Looking for something to plug into your extra USB socket? Look no further: the design shop Schulze and Webb bring you the Availbot.

Designed by a graduate of the RCA's Interaction Design programme, the Availbot is a little figure that resembles a Lego man and represents the availability of your chosen chat buddy online.

When the buddy it represents is online, it stands upright. If the buddy is unavailable, it flops face first off its pedestal and plays dead.

Although they're not on sale yet, the Availbots will come in a variety of designs to match each customer's physical appearance.

Because each Availbot operates from a USB socket, you can have as many Availbots as you do free sockets. Perhaps it's time for an Availbot challenge: how many Availbots can you set up on your system.

In a stroke of genius, the designers encoded the IM details of the buddy it represents into the puppet itself, so they suggest that you could buy a few, encode them with your IM details, and hand them out like business cards.



to watch the video of it in action.