Five Cool Solar-Powered Toys To Decorate Your Desk

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These solar-powered toys are attractive enough to display on your desk or windowsill and still appear professional, while their constant, gentle motion helps relieve your stress -- really!

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These guys might be familiar; they've been on the internet and accessory shops for ages. They're called Nohohon Zoku (carefree family), and were originally created by Tomy in 2002 to alleviate stress. Their silent, gentle side-to-side motion is hypnotic, a characteristic shared by all of the items on this list.

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Nonohons normally appear in pastel color with round heads and smiling faces, and there's a large variety of styles. They also appear as commercial figures like Disney characters and Pokemon. We're partial to this Gloomy Bear version ($16).

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The Flip Flap is only a pot with two leaves, yet its sleek curves are strangely attractive. Since it's a steal on ThinkGeek for $4.99, we bought one, thinking we'd have to keep it stashed somewhere the cats couldn't reach it. But unlike every other object or toy we've ever placed on a windowsill or desk, they have ignored it, catapulting it in our estimation to the #1 spot.

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This orangutan is a perpetual climber, shifting his arms over each other in a never-ending cycle. Does he ever get anywhere, or is his struggle in vain? You'll only know if you buy it ($14.99). Some assembly required, so you can even play creator of the little plastic being you're about to send into Sisyphean trials.

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This solar motion plane ride ($39.99) is by far the ultimate in solar-powered desk toys. Styled after a fairground ride and measuring a whopping (for desk toys, anyway) 9.75 inches, it's one gadget that is bound to attract attention.

If you're not sold on the planes, there's also a Ferris Wheel. Both include built-in lamps that can light your desk, or alternatively power the device.

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Another nohohon style toy, these maneki neko (lucky cats) draw in good fortune, luck and health with their waving paw. There are lots of styles, from cute ones with smiling faces ($19.95), to rotund stylized ones, to ones that look like they could be in a traditional painting ($15.95). Take your pick; who among us couldn't do with a little extra luck?

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