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Face iPads and chicken phones: When mobile gadgets go cuckoo

If there's an iPad on your face, a communicator on your chest and a giant drumstick on your ear, then you must be exploring the wacky world of unusual mobile gadgets.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

No, this doesn't look odd at all. AirVR

Anybody can make a slim, demur smartphone case that doesn't draw attention to itself. Anybody can make a backup battery that sits discreetly on your desk, recharging your gadgets. It takes a bit of inspired madness, however, to create a phone case that looks like a giant piece of fried chicken or a backup battery that also keeps your pants from falling down. From a magical shoe gadget that sends texts to a combination of a smartphone case and taser, we've rounded up 10 of the most memorable oddball mobile gadgets in creation.

The reigning king of smartphone case weirdness comes to us courtesy of KFC Japan. The fast-food fried-chicken giant unveiled a bizarre promotion that offered contest winners a giant drumstick-shaped iPhone case that looks like someone deep-fried part of a Velociraptor. As Raymond Chandler would say, it's "about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food."

If someone were to offer you a "Star Trek: The Next Generation"-style chest communicator, you would probably jump at the chance to own something with such geeky-cool cache. The OnBeep Onyx is pretty much a present-day version of that device, but, as many have noted, it looks quite a bit like wearing a doorbell. Future versions may be able to slim down and perhaps some enterprising maker will figure out how to hack one into the size and shape of a "Star Trek" insignia. Then, Trekkies everywhere will desperately want one.

10 mobile gadgets gone gonzo (pictures)

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Just because a mobile gadget is designed with some screwball flair doesn't mean it's not practical, too. The Coolest Cooler is a good example of this. The crowdfunding project broke Kickstarter records and gathered massive backing...all because the cooler creator thought it would be a good idea to combine honking wheels, an LED light, a cutting board, a USB charger, a Bluetooth speaker and a battery-operated blender in a rollable device that also keeps your beer chilled. It's a retro-futuristic party on wheels and one of the most unusual phone docks you'll ever see.

Another oddity roaming about the mobile world is a VR headset that involves strapping an iPad Mini in front of your eyes. The AirVr project certainly looks unusual. It's not the sort of thing you would want to wear while going for a stroll, but it captured enough Kickstarter backers to handily top its funding goal and go into production.

The tech world brings us plenty of staid and subtle mobile designs each year, so it's a bit of a thrill when something out of the ordinary comes along. There's a lot to love about the concept of warming your hands with a smartphone case or equipping your big phone with its very own mini-me phone. And if you ever get a chance to talk into a giant drumstick, take it.