Thumb drives (or flash drives, as some call them) have become so commonplace that they now seem to be everywhere. Every student, even in elementary school, seems to have at least one on them to save important documents and files. Although the design has stayed fairly constant over the last decade or so, the thumb drive is now evolving thanks to innovative companies that are trying to think outside of the box. Here are just a few of the unusual and original ideas that may be coming to a computer near you.
- New Materials—The original design of the thumb drive is a plastic piece which covers all of the components except for the USB plug which juts out and is usually covered by a removable cap. This is being shaken up with the introduction of all metal thumb drives, which give a sleeker, futuristic look, and even wood covered drives which look more stylish and elegant. Even the original cap is being rethought with new thumb drives which have a retractable piece for the USB plug. Still others fold in on themselves to cover the plug so that it isn’t damaged while being tossed around in a backpack or purse.
- Leather—Another new design idea is the use of leather. No, thumb drives aren’t being made out of leather. Instead, companies are now manufacturing and marketing leather drive holders which can attach to a keychain or lanyard. These are very close in design to the holders used to cover mace and pepper spray to prevent the canisters from being damaged when stored. Some have even gone so far as to design wristbands which can safely house a thumb drive while also keeping it conveniently located. These can be made in leather or plastic, similar to the charity wristbands that many people wear to support causes such as breast cancer awareness.
- Novelty Shapes—One of the coolest new styles for thumb drives is to customize them into different, collectible shapes. For the child at heart, some companies are now offering Lego block shaped thumb drives. Other styles include racecars and trucks for the automotive fans, guitars for the musician, and sneakers for the athlete. Some companies have teamed up with licensed products to offer sport team logos or even thumb drives in the shape of figures from DC comics and Star Wars.
- Pens—If everyone seems to be carrying thumb drives these days, it makes sense that they would eventually be combined with something else that everyone in school or the workplace would carry—ink pens. These pens are able to be used for writing, but also feature a pop off cap on the non-writing end which has a thumb drive. Functionality on two levels makes this a great idea for students or businesspeople.
- Credit card—One of the most innovative designs is the new “credit card” style thumb drives. This is a card, slightly thicker than a standard credit card, which has a thumb drive which “pops out” of the card. In this way, someone can place their thumb drive safely in their wallet or purse and know that they will have it whenever they need it.
We have all had the fearful scrambling of trying to find our thumb drive when we need it. But with these new designs, thumb drives are not only more stylish but also easier to find and keep up with. Who knows what the next generation of thumb drives may feature.