Thursday, April 13, 2006

Digital v Analogue #7: Getting it wrong

While browsing the Internet yesterday, I came across the Flashbag design concept illustrated above. Designed by Dima Komissarov, it's a USB flash drive with a tiny pump that inflates the body as you load it with data, giving you a visual idea of how much room you have (or haven't) got on the drive.

It's a cool concept, but has the weaknesses of being both financially impractical and missing one of the USPs of USB flash drives.

One of the very good things about the digital realm is that items DON'T expand (in dimensions or weight) as you fill them with data. Large books look great sitting on a coffee table, but they are a pain to carry around. If I had to choose between carrying twenty text books on a long journey or a PDA with them loaded in PDF format, I would reach for the PDA (especially as I can also search a PDF for a word or sentence... but that's a subject for another blog!).

USB flash drives have become ubiquitous as a method of sharing data because they are portable, easy-to-use, and affordable. However, there is room for improvement.

Most USB flash drives come with a protective lid. This is usually a poor fit, and like most small items, has a tendency to get mislaid. Sandisk have a model that works like a retractable pen, a Very Good Idea.

Going one stage further, they have designed and produced a Secure Digital flash card that folds to reveal a USB connector, removing the need to carry around a card reader to transfer information from your digital camera or mobile phone. Nice. However, there would appear to be some compatibility issues, and for some people it will be just TOO small.

The Flashbag drive has one very good idea, it provides an instant, visual clue as to how much information you have in the drive. My 'concept' (pictured below) would be a retractable USB flash drive with a panel that gives an 'at-a-glance' bar-graph readout of how full the flash drive is, along with an alphanumeric indication of available free-space. (The digital clock/calendar on the right is a 'why-not?' Photoshop conceit :-)



Skep said...

I'd buy it. It's a great idea. I'm so annoyed with how impossible it is to check the free space on my teeny-tiny 256Mb MP3 player/USB drive.

Teifion said...

My mp3 player hasn't run out of space. It's 5 years old and can browse the internet, write PHP, play some games and even has a 15" screen.

I do like the idea for the newer and smaller USB drives :)

brett jordan said...

So, your mp3 player can write php, now that is one CLEVER powerbook teifion!

Sky Jordan said...

Yes, a PHP writing USB key sounds amazing, lol

I love the clock/calendar idea more than the little meter... I hate watches so anything I might happen to be carrying having the time is a great idea to me :D

Anonymous said...

very informative - thanks for your research