Sleek USB-C hubs to perfectly upgrade your WFH setup’s productivity

We spend most of our day working on laptops and PCs, and maintaining a consistently high level of productivity and efficiency is extremely integral for our work routines. Hence, adopting and making use of nifty gadgets that amp up our productivity can be quite helpful. A USB-C Hub is one such accessory that promises to function as the ultimate sidekick to your laptop or any other monitor setup of choice! However, hubs aren’t what they used to be! Designers have elevated and innovated hubs to a whole new level altogether. From a LED USB Christmas tree to a sleek iPad USB-C hub featuring six different media ports– we have curated a whole collection of unique, innovative, and highly functional designs that are a far cry from the traditional hubs we’d grown so accustomed to. These handy tech gadgets are a game-changer for our work-from-home productivity!

1. The Save USB SSD Hub

Industrial designer Cheon Ryong Choi has the simplest and smart solution in the form of the Save USB SSD Hub. The hybrid accessory slots in most M.2 SSD in the given slot while leaving enough room for a USB hub with USB-C-type, MagSafe connecter, and two USB ports. That’s enough meat to satiate geeky users’ requirements for a port-starved laptop. Drawing inspiration presumably from the design philosophy of Nothing, the hybrid hard drive gets a transparent back panel that exposes all the hardware components which personally I find too cool.

2. HyperDrive 6-in-1 USB-C Hub for iMac 24”

HyperDrive 6-in-1 USB-C Hub for iMac 24” is the savior with five front-facing ports for the easiest access to memory cards, USB storage, and charging of gadgets. It even has a 4K monitor compatible HDMI port on the back to keep away the thick cords from view. Keeping up with the modern data transfer requirements the accessory has 3 USB (two USB-C and one USB-A) ports capable of 10Gbps transfer speed. For added advantage, the hub has a universally compatible microSD UHS-I reader and SD UHS-I card slot. Charging your gadgets is also going to be a breeze with 7.5W speed compatibility from the USB-A port.

3. The ‘PSB Xmas Tree’

The ‘PSB Xmas Tree’, as it’s labeled on Github, is a clever little PCB hack that plugs into your computer’s USB port and lights up like a tiny decorated tree. It’s incredibly DIY, but that’s precisely what I love so much about this tiny gizmo – the fact that it has this handmade personal touch! The tree features a custom fabricated PCB with concentric circles that pop out to give the ‘tree’ its conical shape. These circular boards are connected via LEDs, that get supplied with power from your laptop’s USB port.

4. The HyperDrive GEN2 USB-C docking station

The HyperDrive GEN2 USB-C docking station transforms a USB port on any device into a high-powered docking station with 18 ports. Two HDMI 4K60Hz, a VGA, two USB-A 10 Gbps, a USB-C 10 GBPS, an Ethernet, a UHS-II MicroSD/SD, and more are included. A sleek minimal aesthetic is augmented further by the fact, that the device has two times the speed and power of any first-generation hub.

5. HyperDrive

Compact enough to fit in your palm, HyperDrive is small but mighty. Equipped with a 4K60Hz HDMI port, USB-C 5Gbps 60W Power Delivery port, MicroSD UHS-I port, SD UHS-I port, USB-A 5Gbps port, and a 3.5mm Audio Jack, HyperDrive can handle any of your cables at any time. While you’re all plugged in and working, the built-in shortcut key allows you to “play, pause, fast-forward or rewind your favorite songs, videos, or podcasts without interrupting your workflow.”

6. The Hubble USB-C Hub and Case

The Hubble USB-C hub and case is a side-mounted hub that provides you with all the ports you could need. It consists of two USB-C ports, a USB-A port, an SD and microSD card reader, and an audio jack. The integrated case keeps your iPad upright while you use it, while a magnetic closure ensures that your iPad is stored safely inside. The hub even has a magnetic spot to charge your Apple pencil!

