Firstly, to dispel any initial astonishment, the Wind-Up USB drive is powered by the computer in use. Its appearance is, of course, a purely aesthetic and symbolic reference to the mechanical crank of antique toys.
But the formal suggestion made by designer Ignacio Pilotto is a witty one, bridging the enormous gap between technology one hundred years ago compared to now, and underlining the fact that man is still the driving force behind such developments. In this case, not manually or even directly, but in terms of the minds and the manufacturers who have cooperatively realized intelligent machines.
So what we have of the Wind-Up USB thumbdrive are your typical hi-tech micro parts covered in a case of molded plastic to resemble the turning key of an old toy car or waddling wooden duck.