The wacky USB gadgets of 2011

These silly gadgets could serve as stocking stuffers for your favorite geek -- or for yourself

All you need is a spare port

If you have an open USB port, then you can keep your hot drink hot, keep your cold drink cold, power up a helicopter, or use a microscope, among other neat tricks that this year's batch of USB-powered gadgets can manage.

Credit: ThinkGeek
TapeExpress USB cassette player

If you're anything like me, you haven't been able to let those old cassettes go. Well, if you can't bear to part with them, you can at least grab this Walkman-style cassette player/MP3 converter and get all that great old music out of storage and onto your PC and/or MP3 player. Buy it here.

Credit: Shop4Tech
USB-powered coffee warmer

Computing without coffee? Never! This hot plate is specially designed to keep your caffeine delivery system nice and warm; it fits one mug of joe, and it features an insulated rim to prevent you from burning your hand. Buy it here.

Credit: ThinkGeek
Doctor Who TARDIS USB hub

Functionally, this is just a four-port USB hub. Visually, however, it's an emblem of a true classic of sci-fi TV. Please note that any TARDIS-like functionality this USB hub provides is purely coincidental. Buy it here.

Credit: FocalPrice
Portable USB bladeless desk fan

This Dyson-style fan keeps you cool without putting spinning blades in your proximity. It goes where you go, and all it needs is the power of a USB port to keep a nice breeze going across your desk. Buy it here.

Credit: ThinkGeek
USB beverage cooler

If you prefer your caffeine to be delivered via soda rather than coffee (or if you need to keep a cold beer nearby), this fridge will perfectly chill a single can of your beverage of choice. Never suffer the indignity of a room-temperature drink again. Buy it here.

Credit: Reg Hardware
Remote-controlled helicopter

Behold the most expensive -- and most impressive -- gadget on this year's list. It's a fully functional helicopter charged up via USB and controlled by a smartphone (iPhone or Android). Eat your heart out, Igor Sikorsky!

Credit: ThinkGeek
Lightsaber lamp

A more civilized lamp for a more civilized age. This one-foot-tall lamp gives a blue glow; you'll have to supply the cool humming sounds yourself, however. Buy it here.

Credit: PandaWill
Portable digital microscope

This isn't a mere funny gadget. In fact, it's a pretty nifty piece of scientific equipment. It can magnify from 5X all the way up to 500X, and it can capture both still images and video. Buy it here.

Credit: RageGage

Sometimes a stress ball just isn't enough. When squeezing won't get the job done and you need to graduate to hitting, give both your hand and your desk/wall/whatever a break and pound the RageGage. It'll take your abuse with aplomb. Now don't you feel better? Buy it here.

Credit: ThinkGeek
X-mini speaker

If you need good sound but don't have room on your desk for a big pair of speakers, you are in luck. These little guys aren't much bigger than an egg, but they offer far better bass response than an egg -- or than bigger, pricier speakers, for that matter. Buy it here.