7. The Satechi USB-C clamp hub

At a price of $54.99 (which shouldn’t seem much if you already shelled out the cash for an M1 iMac), Satechi’s USB-C clamp hub puts all the essential ports at your fingertips. It plugs into one of the USB-C ports at the back and grips onto the iMac using a rotating clamp. The hub comes with 3 USB-A ports, 2 card readers, and one USB-C port on the front, and has data transfer speeds of up to 5Gb/s for the USB ports and 104Mb/s for the card readers.

8. HUB-OX

Designed to be portable and compact, HUB–OX initially comes as a lightweight, palm-sized USB-C hub, which splits into two halves, both equipped with plenty of charging slots, HDMI connections, and ethernet ports. HUB–OX is compatible with MacBook Pro models that have four USB-C ports, generally any MacBook Pro from 2016 or any of its succeeding generations. When HUB–OX is split in two, users can plug the USB-C chargers into all four of their MacBook Pro’s ports, lifting their laptops to an angle of 7.7° to keep them charged and at eye level for the rest of the day. Working at our laptops for long periods of time often makes us want to crane our necks and spines to meet our screens. The small hoist HUB–OX gives our MacBook Pros is just enough to keep our necks straight and spines against our chairs.

9. The Satechi Stand & Hub

The silver lining with the Satechi Stand & Hub for Mac mini with SSD enclosure is the matching design and silver finish – reminiscent of the 2020 M1 Mac mini. However, it is sized exactly like the Mac mini and looks a natural extension for Apple’s smallest desktop computer. This useful accessory for your Apple ecosystem increases the Mac mini’s storage without the need to depend on an external hard drive courtesy of the M.2 SATA SSD enclosure. Plug it into the USB-C port, and you get additional ports in one simplified hub. This accessory has three USB-C 3.0 ports (5Gbps), USB-C data port (5Gbps), SD and microSD card readers (104Mbps), and a 3.5mm headphone jack too.

10. The USB-C iPhone

Meet the world’s only USB-C iPhone (that we know of), hacked together by Ken Pillonel, a master’s degree student in robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The USB-C iPhone has been on Ken’s mind for a while. In fact, he embarked on this journey 5 months ago with a video explaining how he planned on modifying an existing iPhone, and even demonstrating a work-in-progress. Now, Ken’s work is pretty much complete as he debuted his first working prototype of the iPhone USB-C. The modified iPhone doesn’t just sport a USB-C for kicks… the port actually works, and lets you charge your phone as well as transfer data.

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A modular smartphone design with multiple accessories could be the tech evolution we want

A modular gadget that is more than just a smartphone – it is a suite of accessories that can be attached to the phone to turn it into anything you want!

The modular phone has been the dream for many big shots like Google who’ve invested a lot of time on Project Ara only to be dumped a few years ago. The idea of a modular smartphone is interesting but the implementation for the consumer market is darn hard. Fairphone has been holding on to this difficult domain with their latest model the Fairphone 4 powered by the Qualcomm 750G, making some strong waves in the market.  The modular aspect of the phone makes it long-lasting when we talk of replacing parts. No surprise it achieved a high repairability score of 9.2 on the French Repairability Index and 10/10 on the iFixit test.

The modularity dream for a phone that can swap parts like a Lego brick is still longing for perfection and this concept fuels the fire. Just like the Fairphone, Nicola Morelli’s Soul smartphone concept gives us something to dream about. A phone that can turn into a high-end DSLR camera or turn into a high-end customizable accessory for fitness freaks. The Nintendo Switch-like interactive vibe is more about changing the format of the gadget using extensive modules rather than just adding functions with internal hardware swapping. Soul itself is one of the modules and the other attachable modules are called bodies. The main module itself can be used as a basic smartphone when you don’t require any other functions.

While the designer doesn’t narrow in on more modules for use with the Soul phone, I can think of a few attachments. A module to accurately measure the temperature and altimeter on a mountain hike, or maybe a high-end tripod attachment that has a powerful telescopic lens to gaze at the stars. The possibilities are endless with this concept phone!

