Explainer: 10 oddball gadgets to make new school year fun

  • The summer is almost over, and that means heading back to school. Actually, after a long, hot summer I was almost looking forward to the new school year (a feeling that completely evaporated about a week in). Part of the fun was having new clothes and a bag full of new supplies. If I had some of the stuff on this list back then, I would have been even more excited — maybe for two whole weeks.

  • Electronic Rock Guitar Bag

    It's a messenger bag that's also a playable guitar! Just turn on the attached mini amp, strum your thumb across the fingerboard and press a button on the neck to play a major chord. The sounds are recorded from an actual guitar so you'll sound halfway competent regardless of your level of skill. I would use it to punctuate all of the important points I bring up in class as it is much harder for other people to argue with you when everything you say is followed by a blazing hot bag riff. "Your argument is invalid!" WAAAAAAAAAA! "My argument is invalid? What proof do you…" WAAAAAAAA A! $49.99 — ThinkGeek via Fashionably Geek

  • Rubber Bandit Pen

    This pen functions as a traditional writing implement, but when the lecture takes a turn for the boring you can load it up with a rubber band and fire it accurately at a target of your choosing. Shoot your classmates with the Rubber Bandit Pen! Shoot yourself in the eye with the Rubber Bandit Pen! I just got expelled — thanks Rubber Bandit Pen! $5 — Perpetual Kid via CubicleBot

  • Beerdaleer

    It's called the "Beerdaleer" but I assume that students would use this shoulder strap-compatible Velcro pouch to store soda or drinking water that's clean, pure and innocent. Beer in college? I've never heard of such a thing. $10 — Timbuk2

  • Target alarm clock

    Waking up early for class is never fun, but shooting at this target alarm clock is probably as close as you're  going to get. In order to shut the alarm off you have to shoot a bullseye with the laser gun/remote. Yeah, that's kind of masochistic when you think about it, but an aggressive action like this first thing in the morning is kind of cathartic. It's like shooting your miserable weekday in the face. $24.95 — Baron Bob

  • Binder pad

    When I was in college, I remember wishing that there was a discreet portable device that I could store all of my books and papers on. A device that could also be used to goof off when the opportunity presented itself. Well, the future is here … today! ZooGue's BinderPad is an iPad cover that has a tab along one edge containing three grommets spaced to fit a standard 3-ring binder. So it's a lot easier to play "Angry Birds" while you pretend to take notes. $29.99 — ZooGue via CubicleBot

  • The Wrongulator

    I recall my fellow students repeatedly asking to borrow my calculator in math class. Of course, most of that functionality can be handled with a smartphone these days, but I think I would keep one of these Wrongulators in my bag just in case. It's a calculator that gets its solutions wrong 100 percent of the time. That will teach them a painful, yet valuable, lesson about preparedness. $7 — Red5 via CubicleBot

  • Bubble wrap keychain

    School can be a stressful environment. You'll need something to help you relax when there are deadlines to meet and studies to cram for. I think we can all agree that there is something innately pleasurable and relaxing about popping bubble wrap. This keychain allows you to simulate that experience over and over again with little buttons that feel and sound like the real thing when pressed. So go ahead and pop your way to a better life or some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder — whichever comes first. $3.99 — ThinkGeek via Nerd Approved

  • R2-D2 electronic lunch kit

    Maybe it was just me, but food just tasted better out of a Masters of the Universe lunch box. If that's true, this R2-D2 electronic lunch kit from Thermos will make your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste as good as filet mignon. In addition to the cool "Star Wars" styling, Artoo features push-button lights and sounds to entertain you with his customary beeps and boops while you eat. $12.99 — Thermos via That's Nerdalicious

  • Bulletproof clipboard

    That's right, this clipboard is rated as Level II body armor, meaning that it can stop a shot from a 9mm weapon. With all of the violence you hear about in schools these days, a clipboard like this can bring you a little peace of mind — just store it under your shirt all day long. That might seem a little extreme, but you can never be too careful. At the very least, you don't have to worry about someone assassinating your papers. $44.99 — ThinkGeek via CubicleBot

  • Sbyke

    The main campus of the college I attended was vast, and it always seemed like I was rushing between classes to make it on time. I was never able to score a student parking pass, I lived too far away to take a bike and I would kill myself on a skateboard. So I was forced to run or, at the very least, walk briskly. The Sbyke helps to bridge the gap with a design that's a fusion of a bicycle, skateboard and a scooter. It's compact and offers a stable ride with precise steering. It can also handle more treacherous terrain. $249.99 — Amazon

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