Owls sending mail might be pure fiction, but there was a time when birds were indeed used to send messages across distances. Taking advantage of their natural homing instincts, pigeons were used to send messages in the fastest way possible when using humans on horseback was too dangerous for various reasons. Of course, all that is ancient (or medieval) history by now, but the image of a mail-carrying bird has forever been etched into our minds. Some might even use that association to brand certain services that simply ferry bits and bytes of data from one device to another. That’s the inspiration behind this rather charming USB thumb stick concept, though its seemingly whimsical design carries some important practical implications as well.

Designer: SHS Shih

Even in this day and age of the cloud, it’s sometimes still more efficient, not to mention more secure, to store your files on a small USB flash drive. You have instant access to your data, as long as you can plug it into your device, and only those who can actually hold the flash drive in their hands can actually use it. Over the course of the years, the technology behind this gadget has moved forward by leaps and bounds and it’s now possible to see a 1TB flash drive, even if few can actually afford it.

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These advancements open up flash drives to more interesting designs, like this Pinge “bird-style” design concept. Right off the bat, you will notice that it isn’t your usual flash drive, even if you can’t immediately make out that it’s supposed to resemble a bird. Instead of staying flat as almost all flash drives do, its end curves upward, forming the bird’s neck and head. A small golden triangle protruding from that end forms the beak, but it also has the added function of being a pendant or lanyard hole. As you might have guessed, the actual USB interface is the bird’s tail, which is perfect considering the alternating white and gold lines resemble feathers, with some stretch of the imagination.

As unconventional as the design might be, it has merits that go beyond its eye-catching shape. The upward curve makes it easy to pick up the flash drive, and it gives your fingers something firm to hold onto when pulling it out from a computer. Curiously, putting Pinge down on a flat surface makes it rest on that curved portion thanks to a shifted center of gravity. That means that no matter how much you tip or rock the flash drive, it will always return to that stable position. Coincidentally, that makes Pinge a potential desk fidget toy.

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Of course, there are drawbacks to such a non-flat design, like how the bird’s “head” might snag on things more easily or how it would take up more room in an accessory pouch. It might also make the flash drive more prone to breaking if something heavy was dropped on it or if it was sandwiched between too hard surfaces. It’s still an interesting design experiment, especially considering how most flash drive designs focus solely on functionality without paying attention to aesthetics. It doesn’t have to be the case, and it requires a bit of outside-the-box thinking to come up with interesting designs that don’t sacrifice functionality in return.

The post This bird-shaped USB flash drive concept pays homage to the data carriers of yesterday first appeared on Yanko Design.

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