Out of this world...
Consider them PC peripherals on the periphery of industrial design. Your Ultrabook may look ultra-sleek and ultra-modern, but the following 10 products look like props from science-fiction TV and cinema—which makes perfect sense given that PC hardware nerds have such deep-seeded affection for the greater sci-fi cannon. Indeed, these 10 devices prove manufacturers know exactly who's ready to drop lots of coin on enthusiast-caliber speakers, mice and even heatsinks.
We start our journey with a beautiful 2.1 speaker system from Harmon Kardon.
Harman Kardon Soundsticks III
It almost looks like some kind of alien gestation pod, but no, the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is actually a 2.1 channel speaker system that connects directly to your PC, or other audio sources. An earlier version of the system—equally sci-fi-looking—is part of the permanent collection of New York City's Museum of Modern Art.
Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 9
Have a robot phobia? The R.A.T. 9 gaming mouse may give you nightmares. Mad Catz makes the most customizable mice ever created, and this one lets you define everything from the positioning of the thumb rest to the surface finish of the pinkie grip to the actual weight of the unit. Indeed, the R.A.T. looks like something straight out of "Transformers" for good reason: Gamers can transform it into their personal vision of the perfect mouse.
Netgear R6300 WiFi Router
It's an 802.11ac router that immediately evokes comparisons with the monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey." Stark. Black. Angular. Imposing. It's a broad slab of thought-provoking coolness. And it's the second-fastest router we've tested. There's really nothing more to say.
Razer Artemis Concept Controller
If you’re already looking forward to the upcoming release of Mechwarrior Online, this control console should send you over the moon with even more anticipation. Razer’s Artemis Concept Controller takes the controls out of the Mech and puts them into you hands, complete with a mechanical keypad, a force-feedback mechstick, and an 8-inch display that serves as a secondary screen during game play. And, yes, it's designed for just a single game, much like the complicated controller for the Xbox game Steel Battalion, which included two joysticks and foot pedals. It sucks that Mech suits are still science fiction, but at least the Artemis concept takes us one step closer to science fact.
Gyroxus Full-Motion Control
Part captain's chair, part chaise lounge, we can almost imagine James Tiberius Kirk taking this bad boy for a spin. The Gyroxus Full-Motion Control chair doesn't have any motors or power-assist at all, but still allows for natural, immersive movement in many games (or at least that's what the manufacturer claims). The method to the madness? You control the movement by shifting around in the seat. It's as if the entire seat is one big thumbstick, and wherever you shift, your game character (or vehicle, or whatever) follows. The Gyroxus even claims to burn calories, perhaps keeping the brave daredevils who purchase this product from becoming "fat Kirk."
Thermaltake V1 Cooler
Traveling faster than the speed of light can build up quite a bit of heat in your engine block. Enter the Thermaltake V1 cooler. Designed to dissipate the heat of an overworked (and certainly overclocked) CPU, the V1 looks not-of-this-world with its multiple fins, Dual-V architecture and ultra-shiny finish. Couple this with a 110mm fan that emits a blue LED light, and the entire science fiction effect is complete.
Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7
Mad Catz makes the list again, but this time with hardware that looks like it came off the set of "Aliens." The S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 keyboard resembles something that Ripley might have used to enter flight coordinates for her dropship. The TFT-LCD touchscreen has its own acronym (V.E.N.O.M.), and can be used to program advanced macros, among other features.
If you wake up and find this thing staring back at you, you're either a hardcore PC gamer, or you've been transported to some kind of hellish, H.R. Giger-inspired universe. The Area-51 was one of Alienware’s first systems, and made a name for itself with hardcore gaming performance and a controversial (if also campy) design. With glowing ribs and an alien logo that could change colors and strobe speed, it told the entire world that its owner is an inveterate nerd. Its successor, the Alienware Aurora, boasts similar sci-fi qualities but lacks the polarizing design aesthetic of the Area-51.
Was alien technology used to power this beast? The truth is out there and I want to believe!
Logitech diNovo Mini
This pocket-sized wireless keyboard gives you full control over your PC or entertainment system. The diNovo Mini connects via Bluetooth or USB, and works with most devices. It also vaguely resembles something out of "Star Trek"—perhaps a larger, updated, more feature-rich communicator (the "communicator pad" update to the original "communicator phone"). All it needs is an integrated video screen, and it's all set.
Nothing says "Star Trek: The Original Series" like a space vixen wearing some kind of campy outfit. And so we see a certain retro sci-fi vibe in the Necomimi headset from Neurowear. Put the apparatus on your noggin with the sensor pressed against your forehead, and the system will read your brain waves, sending visual cues straight to the cat ears. According to Neurowear, when you're concentrating or stressed, the ears will perk up, and when you're in a state of relaxation, the ears will lie down—mimicking a cat's behavior. You'll also attract a lot of stares from strangers. Because wearing furry cat ears in public is annoying.