The Universal Serial Bus might be one of the biggest leaps forward in computing since the advent of microprocessors. Prior to USB connections, peripherals (printers, mice, joysticks, etc.) connected to computers via a multitude of proprietary connections; serial ports, parallel ports, 8-pin, 9-pin, safety pin, bowling pins. …It was a free-for-all of connectors and wires that never matched and just generally caused headaches.
The USB changed that, signaling the dawn of civilized, standardized computer accessorization. You could connect the same mouse to both your PC and your Apple!
But even more important than the adoption of a specific, universal standard peripheral connection (that also supplied power to external devices!) was the door that was opened for a world of new gadgets—and the shrinking of physical storage media while increasing the virtual size of memory.
One of these little thumbnail gadgets carries more memory than your entire first generation iMac. And it’s small enough to fit all kinds of places—in a pen, on a key chain, in your watch…
…and in your car.
Not any car, mind you. What about a 1967 Shelby? Or a ’70 Hemi Cuda? A ’69 Chevelle SS? A 2010 Nissan GT-R?
Enter Flash Rods.
Flash Rods is a homegrown startup that seats thumbnail storage devices into the kick-ass matchbox cars you loved as a kid. Remember your dad’s 1964 Lincoln Continental? Now you can carry it around with all your personal medical records on it. That ’55 Nomad your Grandpa loved so much? It’s got your entire collection of surf rock mp3s on there.
Just in time for stocking stuffer season; Flash Rods not only appeal to the 12-year-old collector in all of us, but they’re completely utilitarian and totally invented by happenstance.
Denverite Dave Hersch, president and founder of Flash Rods (flashrods.com) stumbled onto the idea, thanks to his young son.
“One day I was working on my laptop while my son was playing with his toy cars,” Hersch says. “When I put my flash drive on the table next to his cars, he looked at me and said, ‘Daddy, what’s that dumb stick that you carry around with you?’ I explained what it was and what it was for. Then he said, ‘You should make it look cool like a car.’ It was the birth of Flash Rods.”
Hersch made a call over to Thomas Ackermann, his friend who also happens to be a professional photographer (hence the great images all over the website)—and the engineering mind behind the device.
“I have known Tom for years,” Hersch says. “And we’re both into cars and motorcycles. He was the perfect person to take charge of the manufacturing side of Flash Rods. Tom thinks in a different way than most of us. He can look at something and imagine what it will look like after it is modified and calculate what it will take to do it.”
Hersch is pretty sure he’s got a gold nugget idea in these little memory-stick-cum-hot-rods. With the economy showing signs of recovery, Hersch and Ackermann are poised to turn Flash Rods into a household name—and hopefully this holiday season will get them pole position on the track.