Designer: Nicola Morelli

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This analog radio concealed as a minimal ornament is proof that modern tech can be one with our home interiors!

This is currently an era of unstoppable and unparalleled technological advances! Almost every day we’re taken by surprise by innovative tech trends and ingenious product designs. At times, one can’t help but miss the old days, where life was simple and the products even simpler. In an ode to simple designs that occupy minimum space while providing top-notch functionality, Milan-based designers Fabio Verdelli, Manuel Frasson, and Alice dal Verme created ‘La Moderna’. As modern as its name may sound, La Moderna is in fact an analog radio hidden in the minimal form of an ornament.

The radio features ceramic and copper accents with four little narrow rods protruding from its main base, giving the impression of a unique and intriguing decorative ornament. But the rods have a more meaningful function than mere decorative purpose! The rods are a smart replacement for the traditional dials and knobs found in a radio. You can twist, fiddle around, and manipulate the rods to catch a radio frequency. We also believe you can use the rods to change the volume as well.

The radio is shaped like an elegant cube, with a speaker hidden beneath the main perforated base. All the other additional parts and features of a traditional radio have been eliminated from La Moderna, in turn creating a product with a “gentle aesthetic”, to prove that contemporary tech can indeed seamlessly and harmoniously merge with the interiors of our living space.“We do believe that in the future there’ll be no need to describe something as technological because more or less everything will have some kind of interactive attitude or smart skill,” explains the designers. “For this reason, it’s time to start and reconsider the design language of common items. The next generation of products will not require an evident declaration of technology. Our goal will be to try and render them as discreet as possible.”

La Moderna comes in two variations – one of them can be placed horizontally, to make the interface more visible and accessible when placed on a desk or any other flat surface. It is available in white and coral tones. La Moderna is a prime example of ‘hidden technology’, wherein the true functionality of a gadget is subtly concealed in a minimal and gentle aesthetic or design.

Designer: Fabio Verdelli, Manuel Frasson and Alice dal Verme

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Give your cat a companion with this adorable robot that follows them + keeps an eye on them!

Here’s a fact that all cat owners can completely attest to – our cats don’t really need us, in all honesty, we need them. I mean, where would I be, if I didn’t get to cuddle my two fluffy Persian cats almost ten times a day? Probably sulking away in some corner, completely unhappy and unfulfilled. Another thing I hate more than being unable to cuddle my kitties is leaving them home alone. Although cats are pretty self-sufficient and can take care of themselves (as long as they have their fair share of kibble and water), I still break out into stress hives just thinking of leaving my pets all by themselves! This is where MeowMate comes to the rescue! Designed by Joint Technology Co, MeowMate is the perfect companion for your cats when you’re away! The adorable little gadget basically follows your cat around all day (it simply replaces you), and helps you keep an eye on them!

It features a 1080p ultra-clear video quality and HD voice intercom, allowing you to watch and hear your pet clearly and sharply. It also boasts real-time delay monitoring compensation to ensure a high synchronization between images and sounds. You simply have to download the MeowMate app on your smartphone, switch on the MeowMate device, and scan the QR code at the bottom of it, to connect it to the app on your phone. You can then control MeowMate on your smartphone, and move it about as you please. It allows you to remotely interact with your pets, and help stay connected with them.

Amped with a built-in sensor, MeowMate can move around your home with ease, and sense and avoid any obstacles in its path. Its silicone side-wheels can never hurt your cat’s soft paws, and they also create almost no noise as the device moves. They provide more stability and support to the gadget as well. When MeowMate’s battery is low, it automatically recharges once it reaches the induction zone of the charging dock. Hence, you can move it towards the charging dock, and charge it, even if you aren’t physically present!

MeowMates’ ‘random mode’ enables the gadget to move freely, creating an interesting and playful interaction with your curious cat! The best part of MeowMate is that it keeps your agile cat busy! Its bionic structure makes it seem more approachable and encourages your cat to really interact with it while enabling you to keep one eye on your pet at all times. MeowMate is the ultimate boon for all cat lovers!

