Weird, Wild, Wacky Peripherals

Designed for the armed forces, the iKey AK-39 is a wearable rugged keyboard that is available in left- or right-arm versions. The AK-39 has a built-in USB cable, an integrated Force Sensing Resistor (FSR) pointing device with left-and right-click functionality, and adjustable green LED backlighting that is also available in a night vision (NVIS) compatible configuration. Since the keyword was designed as a glove, the AK-39's snap-on faceplate eliminates accidental key strokes. The AK-39 meets MIL-461 standards, which includes its use in very harsh electromagnetic interference (EMI) environments, and it can operate in extended temperature ranges of -40 C to +70 C.

The AK-39 was released in July, but Austin, Texas-based iKey has not publicly announced pricing nor has it said whether it will become available for civilian use.

These USBs are dangerous -- they're so realistic looking that you'll probably be holding chopsticks and having a Sapporo in no time. Available in 1 GB or 2 GB, the USBs come in tuna, prawn, salmon roe, egg and handmade rolls. Prices depend on retailers -- you can get a 1 GB piece of sushi on that is marked down from $79.99 to $30, while sells a variety of these USBs starting from $49.99. If this is too expensive and you're more of a meat- and-potatoes type, there are also delicious-looking 2-GB hamburger USBs that start around $10.

It's the next best thing to having a fridge and hot plate next to your computer. The folks at USBGeek have a neat USB mini-fridge/heater that keeps your coffee warm or your soda cold. It takes about five minutes for it to cool down to 54 degrees and the same amount of time to heat up to 116 degrees when the room temperature is 82 degrees. This is an easy install, there's no driver required, it's compatible with all platforms and can be yours for $32. There's also an LED Beverage Cooler model sans heat for $19.99.

In an industry dominated by plastic, Micro Innovations' bamboo keyboard and mouse look cool in a weird way, but are sure to please the environmentally conscious crowd. There is a 104-key USB keyboard with plastic, soft-touch keys and a three-button optical mouse. Compatible with Macs or PCs, you can get yours on for $43.64, a 43 percent discount from the $65.78 list price.

If you're a fan of The Simpsons, you'll probably get a kick out of the nasty Charles Montgomery Burns, owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, filming and recording you. Via a USB, Mr. Burns runs on PC Windows 98, 2000, XP and Vista, and can be used with Skype, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and AOL messenger. Mr. Burns can be had for $38.95. Excellent.

I-Tech's Virtual Laser Keyboard (VKB) is the only keyboard that operates in total darkness. The keyboard uses the company's proprietary IR laser-based detection technology that studies the user's finger movements to interpret and record keystrokes. The keyboard also uses a light projection of a full-sized QWERTY computer keyboard on almost any surface. The VKB can be used with PCs, Macs, some smartphones and BlackBerries, including the new 8100, 8300 and 8800 models. The VKB retails for $148.99.

Here's something you don't see every day. Those clever people at USB Brando don't want your kids to get cold while they're doing their homework or playing online, and have heating rabbits at the ready. Heated by a warming pad inside, the gloves are plugged into a USB port, keeping hands nice and toasty while you're reading Excel files. Oh, wait, no, while your daughter plays Dreamland Princess. Yeah, that's it. The gloves go for $22.50, and there are also Paw Heating Slippers available for $24.00.