando USB Volcano Aquarium
Warmmi USB Heated Slippers, $20
That’s right: These are slippers that connect to your computer to keep your feet warm whilst you work or check your Facebook account. Comfortable and fuzzy, the footwear heats up quickly, turning your icy little piggies into warm mini hot dogs. It’s an especially great option for those offices where the shared thermostat is in another room.
Dream Cheeky USB Roll-Up Piano, $45
Need a little break from the tedium of your desk job? Look no further than this USB Roll-Up Piano. You can play any tune you like, or make up your own and even record them to your computer for easy storage. There are also 6 tones and 100 prerecorded rhythms if you need a little accompaniment. Roll over Beethoven.
Dream Cheeky USB Roll-Up Piano
Brandy USB Moody Light Hub, $12
An office romance can be a bit distressing for a girl faced with harsh overhead fluorescent lights. Thankfully, this 4-port USB hub has seven colors and changes automatically. Consider it perfect for a little desk-side ambience—and a cheap thrill at only $12 to boot.
USB Hubman, $28
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Hubman—here to solve all your connectivity woes. Turn one USB outlet into four with this little guy, and connect all your peripherals with style while doing so.
Ion U-Record USB Music Converter, $70
Last, but certainly not least is this handy device that lets you connect any music source—a turntable, tape deck, etc—to your computer and digitize your music. It’s ideal for getting those old vinyl LPs onto your computer once and for all.
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