The top 15 wackiest USB devices

A collection of fully functional flash drives that look a little kooky -- and, in one case, downright scary

Office space

Want proof of your awe-inspiring productivity? The USB Hamster Wheel provides a dramatic demonstration. The faster you type, the faster the toy rodent runs, and the faster the wheel spins. Of course, a person could take the metaphor of a hamster running but never getting anywhere in a negative way, so this might not make the best gift.

If you'd rather find new and creative ways to slack off, consider this USB update to an old favorite. When your boss walks by, hit the StealthSwitch to instantly hide that Sudoku Web site and display an important-looking spreadsheet. You can customize the software to switch to any application you want.

Do you regularly have to dodge paperclips and rubber bands launched by your cubicle neighbors? Escalate your inter-desk warfare with this USB Laser-Guided Missile Launcher , which tilts and pivots remotely via the included software. A laser sight helps to ensure accuracy for strategic attacks, or you can connect as many launchers as you have USB ports for some serious shock and awe. (Ambitious coders can also create their own missile-launching applications with the freely downloadable API.)

No matter how much you love your PC, at some point you may want to clobber it into a thousand tiny pieces. Save yourself the expense (and the cleanup) by investing in the ScreenSmasher , a foam axe that comes with a USB sensor. Whack the screen, and your Windows desktop will display an image of shattered glass, along with a crash sound effect. Therapy never came so cheap.

Practical peripherals

It's deadline-crunch time at the office and you've been living in your cubicle for three days, finding creative ways to make five-course meals from the vending machine offerings. At least you can look sharp: Keep this rechargeable shaver plugged into your USB port while you're sleeping under your desk, and you can zap that five o'clock shadow before the boss rolls in.

When you get into the gaming/coding/on-the-job-YouTubing zone, it's easy to forget about your nice cold drink. Stop forcing yourself to drink tepid Red Bull, and keep your beverages at the right temperature: Just plug in the USB Beverage Chiller , a cold-plate that drops the drink's temperature to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you're more of a hot-coffee type, you can go with a cup warmer instead. Impress your friends and coworkers with your impeccable taste by opting for the fancy T-Light , which is made of bone china, and also glows while it's in use.

Here's a different take on convergence: This USB Mug Warmer and Hub not only keeps your drink at 176 degrees F, it also comes with a four-port USB hub built into its base. The USB 1.1 ports manage only a poky 12 megabits per second -- but no one said convenience comes without a price. That had better be some excellent coffee.

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Emru Townsend

PC World
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