We've seen some funky PC designs in our time, but this has to be the most bizarre and inspiring. It's Chip PC Technologies' Jack PC -- a thin client that's the size of a plug socket.
The device is essentially a stripped-down network PC that relies on a server to carry out most tasks. Most thin clients resemble skinny PCs (hence the name) or fat monitors (made bloaty because of extra internal computing gubbins), so they're a bit pointless for home use.
We wouldn't normally touch them with a bargepole, but the Jack PC got us thinking. It's versatile enough to fit into an ordinary Ethernet port, has a front-facing DVI monitor output, four USB ports and a couple of audio ports, so it could be perfect as a low-power Internet kiosk for the home.
Just imagine: you can surf the Web and perform basic computing wherever there's an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi (via a USB dongle) and a screen -- you can even use your home TV with the Jack PC tucked way out of sight.
The Jack PC doesn't need to be connected to a mains supply -- it can draw all its power from the Ethernet port using Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. As a result, it's very power efficient, so it'll cost you less in electricity bills despite using an 'up to 500MHz' AMD RISC processor, which the company says is equivalent to a more traditional 1.2GHz CPU.
The Jack PC comes with 64MB of flash memory, 128MB of RAM, and runs Windows CE. It'll set you back £209 from Chip PC Technologies. -RR