10 Stupid, Crazy, Wonderful Gadget Fails

10 Stupid, Crazy, Wonderful Gadget Fails

More than most other fields, technology prides itself on being a hotbed of innovation. But it’s easy to forget that innovation is messy. For every iPod, there are a few dozen portable, wrist-mounted eight-track players. Here are 10 failed gadgets that were unabashedly crazy.

This was a full-size fully functional virtual keyboard that could be projected and touched on any surface, intended for use with phones, PCs, tablets, and even sterile medical equipment. It was presented by partner Siemens Procurement Logistics Services from Germany at the CeBIT fair in Germany in 2002.
Photo: Martin Meissner/AP [clear]

Think “phablets” are a new thing? This techno-Frankenstein from 2001 combined the functions of a notebook, a WAP mobile phone, a camera, a touchscreen and a touchpad.
Photo: Michael Sohn/AP [clear]

Philips Virtual Pinball. Paula van Meijl, a Philips employee, is testing the vibration-sensitive console of Virtual Pinball. God help her.
Photo: Fabian Bimmer/AP [clear]

Mobile phone? HA! You hold your phone in your hand like a peasant? In 1998, Swatch demoed the “Swatch Talk”, which could be used as a cordless phone.
Photo: Fabian Bimmer/AP [clear]

This here is a prototype of the NCR corporation’s Microwave Bank. It was supposed to let you pay bills, transfer money and use the internet, right from your kitchen. You know, by sticking your face right up against the box in your house that produces radiation.
Photo: Fabian Bimmer/AP [clear]

Forget Google Glass. The Xybernaut was around way back in 2000. Like today’s version, it was voice-activated, although this one was attached by an inflatable collar and weighed almost a kilo.
Photo: Fabian Bimmer/AP [clear]

“The Swiss have a watchphone? HA. We will use the might of German engineering to produce a PENPHONE,” said German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to Siemens in 2004, probably. The “penphone” was a prototype with an integrated triband cellular phone, and possibly had ballpoint or gel ink cartridge.
Photo: Christof Stache/AP [clear]

Samsung had a watchphone too — the SPH-S100, shown at CES in 2001. No one remembers or cares if Swatched minded, but word is Apple is considering buying up the Swiss company to retroactively sue Samsung.
Photo: Laura Rauch/AP [clear]

This is InteliData’s new MoneyClip from 1997. It was a lot like Google Wallet, just on a 3.5-inch floppy disk. It was a smartcard reader, meant to provide banks and consumers with state of the art security and banking tech… on a 3.5-inch floppy disk.
Photo: Marty Lederhandler/AP [clear]

NTT DoCoMo took the great watchphone concept boom at the turn of the century and made it into a genuinely less shitty concept: a watchphone that’s also a computer, and lets you talk through the bones in your finger. You’d talk into your pinky, listen out of your thumb, hang up by snapping your fingers, and look like an enormous dork.
Photo: Tsugufumi Matsumoto/AP [clear]

Images curated by Attila Nagy [clear]