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TOYS

Ninja USB clip defends your data’s honor ; Bandai’s hovering X-Flyer feels like mini-UFO

by Rick Martin

Japan has produced a number of fun USB storage devices over the years (“humping dog” memory stick, anyone?) and now there’s another to add to the list thanks to the good people at Cut n’ Paste.

The Ninja Driver is a new USB memory-storage drive that takes the form of Japan’s unofficial mascot to save and protect your digital property.

Unlike most USB thumb-drives, the Ninja Driver doesn’t require any cap — which means that there isn’t any cap for you to lose. To access the USB interface, you simply bend your ninja at the waist and slide his pants down. At this point things might have gotten tricky if our little ninja friend had legs and . . . um . . . stuff, but thankfully all that he’s packing is the USB key.

In fact, the Ninja Driver’s entire outfit is composed of a stretchable silicon coat that can be removed and washed if it becomes too battle-worn. The design combines cool and kawaii (cute) in just the right proportions to create an irresistible tiny ninja to stand guard over your information. Ninja Driver can carry a quite hefty load as well, capable of packing away up to 4 gigabytes.

He also features an LED indicator light on his head, which flashes when data is being transferred. It’s a faint light just up underneath the headband, far more noticeable in the dark. Ninja Driver will work on any standard operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux).

Weighing in at a lightweight 13 grams, Ninja Driver makes for a great addition to your key chain or mobile-phone strap. If you’re going to carry around your data during the day, there aren’t many more stylish ways to do so than this.

If you’d like to hire (i.e., buy) your very own personal Ninja Driver, Cut n’ Paste has them available at their online store on Rakuten for ¥2,980. But expect to see them popping up at Tokyu Hands and other novelty retail stores.

For more information, visit Cut n’ Paste at www.cut-and-paste.jp/products/fruitshop/usb_memory/ninja/index.html or visit the online store at item.rakuten.co.jp/proclip/dr10011/

One of the most exciting toys to come along for a while, the X-Flyer from Bandai implements Hovercraft-style technology to create a futuristic, hacky-sack kind of toy. Think of it as your personal flying saucer, one that you can juggle and keep up in the air with your body.

Powered by spinning rotors, the X-Flyer features a built-in infrared sensor that will sense when your hand is below and then adjust to hover just above it. When you’ve figured out how to control the X-Flyer’s movements using your hand, then you can start volleying with other body parts like your feet, knees, chest, or even your head.

The X-Flyer also comes with a pair of catching sticks that you can use to receive when playing with friends. The X-Flyer is available in blue and green, and is intended for both kids and adults. It will be sold starting Nov. 20, at the surprisingly low price (did I mention that this thing hovers?!) of ¥4,179.

This hovering wonder is powered by six AA batteries, but it also comes with a handy charger. A charge indicator on the side lets you know how much juice is left. Whenever you want to take a break, there’s a toggle switch on the top for turning the X-Flyer on and off.

You can find out more about the X-Flyer at www.asovision.com/x-flyer. While the product page is in Japanese, the demo movie shows exactly how it works.

If you want to pick up your own X-Flyer, expect to see it soon in toy shops and department stores nationwide. Our overseas readers can try popular gadget website GeekStuff4U.com, who currently have the X-Flyer listed for pre-order.

For more information, visit the X-Flyer product page at www.asovision.com/x-flyer or see a demonstration on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEbmhlHLMWY Rick Martin is a contributor to Gizmag.com. Read more of his work at 1rick.com.