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  June 4, 2014

Another 5 Useless USB Gadgets


Because people found our previous ten useless USB gadgets very interesting, and useless, we’ll present you today, another ten of them. Technology and mass production gave us, Earth inhabitants, an amazing ability of creating pointless or superficially interesting items whose novelty disappears right after acquiring them. So, if in your life there is room for something pointless, here are more daft things that can be plugged into the USB ports of your computer.

ADS Tech Instant Music Vinyl & Cassette Ripper

This ugly box is in fact an external USB soundcard with digital S/PDIF inputs and outputs and analogue RCA, along with a little piece of software called “Spin it Again”. The idea behind it is not very bad, as it wants to help vinyl or tape owners rescue them by conversion to MP3 or CD burn. But, because it doesn’t have a cartridge input for a record player, it accepts only line-level analogue audio connection. So, you can’t connect a turntable directly to it. On the other hand, cassette decks don’t have this issue allowing the owner to connect them directly and start ripping.

Now, you PC will most likely have an analogue input built in and, on the web, you can find free-to-download and very capable audio recording software, so why buying this ugly piece of equipment?

Max Power USB battery charger

On the pound shop you can find some “amazing” winter wonderland of absolute rubbish and most of them break apart at the first use. And among the landfill of such rubbish, there are sometimes items that are quite a “bargain”. The USB battery charger is one of these great bargains. It charges two AA or AAA batteries, it has high-tech re LEDs, comes with a USB cable with mini-USB connector and it can be found with only 99p. One aspect we have to mention, the USB cable lacks the connection for data, so forget about using it as backup cable for the digital camera.

But why use this “smart” device when modern electronics and lithium-ion batteries took over the world? We can use instead a trickle charger delivering a small and steady current to our batteries. And don’t need some “sophisticated” electronics to figure out when they are charged and cut the power. To fully charge a AA battery take around 10 hours, so all you have to do is leave them until cooked, just like the Christmas turkey.

Veho Deluxe USB Microscope

Yes, we’ve presented in our previous article another “interesting” microscope, but this one has a ring of white LEDs. Also, the Veho Deluxe lacks a proper stand for holding your samples and the zoom ring is also the focus control, so setting up a magnification and a proper focus is impossible. You will need to physically move the microscope up or down to get something in focus.

With a large amount of patience, the Veho Deluxe USb Microscope could become a decent educational tool, but because it lacks certain important features, it’s more likely to induce large amounts of frustration and tantrums, and then end up forgotten.

The Snake Scope

This USB gadget has a tiny camera at the end of a bendy rod and may be used to look at some things that can’t normally be seen without the aid of such a device. At the first glance, it seems quite interesting and useful, but it’s just the first impression.

When you receive the package, you will notice the same style of case used for power tools or screwdriver sets, but at least you can put it under the stairs and keep some other bits together in it. Using the Snake Scope is another issue. It’s very hard to orientate yourself and figure out what it’s seeing, close to bizarre. Also, your arms will be killing you after two minutes of usage.

Ok, we can imagine this device being useful in some circumstances, like dropping the house keys down a drain. But to use it, you have to bring a laptop in the very close vicinity of that drain and then try to figure out what it’s showing to you.

So, if you fail to find a real use of the Snake Scope, you can always gross people out with a view of your larynx.

Minoru 3D Webcam

We will end this part 1 with the Minoru 3D Webcam, a device based on an idea that will surely make headline news, in a few years.

Just like us, this 3D webcam has two eyes, so it can produce a real time stereoscopic 3D image, ready to be viewed with a pair of coloured specs. But, this idea is a little ahead of its time. Right now, Windows or other software doesn’t support stereoscopic cameras and also, not everyone has a 3D monitor to support it. The only piece of software you can use right now is Minoru’s own application, which limits the use … slightly.

So, for now, the Minoru 3D webcam it’s like the first telephone – useless if someone else doesn’t get a second one. But messing with it can be a good fun.