8 strange places to find USB ports

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Viewing Boreal Microscope images on a computer screen.

The company has all kinds of other great science toys and gadgets too, like the Boreal Digital Standard Zoom Stereomicroscope. This plugs into a computer (via USB, of course) so you can view slides on a nice big screen instead of squinting into the microscope eyepieces. You can store still and moving images on your computer.

Electronic drum kits

An electronic drum kit is lighter and more compact than an acoustic kit, and crammed full of extra functionality.

The earliest electronic drum kits didn't sound like much, but they've come a long way from those long-ago days. The higher-end Yamaha and Roland kits sound and play like acoustic kits, with the extra advantages of smaller size, lighter weight, and sophisticated digital sound processors (DSPs). These sound processors are little computers, so their functionality is limited only by processor power and storage. So anything is possible: modeling different acoustic kits, MIDI support, recording and playback, sound effects, overdubbing, and multiple outputs for miking each drum and cymbal separately. Some kits can connect to a computer for additional storage and functionality, and with some models you can plug any USB storage device into the DSP and play along to music.

[ See also: USB 3.0 vs. eSATA: Is faster better? ]

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