Designer: Joint Technology Co., Ltd.

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Relive your memories with this unique gadget that transforms your favorite pictures into scents!

The photo gallery of my iPhone is jampacked with pictures that go all the way back to 2013! These are the prized documented memories of some of the happiest days of my life – ranging right from my time in university to my current adulting days. Do I ever really get the time to go through them? Nope. Do I absolutely want to? YES. In an attempt to help us relive the photographic memorabilia in our smartphones, Yeongseok Go designed ‘transcent’. transcent is an abbreviation of “transform memory into scent”. And, it does exactly that! transcent helps you “meet the forgotten precious memories in the photo album”. It attempts to help you experience the long-forgotten feelings and emotions associated with these images via ‘synesthesia stimulation’.





transcent attempts to capture the essence of a picture in a particular scent. Wondering how? First and foremost, transcent converts the image into a single pixel. This single-pixel becomes the primary or main color of the image. This primary color represents the image, and it is then broken down into four colors. The two colors with a large percentage of CMYK (a subtractive color model) are selected, and adjusted appropriately to prevent excessive mixing of scents. These colors are then converted into scents. The scents that are attached to an image are based on the CMYK scale and paired with one of the four colors.

The four colors and their associated scents are – Sky Blue or Cyan which smells of cotton, a Magenta shade with a floral smell, a bright Yellow which smells of citrus, and the color Black which apparently smells woody. What transcent then does is display a particular image on its round digital screen, and emit the scent associated with the image. This instantly triggers a visual olfactory process in our minds!

Emotional phrases on the screen also help us to remember and relive those memories even more effectively, taking us on a wonderful trip down memory lane. The scents are emitted (almost like an air freshener) through vents located at the back of the screen.





A scent cartridge with vials of the different colors/scents is slipped into a slot at the rear of the device. The structure of the scent cartridge is similar to the structure of the cartridge used in a fountain pen.





The device itself features an aluminum frame, that helps it stand, and also enables it to be picked up and carried around. transcent is super portable! transcent is a creative and dynamic product that is truly one of a kind. It helps you relive the beautiful moments of your life with the help of images, texts, and scents! It quite literally hits you with a wave of nostalgia!

Designer: Yeongseok Go

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Yanko Design 2021-08-16 16:43:20

A doorbell that screens the temperature of your guest to ensure they do not have a fever.

Double vaccination, Delta variant, booster shots – these are the new terminologies that have been added to the world’s vocabulary in the past 1.5 years. Such is the quick passage of time in 2021 that we actually sit down and wonder, that it is almost September and we are entering the final quarter of 2021 soon, with no end to COVID in sight. In actuality, many of us are still suffering from anxiety in crowds and the ‘normality’ some people are exhibiting when outdoors. Compulsive sanitization has become a constant and honestly when someone breaks the basic hygiene, it makes me anxious. The designers at DAWN Studio understand us and have added a seamless way to reassure us of our health and safety within the parameters of every day designed objects.

Titled the BELL, this deceivingly simple design packs an extremely useful feature. The BELL visually resembles the traditional doorbell’s we would see, bringing to mind a quaint nostalgia. At the same time, the tongue of this doorbell acts as a sensor, allowing the person pressing your doorbell to automatically verify their temperature, all in one action.

The gadget consists of 2 parts – the indoor module and the outdoor module. The touch center and a digital display show the temperature of the visitor to themselves. If your temperature reads higher than 36 degrees, it is the visitor’s prerogative to step away and help stop the spread of their infection.  The indoor module gives the users more options – to communicate with the guest, to switch on the light that is discreetly hidden under the lamp and more.

Aesthetically speaking, the entire gadget retains an almost nostalgic vibe – the bell is shaped like the ones we see in an old-school hotel reception desk, prompting the user to ring it. The slight metallic accents add to the retro feel whereas the modern body keeps it fit for all decor styles.

