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Explainer: 10 essential gadgets for the office

  • Image: Keyboard organizer
    Image courtesy Keyboard Organize

    Many of the following gadgets will make you more productive and organized at the office, but they will also make you warmer, thinner and more intimidating with noticeably whiter teeth. If that isn't a combination for upper management I don't know what is.

  • Mini Office

    Image: Mini Office
    Image courtesy Taylor Gifts

    Sometimes gadgets can be too functional for their own good. Case in point, this all-in-one stapler, scissors, calculator and measuring tape. As the name implies, it's like a mini office in the palm of your hand. It's also like the accountant's equivalent of a Swiss Army knife. If MacGyver were to retire from the field to do a desk job, this would probably be his tool of choice. $9.98 (Taylor Gifts)

  • USB Beverage Can Cooler

    Image: USB fridge
    Image courtesy Think Geek

    Sure, you could put your canned beverages in the break room fridge, but it's vulnerable in there. Any co-worker can just open the door and steal it despite the fact that it is clearly labeled with a note featuring your name and a passive-aggressive threat to anyone considering stealing it. Besides, you are far too engrossed in putting off work to surf the Web to stop what you are doing and go get a beverage. What you need is a USB-powered mini fridge sitting on your desk that can keep one can cold and within reach at all times. $20 (Think Geek)

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  • StealthSwitch II

    Image: Stealth switch
    Image courtesy ThinkGeek

    Ever wish you could have three arms at work to help you get the job done more efficiently? The StealthSwitch II does the next best thing by putting your leg to work using a pedal that can be programmed to control keystrokes, hotkeys, macros or mouse clicks in any application. Plus, you can link up to four StealthSwitch pedals and assign each a function that you can control with a tap of your foot. It's kind of like being a drummer or guitar player in the band, only the music is spreadsheets and nobody would ever ... EVER want to be your groupie. $14.99 to $32.99 (ThinkGeek)

  • Arm Rested Mousepad

    Image: Arm-rested mouse pad
    Image courtesy USBfever via Cubi

    If I'm honest, I worry that all the time I spend sitting in front of a computer is going to turn me into a  nerdy Quasimodo with a repetitive stress injury. The Arm Rested Mousepad can help people like me sit up straighter in our chairs while reducing the risk of injury. Basically, it's a mousepad with an armrest that can be mounted to chairs and desktops. According to the product page, it can help to “prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) and other Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI)” while “reducing muscle tension in the neck, shoulders and arms”. $43.99 (USBfevervia CubicleBot)

  • Walkstation

    Image: Walkstation
    Image courtesy Steelcase Store

    Unfortunately, improving your sitting posture at work isn't enough to ward off health problems. Occasionally, you'll need to get up out of your office chair and move around — and I don't mean to the vending machine and back. The Walkstation helps you stay productive and get some exercise at the same time by integrating a treadmill with a desk. Of course, with a 2 mph maximum speed motor it's not like you will be running on this thing. As anyone that has ever tried to jog and use a laptop at the same time will tell you, that's probably a good thing. $$4,199 (Steelcase Store)

  • Desktop Teeth Whitening Lamp

    Image: Teeth-whitening lamp
    Image courtesy Uxsight

    Coffee is for closers. Consequently, so is stained teeth. Bring back that closer smile without missing a beat at work with this Desktop Teeth Whitening Lamp. It converts electricity into a strong blue light that reacts with the included whitening gel to oxidize the pigment of your teeth and reduce discoloration. The manufacturer notes that 30-minutes of use can improve the color of your teeth from five to fourteen shades. $410.69 (Uxsight)

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  • USB Desktop Aquarium

    Image: USB aquarium
    Image courtesy Fascinations via

    Watching fish can help reduce stress, so it makes sense that an office would be a great place for an aquarium. If an elaborate fish tank isn't possible, this small USB-powered version should fit the bill. Features include a pen holder, LCD calendar with weather information, nature sounds, overhead and interior lights, gravel filtration and a 1.5-quart tank where two of the unluckiest fish on the planet will spend their short lives before being flushed down the toilet. Launching in October for $20. (Fascinationsvia CubicleBot)

  • Keyboard Organizer

    Image: Keyboard organizer
    Image courtesy Keyboard Organize

    Messy desks are all but inevitable in a busy office, but you can cut down the clutter with one of these Keyboard organizers. On the outside it's a functional keyboard, but flipping open the top will reveal storage space for small items like pens, scissors, tape and notepads. Of course, when I was a kid I had school desks that flipped open in the same manner, but all I was really doing was concealing the mess. Concealing it until my teacher flipped over my desk in a fit of rage, that is. Needless to say, I was never able to add a “Clean Desk Award” to my scholastic resume. $19.95 to $29.95 (Keyboard Organizer)

  • USB Mouse Hand Warmer

    Image: Mouse hand warmer
    Image courtesy Warm Mouse Heated

    Do you work in one of those offices where the temperature seems like it is kept excessively low in the winter months to reduce heating bills? Well, you can stick it to the man by keeping your mouse hand warm using the Mouse Hand Warmer Blanket Pouch. Just plug in into any available USB port and slip your mousepad, mouse and hand inside. It's just like wrapping your hand in a heating pad while your work. $19.95 (Warm Mouse Heated Keyboard)

  • Rubber Band Gatling Gun

    Image: Rubber band gatling gun
    Image courtesy Gadgets and Gear

    If you work in an office, chances are you will be involved in a cubicle warfare skirmish at some point. Don't be a victim — give yourself the edge with a Rubber Band Gatling Gun. It's made from solid aluminum and holds over 100 rounds of rubber bandmunition that you can lay down on a target as fast as you can crank the handle. Your co-workers and their puny single-shot finger guns will tremble before your awesome military might. But don't forget your boss has the ultimate weapon of mass destruction — a pink slip. $499 (Gadgets and Gearvia CubicleBot)

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