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Whimsical tin iPod cases have artsy appeal

Tinbots represent a fanciful new addition to the already wide lineup of iPod cases.

Parra's case
As evidenced by this case, artist Parra has a vintage flair, with a modern, post-pop approach.

Those who'd dare to edge their way into the overcrowded iPod accessory market these days will want to find a way to rise above the ever-swelling ranks of functional yet uninspiring offerings.

Not an easy endeavor, to be sure, but an eye-catching and fanciful line of tin iPod cases called Tinbots shows that a little artistry can go a long way toward counteracting the standard pink or black silicone that encases so many of today's MP3 players.

The recently released latest generation of Tinbots (nee Tinpods) feature original designs from trendsetters in contemporary art: vinyl toy designers Mad, Sket-One, and Christopher Less; DC Comic book master Jock; and urban artists Parba, Kurt Ketchum, and 7Sleepr.

Fortunately, the $29.95 Tinbots are cases, not skins, so their distinctive, whimsical patterns remain uninterrupted by openings for accessing screens or clickwheels. Yes, that makes them a tad less functional than the average boring skin, but their style might just be worth the extra effort it takes to reach the controls.

Connecticut-based graffiti artist Sket One contributed this design to the Tinbot collection. Tinbot

Constructed of durable tin and lined with neoprene padding, the cases do come equipped with headphone and charging ports. They are compatible with 30GB, 60GB, and 80GB video iPods, as well as 80GB and 160GB iPod Classics.

If the cases inspire your own artistic sensibilities, all the better. Tinbot is also offering a matte white Tinbot for $19.95 that can be customized according to your own creative whims.