By Linzy Novotny
Hundreds of thousands of patents are granted each year. Needless to say, few of these will ever make a significant impact on our lives – after all, there can only be so many breakthroughs. Still, thousands of inventors look for ways to make our daily lives easier (and a quick buck besides). The humdrum office is practically begging for devices to make our work easier, faster, or just more fun.
With that in mind, we humbly offer this list of office gadgets that are strikingly innovative, in their own small way.
Microdesk Laptop Stand and Document Holder
Typing up a report while referencing paperwork can be difficult when there is no room between you, the keyboard and papers. With the Health by Design Microdesk, the keyboard fits under the tilted, raised platform, creating a convenient platform to put whatever it is you’re supposed to be typing while you crank out pithy Facebook posts. Looking busy has never been easier! You can buy Microdesk at HealthyDesign.com in several sizes and options for $135.
Green Hand-Powered Paper Shredder
It never fails: Congress starts asking for torture memos and the office shredder is on the fritz. Before you go all Bourne Identity, invest in the electricity-free Hand-Powered Paper Shredder. To use, place hands at either end of the gadget and twist the ends. In no time at all those pesky photos of your taxpayer-funded “recon” in Tijuana will be in a dozen pieces. Buy your hand powered paper shredder online at UncommonGoods.com for $24.
Reduce Use With These Staple-less Staplers
What can staple a paper yet has no staples? No, that’s not a brain-teaser on the back of a Denny’s placemat, it’s the staple-less stapler. The device fastens a few pieces of paper together with a neat hole cinched by paper flaps, heralding an end to the jamming, spring flinging, finger-pricking rein of conventional staplers – at least for smaller stacks of paper. These staple free staplers come in a set of two (because you know someone will steal your first one) and can be purchased from UncommonGoods.com for $16.
Slice Safety Cutter
Retailers and manufacturers love putting their junk in plastic clamshell packaging because it protects and cuts down on shoplifting. Consumers hate it because it’s hard to open and causes a surprising number of injuries. For those who don’t trust themselves with scissors there’s the Slice Safety Cutter. The safety cutter’s small ceramic blade cuts right through paper and plastic but can’t hurt skin, and conveniently fits on a keyring for TSA-approved coupon cutting. Buy your Slice Safety Cutter for $5.99 at SliceProducts.com
Slice And Dice Boxes And More With The Stylish Slice Box Cutter
“Stylish” and “Box cutter” usually don’t find themselves in the same sentence, but there’s definitely something chic about the black-on-red cane handle of Slice’s box cutter. Just like the safety cutter, the hand-sharpened blade is ceramic, lasting ten times longer than a conventional metal blade. Unlike the safety cutter, it will cut you. Buy your Slice Box Cutter for $19.99 at SliceProducts.com.
Sit Green With This Environmentally Friendly 94% Recycled Aeron Office Chair
Sure, it’s not new but it’s still an innovation. The 94 percent recyclable, breathable Aeron Chair is known as the “most well-known ergonomic office chair” and not only looks like modern art, but its pellicle suspension helps air circulate so you stay comfortable as you work. The chair also fully adjusts to each person’s frame with nine adjustments, including seat angle, arms and posture adjustments. Even more tailored, the chair comes in three sizes: small, medium and large, to offer maximum support for people of all sizes. Of course, it comes at a price that will have people thinking you got that fancy promotion, so expect a lot of resentful glares. The Aeron Chair will cost you $869 and is available at HermanMiller.com in a variety of colors.
Kill Germs And Bust Dust With Cyber Clean Disinfecting Goo
It’s all fun and games ’til someone walks into an office with a black-light, then that bacterial culture you call a keyboard is revealed for the spotted neon nasty it really is. Don’t let your office CSI label you as the office slob, grab the Cyber Clean. It looks like Play-Doh, but has the ability to get in between keys to pick up dirt, hair and dust. Cyber Clean can also be used to clean buttons on phones, remotes and many other electronic devices. Cyber Clean has a citrus smell, but for people who prefer strawberry, there is, of course, a Hello Kitty variety. A mint version is available to clean car interiors because cars aren’t supposed to smell like oranges; everyone knows that. Buy Cyber Clean for $5.95 at CyberClean.net.
Scan Pages, Receipts, And Business Cards With The Innovative NeatDesk Office Scanner
Remember, during the ’90s, this thing called “email”? It got everyone excited with dreams of a “paperless office,” where all records and communications were stored digitally and senior management all got unicorns. Twenty years later and we’re still lining our drawers with dead trees. At least we can get rid of cabinets and store all our files digitally with NeatDesk. Feed documents, receipts and business cards into the NeatDesk scanner and the digital filing system will do the rest. The software identifies key information and stores it accordingly. Documents are stored as a PDF that can be edited and information on business cards can be converted into a contact list. Information gleaned from receipts can be turned into expense reports and exported into money management software. Buy the innovative NeatDesk for $399.95 at Neat.com.
Bring Style To Your Cubicle with Glass Chair Mats
True officianados know that if you can’t roll on your office chair somewhere, it ain’t worth going. Extend your reach with the Glass Chair Mat by Clearly Innovative Home & Office Products. The glass doesn’t crack or yellow like their plastic cohorts, and the glossy finish and bevelled edges add a little form with their easy-roll function. The glass comes in a variety of sizes and tints that will suit any office décor. By yourself one of these beautiful glass chair mats for $200; but prices vary by tint of glass and size. Available at ChairMatsOfGlass.com.
Disclaimer: none of these companies paid us to be featured in this article. But if they want to send a few free samples our way, we’d totally be down with that.