AzoftSpotlight15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

By Alexandra Weinstein on May 5, 2011

It's the technological circle of life: company makes tech, consumer buys tech, company makes tech obsolete. In this never-ending trash and upgrade cycle we now find ourselves trapped in, we generate tons of techno-waste every year that usually winds up in a landfill. It's time to change that trend. Your old gadgets are more useful than you'd think.

In this slideshow ahead, you'll find some ideas for recycling tech products by harnessing their overlooked strengths (or "inner beauty," if you like). When you're done looking through them, I'd love to hear more creative uses for old tech in the comments. Enjoy.

1(5) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Mouse for cat

Ingesting vegetation may or may not be good for them, but most cats like to do it. And if your kitty holds court in your house or apartment while you're at work, arranging for it to chomp on foliage other than your houseplants is better for all parties concerned.

Just whip out an old computer mouse, remove its innards, anchor it to a base, and plant some grass in it. Cat and mouse!

2(3) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Indoor Grill

It's no secret that the exterior of Microsoft's Xbox 360 game system can reach temperatures high enough to melt strontium. The next time your Xbox red-rings, you can always use the console as a light-duty grill. Crack open some eggs, slap on some bacon, and you'll have breakfast ready in a jiffy. 

3(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

8-bit belt buckle (NES Game Controller)

The Nintendo Entertainment System sold more than 61 million units during its mid-1980s heyday, but the controller has proved to be much more substantial and resilient than the console itself.

Commemorate the good times by making that solid piece of tech into a blinged-out belt buckle. For maximum retro-cool effect, you'll want to spray-paint the face to give it a sexy shine.

4(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Boat Anchor

Just about all of us have an old CRT TV sitting around these days. Thanks to thinner, lighter LCD sets and the analog-to-digital switch in 2009, those glass tube monstrosities are yesterday's news. But don't trash that 300-pound 32-inch clunker just yet: hook it up to a chain and use it as an anchor on your next deep-sea fishing expedition. It's very similar to what pirates used back in the 1700s. 

5(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Portable amplifier

Here's a robust mobile sound system composed of circuit boards from old PC speakers and a PC power supply.

This project has five pages of instructions, including timely advice on how not to electrocute yourself while assembling it. We won't go into all the details, but power drills, glue, batteries and soldering irons are involved. But it will all be worthwhile when you're looking good at the party, no?

6(5) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Babysitter

It happens to every parent: you and your spouse booked a four-star dinner reservation but your babysitter doesn't show at the last minute. Instead of hiring yet another unreliable local teen, put your Robosapien to work as a caretaker for your child. Your baby will sleep more soundly than ever in the semi-autonomous robot's steely clutches—especially when accompanied by the Robosapien's whisper-soft electronic gurgle. 

7(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Phone safe

Finally a use for the many candy-bar phones from 2000 that we still have in our desk drawer. And it's a nice twist on the old Rock keyholder.

Just open and gut the phone, pretty up the inside, and glue magnets to hold the two pieces together when you're finished. (Randy Sarafan's book has full instructions on this and all other projects pictured in this slideshow.)

Don't forget to put something heavy inside the case, too, so it will feel heavy enough to burglars to persuade them that it's simply a piece of dead tech and not a hiding-in-plain-sight mobile safe for stashing your spare $100 bills or diamond earrings in. One caveat: Make your spouse promise not to stage any impromptu yard sales without consulting you first, or some nostalgic buyer may get an unexpectedly great bargain.

8(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Gear clock

Have an unused printer in the house? Make it tell time by reassembling parts of it into this Gear Clock. You'll find the gears in your printer's drive mechanism; the printer motor becomes the finished clock's base.

Bonus points: Since you don't need the printer's case for this item, you may pound it with a hammer or slice it with a hacksaw.

9(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Kitchen Table

Did your monstrous 42-inch flat screen TV set burn out recently? Bummer. All is not lost: slap some legs on that sucker and you've got yourself a brand new kitchen table. 

10(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Hand Mirror

With over ten bajillion units sold, iPods are plentiful. Most people either stick them in a closet or send them off to e-waste recycling after they've served out their lives as music players. But here's another alternative: a handy miniature mirror that helps you pluck your nose hairs or peek around corners to avoid approaching zombie hordes. 

11(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Dinner Plate

When your slick new iPad goes kaput, it's time to get creative. Blogger Takahiro Shiina found outearlier this year that Apple's tablet device makes an excellent dinner plate. With a handful of iPads and Nintendo DS styluses as utensils, you'll have yourself a complete tech dinnerware set that perfectly complements the flat-screen TV table. Bon appetit! 

12(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Step Stool

If you've always had a hard time reaching that jar of pickled beets on the top shelf of your pantry, consider pulling out a bulky old laser printer and using it as a step stool. You'll eliminate nasty beet spills and also help the environment by keeping that laser-lunk out of the landfill. 

13(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Doorstop

In a pinch, netbooks of just about any persuasion function well as doorstops, so save that old brick for a garden wall. A netbook's natural wedge shape is what makes the form factor a superior doorstop over, say, a tablet PC or even a full-sized desktop replacement.

14(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Scanner table

Doesn't everyone have an retired scanner somewhere in the house? Here's a way to transform it from useless to useful — after you open and discard all of its inside parts.

If you collect anything small, colorful and dust-attracting, this table makes a great place to put the items on display — under the glass.

15(4) 15 Bizarre Uses For Dead Tech Products

Scarecrow

As you survey your cornfield one hot August afternoon, you hear the vigilant cry of "U-nye boh-bay!" echo from the distance. Normally, such words might frighten you, but today, they put you at ease. That’s because you have a Furby serving as scarecrow, ready to scare away the pests that would greedily eat your precious crop. Furby works night and day thanklessly with only one demand: four fresh AA batteries every 16 hours.