Tiny attention to detail makes the design more wholesome, and that is exactly what happens with this design, like the light that keeps the panel lit up in the nighttime. Quaint, simple yet a solution to a problem that is a need of the hour, the BELL is here to literally save you by the bell!

Designers: HyeJung Jin and Sung Wook (Creative Director of DAWN Studio).

This nifty gadget turns any laptop or desktop monitor into a massive iPad Pro and Stylus




Plug the Hello X3 in the top left corner of any display (or any flat surface) and suddenly you have a stylus-capable screen that you can draw on, annotate against, and present with.

Up until just 5 minutes ago, I was ready to throw a little over a grand at a new, 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. I’m honestly reconsidering now after stumbling across this $120 gadget that transforms any flat surface into a stylus-friendly touchscreen. Titled the YELANG Hello X3, this 3-axis-shaped device plugs onto the corner of any flat rectangular surface (although it’s much more useful when mounted on a display), practically turning it into an iPad. The Hello X3 works with displays as large as 27-inches, and comes along with a pressure-sensitive stylus too to rival the Apple Pencil.

Click Here to Buy Now: $120 $189 (37% off) Hurry! Just 14 hours left!

Currently in its third generation (hence the X3 suffix), the Hello X3 expands on what its previous generations could do. It comes with a camera-sensor that can now read surface areas that are anywhere between 10-27 inches, has 2mm precision (which is alright, to be honest), a 120 fps response time, and here’s the best part, compatibility with both Macintosh and Windows-based systems. Just plug it onto your iMac or your Windows desktop monitor and you’ve got yourself a massive tablet PC that you can sketch on, make models in, edit documents, sign papers, or even use in a bunch of other productivity apps and softwares. If you’re traveling, the Hello X3 plugs right off and is portable enough to be carried right in your bag along with the stylus.

The Hello X3’s universal design is perhaps its biggest selling point, but it’s also matched by the fact that setting it up on a new device is ridiculously simple. Just pop the gadget on the top-left of the screen (it works with left-handed as well as right-handed users), plug it in via USB, and you’re ready to calibrate it. To calibrate the Hello X3 to your screen, just tap the 4 corners of the display with the stylus and you’re done. The stylus is thick and grippy like a marker or a fountain-pen, and sports a pressure-sensitive tip that can make thicker strokes if you press harder and thinner strokes if you lightly touch a surface. In just minutes, your 4K monitor turns into a graphics tablet.

The Hello X3 works with regular surfaces too. If you’re not really comfortable with drawing on vertical surfaces (which, let’s face it, can get uncomfortable), just plug the Hello X3 onto a drawing pad or a clipboard and you’ve got yourself a makeshift tablet PC (remember the Wacom Intuos?). This setup works rather well when you’re using a projector too, instead of a laptop or a desktop monitor. Each Hello X3 comes along with its own drawing-board for good measure, and a stand for your stylus when it’s not in use. The stylus has a standby time of 120 days, and a use-time of 4 hours, although it charges completely in just under 30 minutes. The YELANG Hello X3 is currently in its final hours of funding and is set to ship as early as September. Grab it at its special early-bird price of $120 on Kickstarter!

Click Here to Buy Now: $120 $189 (37% off) Hurry! Just 14 hours left!

Your Apple AirTag meets a drill to create a keyring hole with in thrilling DIY!

Apple has put a lot of effort into designing the round-shaped AirTag, and it shows in the compactness of size. The tracker manages to fit in the UWB (Ultra-Wide Band connectivity module) version in such a small space that’s barely bigger than the battery fitted inside. Compare that to the Tile Mate or Galaxy SmartTag, and you already know which one is more practical. The small footprint and chip-like thickness of the AirTag make them ideal for real-life usage, and it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket – as another advantage. Apple AirTag though has one chink in the armor. It doesn’t come with a keyring hole, and that’s frustrating, to say the least. The only way to use it as a cling-on tracker for your keys or other things is to buy an extra peripheral. Or is there a way to get around it?

