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GIGS.2.GO "disposable" paper USB drive

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April 2, 2013

GIGS.2.GO's 'disposable' flash drive concept

GIGS.2.GO's 'disposable' flash drive concept

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Though not the first, GIGS.2.GO is perhaps the most tidy execution of a paper-based USB flash drives we've seen. Four sticks, or tabs, made from recycled, molded paper pulp can be torn from a credit-card sized pack. But are such sticks as "disposable" as they purport to be?

GIGS.2.GO is conceptually quite similar to Art. Lebedev's concept disposable cardboard USB flash drives we saw back in May, 2011. Both feature perforated tear-off sticks which can then be written on thanks to the material used.

Of course disposability implies cheapness, and its interesting that GIGS.2.GO, which is also just a concept at this stage, proposes 1 GB of storage per stick compared to Art. Lebedev's 4 to 16 GB. More recently Gizmag looked at intelliPaper's paper-based USB drives. In development, the cards featured a more modest (and perhaps realistic, for a disposable stick) 8–32 MB of data.

Perhaps the clue to the larger storage size is that GIGS.2.GO may have been conceived for reuse rather than disposability. Despite being made from paper, the memory sticks look durable enough to be reused, and can therefore command a higher sale price.

This is desirable. Though recycled paper case may be supremely disposable, it still contains e-waste, and without much more sophisticated waste collection and sorting systems than we have, "disposable" electronics of any kind are arguably misguided.

There's a reason recycle comes last in the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra, and really, we should look for USB sticks that are durable enough to wear out their write cycles. But all else being equal, a USB stick made of recycled materials is clearly preferable, and so, if they can withstand the battering that well-used USB flash drives tend to take, it would be great to see this in development… in my opinion, without the word disposable on the packaging.

Source: GIGS.2.GO

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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8 Comments

Cheap enough to loan to coworkers.

Slowburn
2nd April, 2013 @ 12:04 pm PDT

...and small enough to get washed into the ocean like cigarette butts.

sk8dad
2nd April, 2013 @ 01:52 pm PDT

Enclosing silicon with paper...where's the paper memory? Everything is 'disposable'.

Threesixty
3rd April, 2013 @ 12:56 am PDT

100% gimmick. A thumb drive with a paper wrapper instead of plastic--hardly "paper based"

Arf
3rd April, 2013 @ 09:19 am PDT

Thanks for the thoughtful review.

You are right that the GIGS.2.GO tabs are conceived to be re-useable. The goal of the design was to create a flash drive that you could "leave behind", not throw away. (We are thinking of sales professionals, designers, and others who want to share presentations or other large files easily). Therefore it has to be inexpensive, and you had to have more flash drives handy in case you need more later, so you could feel comfortable giving it away (hence the tear-off pack).

Of course, we expect the new owner to be able to reuse the drive. Molded paper pulp is quite durable and should provide good protection for the technical bits inside. And about those technical bits: it is true those parts are not easy to recycle or compost. And until we have that technology, we have tried to provide the best and most responsible alternative. Unlike the other concepts you mentioned, which cannot be disassembled into their technical and organic parts, GIGS.2.GO is easy to disassemble (just tear off the paper shell). You could then recycle or compost the paper shell, leaving only the circuit board as waste.

Your article, and other conversations I have had are persuading me to remove the "disposable" tag line I used in the concept description. The truth is, we want this to be *sharable* and *leave-behind-able*, but would hate to encourage people to throw away something that still has value.

Kurt Rampton
3rd April, 2013 @ 01:10 pm PDT

Just because it's wrapped in paper it doesn't make disposing of it any less environmentally damaging. It's a total shame that people will actually dispose of these after use. What it really should be labelled as it super cheap electronic trash.

Marc
4th April, 2013 @ 10:20 pm PDT

Here's an idea: why don't you buy yourself most expensive/fastest usb drive and use it for years - isn't that better than throwing away tons of disposable cheap slow usb sticks...

lksd
6th April, 2013 @ 05:30 am PDT

This is really an innovative way to market the product and services of your business. There are even paper USB Webkeys that have no memory to store data but are programmed with specific URL information that allows you to direct your customer to the information you want them to view.

These paper web keys are pretty inexpensive too.

Derrick Brandonn
10th April, 2013 @ 12:37 am PDT
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