13 USB Drives
Friday, August 31st, 2012
By Sarah Murray
For more than a decade, almost any computer made sported a USB connector—naturally, USB (universal storage bus) flash drives became a popular way of toting data around. While USB looks to be fading away in the face of cloud computing, the USB flash drive survives. They're kinda fun, for one thing. Designers have embraced the format as a playground for their cool, kooky and just plain goofy ideas. Here are 13 that caught our eye.
Wooden USB Stick, oooms.nl
Studio OOOMS in the Netherlands gives a new meaning to the term “memory stick,” because it is literally a stick. Handpicked twigs and sticks are sanded, cut, and given new life as data holders. Though I might be worried someone would accidentally throw all my data outside, the rustic feel of the twigs contrasts the high-tech nature of the device.
Zoo USB, gizmine.com
These wooden animal figurines are cute, minimalist data storage drives. designed by new British/Italian design company Lambria. Though not terribly portable, the six different animals in either a light or dark finish make for a nice little storage menagerie. If your desk is messy, the little pig will fit right in.
G.I. Joe Cobra Commander, mimoco.com
Just face it, the bad guys are sometimes more interesting than the good guys. Cobra Commander was always the coolest G.I. Joe, now he can carry around your resume and favorite MP3s. See? Not so evil.
Safety Pin, artlebedev.com
Russia’s Artemy Lebedev Studio has designed a 4GB USB flash drive/safety pin hybrid that's meant to be practical, but is more punk than anything.
Mohzy’s wristbands give the common data transfer cable a face lift. A small attachment lets you use the cable for both micro and iPhone USB connections. The magnetic closures allow you to use it as a darling bracelet, attach it to your bag, or affix photos or notes on a metal surface. There are over fifteen geometric and flowery patterns to choose from in every color you can think of. This is hands down the most useful piece of jewelry ever.
Empty Memory, vespoe.com
The Empty Memory collection by Yoo Kyung Shin questions the concept of a “memory” device. Though they do actually store data, these jump-drives look like just a USB insert with nothing attached but an empty steel cage and a clear acrylic bar.
USB Toaster Hub and Bread Thumbdrives, thinkgeek.com
Adorable thumb-drive concepts sometimes require adorable USB hub concepts. The Toaster and Bread thing happening here just works. I mean, who doesn't love some toast?
Data Clip, audiocubes.com
Aiming to reach further into the future of data communication, and what that will mean for paper, Nendo has designed this paperclip-flash-drive hybrid in collaboration with Elecom. More information about a document can be clipped onto a stack or sheet of paper: a more practical approach to conserving paper and exchanging information physically. Of course, the clips are sleek and colorful, with Nendo's straight, clean lines and edges.
My Life, urban-butik.com
Urban Butik revealed a fun and interesting collaboration with Kähler at the NYIGF. Designed by Helena Rohner, My Life is a high-tech, colorful twist on the traditional locket. Instead of a single tiny picture, these lockets hold hundred of pictures and any other personal information you might like to carry stylishly around your neck.
The Wrap, shapeways.com
Tangled cords get a bad "rap"... Get yours in shape with this nifty little device that keeps your iPhone USB cables in order. Designed by Michiel Cornelissen, these colorful cord-tamers are available in both US and European models.
This adorable USB hub is both modern and funky. This cute creation from the Museum of Modern Art seems very portable, though it certainly is something I wouldn't mind seeing on my desk.
Space Bar, containerstore.com
All of us Apple fanatics know that we can't resist have all of our laptops, phones, tablets, trackpads, and other devices looking the same, sleek, shiny metallic gray tone. The Space Bar, from Quirky Inc, acts both as a USB hub and a storage space for your keyboard. And satisfies our need to have everything on our desk look as Steve Jobs would have intended it.
R2-D2 USB Drive Cufflinks, cufflinks.com
Should you be called on to sneak Death Star plans by the Empire starfleet, you'll want to grab these, your blaster and a French-cuffed shirt. A subtle, elegant nod to your Star Wars fandom that doubles as a place to store whatever important data? Essential to any sci-fi nerd with style.