What is a Thumb Drive?

A Thumb Drive or also commonly known as USB Drive, Flash Drive or Pen Drive is a USB plug and play data storage computer device used to store information such as document files, images and videos. It is an affordable gadget that is very mobile due to its small size (most weighs less than 30gms and a size less than 6cm x 3cm) and commonly used to share data among computers and other electronic devices that supports the Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface. Unless specifically set otherwise, thumb drives are typically rewritable, some up to thousands of write & erase cycles. It has slowly superseded other older-technology storage devices such as the floppy disks and CD-ROMs for the storage and backing up and transfer of computer files.

A Brief History of USB Flash Drives

Unlike other technological advances with only one credited inventor such as the incandescent bulb (Thomas Edison) or the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell), the creation of the first usable USB flash drive can be linked with different engineers who were working separately on methods to improve digital data storage and transfer. The USB drive can be considered a rather recent invention; works on the USB interface began only in the late 1990’s with patents describing the drives and their implementation filed soon after. The controller system for the chip was successfully developed in the early 2000’s and that was when the boom for portable flash drives began. Eventually, consumers’ hunger for more storage space and better performance drove chip development which resulted in increased speeds, capacity, and stability of the USB flash drives.

Evolution – On the Origin of USB Flash Drives

From chunky blocks to slim key chains, evolution has certainly shaped the barely 2-decade old USB flash drive. A 1GB pen drive which used to be someone’s prized possession is now easily given away as a corporate gift or as a name card preloaded with a company’s portfolio. USB drives now come in so many different shapes, sizes, and functions, it can be considered as an extension of one’s identity or personality. Look around and you will see the suited executive with his leather-bound thumb drive, the wedding photographer with her engraved wooden flash drive portfolio, and also the college student with her key-shaped USB drive which she fills with her assignments. Yes, the formerly boring rectangular pen drive can now be customised with casings made of wood, rubber, metal, leather, and so much more! Whoever you are or whatever your data, let your imagination take flight and express yourself with customised USB flash drives.

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