20 USB Gizmos That Have No Place in the Enterprise (But You'll Love Just the Same)

In the spirit of summer, we compiled a list of 20 USB-powered gadgets with very little business value—but that still tickle us pink.

Tue, August 14, 2007

CIO — Many USB-based products deserve a place in the enterprise, such as memory sticks or flash drives, universal chargers and password tokens. They are useful but generally unexciting.

But then there are the USB gizmos that provide little or no business value. These items, such as USB lava lamps, fans and other amusing desktop paraphernalia, lighten up employees' days and can shape comfortable, personalized office environments. And there are the wacky USB gadgets more suited for use in fraternity houses or toy stores than in office buildings. You know: circus cannons that fire festive foam projectiles. Memory sticks shaped like glistening Japanese cuisine. An android that breaks it down on your desktop dance floor...as long as it's connected to your USB port.

What follows is a list of our favorite USB gizmos from the latter two categories. We collected a handful of USB products CIOs would normally have no reason to check out—except perhaps to bar from the premises—but that we think you'll appreciate just the same.

But be forewarned: The following pages are sure to bring out the kid in you, so close that office door, draw the shades and get ready to giggle.

The USB Mini Fridge

"Does your cold drink getting [sic] warm while you drink it slowly? Now, you can carry a fridge to anywhere!!" reads USB.Brando.com.HK, where you can purchase your own USB-powered mini-refrigerator.

Keeping an open beverage near your computer is never a great idea. Everybody knows that electronics and liquids—especially the carbonated, sugar-saturated kind—typically don't mix. But Brando's trying to change that with its USB Mini Fridge, a tiny red unit that can fit a single 12-ounce can of your favorite beverage. We've seen USB refrigeration units that look like glorified hot plates, but the USB Mini Fridge is just that: a tiny replica of a real refrigerator.

The gizmo sells for $33, and it cools your Coke using 5 volts of USB power. It's even got a funky blue LED that lights up when you open the door.

The next time you spill soda all over your laptop, just show IT your Mini Fridge and they'll understand, right? After all, you couldn't just let something so cool go unused....

NEXT: When the office just doesn't smell right

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