Tear-off cardboard USB flash-drives

Here's a cute concept-design for tear-off, disposable flash-drives from Art Lebedev, who predicts, "Stick will become even simpler vehicle than once floppy" (mangled Russian-English interpretation courtesy of Google Translate). I wonder if NFC/ultra-wideband wireless transfer will make low-capacity flash drives obsolete before they get cheap enough to make into cardboard disposables, though.

Концепт флеш-накопителя «Флешкус» (Thanks, Dave!)


  1. Here’s a cute concept-design for tear-off, disposable flash-drives

    That’s awesome! I can’t wait…

    from Art Lebedev

    …oh. I guess I’ll have to wait. (forever)

  2. This is a brilliant idea.  Cheapness is not the only advantage of SneakerNet – it can also be very secure.  Any wideband wireless anything makes me very cautious.  A $1 flash drive, even with low capacity, would have many many uses.

    1. I take it these aren’t read-only.

      And I doubt flash drives or the like will ever be completely replaced by wireless; it’s, you know, storage.

      Given how digital stuff can virtually disappear in nested folders or under nondescript filenames, maybe some folks will take to physically organising some of their content in such containers?

      1. Take it from someone who was there at the time – When you say you “doubt flash drives or the like will ever be completely replaced” – The exact same thing was said about 5 1/4″ and 3 1/2″ floppies, as well as the 8-track 

        1. Upon further consideration I stand by my comment.

          Uses for such a thing may wane, but they won’t disappear. Some kind of small, portable solid-state storage that plugs into USBvX.X will always be around. Or perhaps a wireless version will evolve if it can somehow be effortlessly charged wirelessly.

          In fact, who’s to say something of that nature mightn’t take over? Everybody walking around with a library in their pinkie ring.

          Come to think of it, the final form has already begun to be locked in – SD cards in smartphones.

          IMO your platitude is an empty cliche.

    2. These seem like they’re a huge step toward less e-waste, though. Wouldn’t you prefer a cardboard flash drive that at least 75% of is decomposable/recyclable versus a plastic one that never decomposes? You’re saying something that’s been said a hundred times on these boards, but I think it’s misapplied here…

      1. The board would still have to be made of fiberglass and resin, so it wouldn’t decompose for a very very long time anyways.  I think the discussion here is just a cardboard casing.  

  3. At least you can repurpose them for your own files for a while. They’re better than web keys, which look like USB sticks, but appear as a keyboard to your computer when you plug them in. They generate a series of key presses which simulate the (Windows-only) “Open Browser” and “Open URL” commands, and take you to a fixed web location. They’re also loaded down with analytics. Hateful things.

    1. I once received one of those from a credit card issuer advertising some lousy deal on mag-striped usury.

      I don’t even want to know what a financial institution (wasn’t) thinking to encourage prospective customers to automatically execute untrusted web payloads…

  4. So – they could be blotter paper too?

    Store silicon computer data on a key with material that scrambles your built in organic computer.

  5. NFC is only really good for very small amounts of data (like URLs, contact information, and sometimes photos) — the transfer rate of NFC is 1/4 that of Bluetooth… so I believe for larger files NFC would just be the handshake to a Bluetooth/WiFi transfer… 

    Plus, NFC has a really short range on it (annoyingly so if you need to stay connected for more than a few seconds)— that’s where the N in the acronym comes form.

  6. Disposable storage is a moving target, like the definition of SOC (System on Chip) as the requirements for a system kept increasing. Companies been handing out press kits at trade shows on USB drives for many years now. The drives are of such low capacity they aren’t worth keeping for personal use but they can be handy for giving some files to someone without expecting to get the drive back. The biggest ones I’ve gotten so far are 1 GB, at the last CES. For my own use I don’t bother with anything smaller than 32 GB and expect to retire those as I replace them with 64 GB and larger.

    But that is to support my pocket library, which is something of an obsession. Purchased in quantity the 4 GB drives are now cheap enough to give away if there is good reason and an optical disc won’t do. As optical drives aren’t built in on some of the growing form factors for personal computers it may soon make more sense than mass produced DVDs, even if the price is higher.

  7. I recently got hired by a temp company which recruits IT professionals for their customers, and received a CC-shaped USB stick with 4GB capacity. What was on it? Some informational PDFs totalling 1.8MB. Still wonder why they didn’t just email them.

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