As teardown pros iFixit got down to opening the latest Apple accessory – that’s making all the news – they decided to drill a hole in the AirTag itself. To make it keychain-ready, like the competition, they carefully drilled a punch hole on top of the tracker using a 1/16” drill bit. Surprisingly, the AirTag survived the operation without any functional dystrophy, post the drilling bit. Even the sound profile didn’t change much, so the accessory is as good as out of the box. Yes, it does have a keychain hole now!

iFixit demonstrates how to precisely drill between the notches in the circuit board to avoid puncturing any circuitry and make the tracker non-usable. Removing the battery is another thing that needs to be done without fail before venturing out if you do want to try this DIY to create a loophole in your tag. It should be noted, even if you manage to replicate iFixit’s feat, it will certainly void the accessory’s warranty. Opening up the battery housing isn’t as easy as the other two trackers, and requires some effort and a steady hand. So do keep noted about the facts.

Designer: iFixit

Drilling a hole in the AirTag demands a steady hand, and only venture out if you know what you’re doing. Else, this could turn out into an ugly misadventure.

Cute little tracker the size of a half-dollar coin. The only thing that is a deal-breaker is the absence of a keyring hole.

The compact size of the Apple tracker took a considerable amount of R&D to arrive at the final, commercially available form factor. That’s how precise the design process was in refining the final product!

The circuitry and the battery fit snug into place, making perfect use of the small space inside. However, it is not an easy task opening the AirTag as compared to the competition.

It’s better in looks and functionality for real-life usage due to the small footprint and the round shape. Just imagine the scenarios you can put the tracker to use.

The Tile Mate has a square shape while Galaxy SmartTag goes for a rounded off squarish-shape. While they both are bigger than the AirTag, Apple’s tracker is more aesthetically designed.

The circuit board and the magnet on the AirTag make it more or less opaque to the X-rays. The image here gives a very good idea of the space you’re left with to drill the hole.

Make no mistake, the AirTag is not as easy to open as the other two trackers in question.

So, are you ready to take the risk, and put your AirTag on the line for the sake of convenience and saving a few dollars?

These sleek multifunctional headphones transform into a spiral-shaped speaker!

I love a good pair of headphones, in fact, I can’t function without my personal headphones! They’re my secret gateway from the real world, and into the world of my favorite songs and artists! I’m always on the lookout for innovative and exciting headphone designs that help me immerse myself into my own little musical realm. And during one of my headphone-seeking missions, I came across Helix by Junho Moon, and this design is as cool as it gets!

These sleek and futuristic headphones have a hidden secret – they transform into a speaker! Usually, once you’re done listening to your favorite tunes, you simply place your headphones on your desk or any other preferred spot, however, Helix’s soft headband and ball joint arm, allow you to easily twist and mold the headphones, enabling them to transform into a spiral-shaped speaker. In their speaker form, the headphones also look like a cool little sculpture, something you can place in your room, and are sure to be asked questions about! The headphones come amped with an accessible dial that allows you to control the volume, and change the songs, by lightly adjusting the dial. The dial also works perfectly when Helix is in its speaker form.

Helix is an innovative audio device that caters to all your music-hearing requirements. If you want to simply listen to music by yourself, Helix works perfectly, but if you change your mind and decide to share your tunes with the company around you, it works perfectly for that as well! In a world where our needs and demands can change any minute, multifunctional and modular products like Helix play a huge role in providing unique solutions to our unique problems – even if they are audio-based! Available in various shades like Mineral Grey, Steel Grey, and Deep Black, Helix is an uber-cool personal gadget that is portable, easy to use, and not to mention super functional!

Designer: Junho Moon

Korg Gadget-VR takes music producing from the studio to the headset

Over the years, Korg’s Gadget app has allowed for software-based music production on platforms ranging from iOS to Switch, and now it’s making the jump to virtual reality. We don’t know much about Gadget-VR, like how much it will cost or what platfor...