iGadgets: quirky computer accessories

March 10, 2007, midnight | By Justin Vlasits | 13 years, 10 months ago

Most Americans now spend more time with their computers than with their spouses, according to a recent survey conducted by Kelton Research. As your 17-inch flat-panel LCD monitor hogs more and more of your face time, you might as well get comfortable.

Luckily, merchandising and accessorizing is what Silicon Valley does best. So that you aren't deceived by subpar gizmos, Silver Chips has compiled a guide to the finest frivolities of the electronic world.


Kiss the days of vacating your comfy swivel chair to make a meal goodbye. Now, you don't even have to tear your eyes away from your favorite web site to fill your stomach. Someday, you may even land a spot competing on "Iron Chef: Cubicle."

George Foreman, King of Grills, jumped into the digital age with a grill that is powered by your computer's own USB port. It's called iGrill ($99.99) (because apparently Apple hasn't already trademarked every name that starts with "i") and it can even detect when that premium lean beef patty reaches its optimal tenderness.

Another sure-to-please gastronomic gadget is the Micromark Omelette Express Maker (£24.00, or about $46.95, including shipping from across the pond), capable of cooking two large, completely customizable egg masterpieces in five minutes. Perfectly suited for the culmination of a disastrous all-nighter, you can have breakfast ready faster than you can say MLA-formatted bibliography.

Speaking of an all-nighter, you might want your French dark roast to stay warm if you want to stay awake. Enter the USB Mug Warmer ($12.99, left). It keeps that java steaming with a 175-degree burner and even has a USB hub so that you are able to connect additional peripherals

Digital pets?

Still cleaning that goldfish bowl? Think that tropical fish are a lot nicer when you don't have to feed them? Think no more. The USB Mini Desktop Aquarium ($19.99, right), also powered by your computer, makes a bubbly addition to any place of work or study — that is, if the super-bright blue LED light doesn't blind you first.

If you prefer flora over fake fauna, consider a Japanese gizmo called the Pettree Mini Live Cactus ($10.97). It's slightly reminiscent of the fabulous Pet Rock of the '80s, but now you can attach your plant to your cell phone and take your prickly friend with you everywhere.

Relaxation station

For those who would rather stay seated, there are options that make it easier than ever for you to never leave your desk. If playing World of Warcraft 15 hours a day sounds enticing, the Arm-Stand Computer Armrest Set with Mouse Pad ($29.99, above) holds your forearm in place for great comfort and guarantees that you won't burn a single calorie in your online gaming exploits.

Household chores can also be untimely interruptions to your blogosphere, so keep a tidy, sanitary environment without taking your hands off of that deluxe, ergonomic super keyboard with the CleanMate 365 Intelligent Robotic Vacuum Cleaner ($87.99). It cleans and disinfects almost any floor type, allowing you stay glued to Wikipedia to study for that test.

Now that the floor is clean, you can keep that stuffy office air as fresh as an Orbit commercial with the USB Anion Air Refresher ($7.50), which not only cleans the air you breathe but also reduces static electricity so that you don't look like Einstein when you emerge from the technological abyss that is your room.

Looking ahead

As our lives continue to degenerate into a blur of YouTube videos, new convenience-based computer technology will spring up, possibly including La-Z-Boys that, using electric wheelchair motors, can deliver you to your car without having to pick up or turn off your laptop. Or maybe just a good book. But you can already get that on Sparknotes...

Justin Vlasits. Justin Vlasits is a CAP senior who enjoys It's Academic, baseball, guitar and frisbee in addition to watching weird movies and contemplating the meaning of life. Justin is also a revolutionary member of SGR and will someday overthrow oppressive capitalism all over the world. More »

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