Kickstarter is an amazing platform for getting new ideas from regular folk, like you or I, off the ground. VR headsets, smartwatches, and affordable 3D printers are all some of the biggest successes from the platform that have gone on to create large businesses from their ideas. In a lot of ways, crowdfunding has revolutionized some industries by tackling high-risk ideas which would never have received classic funding.
This democratization of investing in new products has opened the doors to many people who would never have had the chance to build their inventions and gadgets which have now been released to the masses. The downside to that is crowdfunding has also opened the door for people to pitch some really bad ideas and atrocious inventions.
Creating a new product requires that you to go off the beaten path and play around with ideas some people may think of as crazy. That’s part of the process. But sometimes inventors go way too far into the wilderness and deliver ideas that are either unnecessary or downright dangerous for the users. So here are the 15 dumbest Kickstarter gadgets that have ever been conceived. So far.
15. Baba Invisible Panties
“I want some panties made from clear strips of plastic,” said no woman ever. But here we are with the Baba Invisible Panties that are advertised to be comfortable, invisible, and sexy. And, hey, check out their sales pitch:
Absolutely invisible panties! Use them every day, be sexy and free, even when you’re having “special women’s” days!
Technically, they’re not absolutely invisible since they have those tiny white plastic buckles. I also don’t know about the elasticity of those clear plastic, so I suspect keeping them from slipping off might be an issue. And that’s not to mention that I can’t think of a single person who would ever consider these panties “sexy.” Fortunately, the Baba Invisible Panties failed to get it’s $10,000 funding and received only $130.
14. PAUL – The Sexiest Smartphone Charger on the Planet
Paul is what happens when art goes wrong. Billed as the sexiest smartphone charger on the planet, it’s basically just a foam male bust with a charger for your iPhone in the groin area. Even worse, the power cord is retractable from the bust’s anus which I assume is a pun on “butt plugs.” Sure, this was set up as a satirical piece that makes a commentary on technology but I can’t imagine anyone actually wanting to own one. Thankfully, it wasn’t funded but at least five people on the planet wanted one which is a horrifying thought.
13. Perpetual Energy
There’s just so much wrong with this one that I’m at a loss where to begin. First of all, perpetual renewable energy breaks the laws of physics — it’s impossible. The campaign doesn’t even give you a single hint as to how a perpetual energy machine would even work. Plus, you wouldn’t get your own machine since they were just funding a prototype. Beyond all of that is the fact that I’ve never seen such a poorly constructed Kickstarter page in my life. Terribly written copy, no perks, and the introduction video is a minute and a half long followed by three minutes of black. I cannot fathom how eight people pledged $203 in total of the project’s $30,000 goal.
12. Popcorn Strainer Marketing Fund
Ever wonder if there was any possible way to strain your popcorn kernels from your popped corn? Of course you haven’t, it’s a dumb idea. So, without any further ado, the next thing on our list is the is the popcorn strainer. While this device isn’t as crazy as some of the other things that made this list, it is pretty useless. Popcorn kernels naturally drop to the bottom of a bowl with a good shake so they naturally strain themselves. If you don’t want to eat a kernel along with your popped corn, just don’t. The shape and texture of both are so different that you can easily eat around them blindfolded. Fortunately, most people recognize this and the product failed to be funded.
11. StackUp, the easy-to- use stand for preformed potato chips.
Speaking of useless food related gadgets, here is the StackUp: the easy to use stand for preformed potato chips — aka, Pringles. Until I saw this product, I never thought that there was a problem with presenting Pringles potato chips to your friends. After seeing the product… I still don’t think there’s a problem with how to present Pringles to your friends. In fact, I would argue putting them in a bowl makes it easier to access the chips than this thing. As you’d expect, the StackUp didn’t get funded and failed to raise anywhere near the €69,000 goal.
10. Boxy Bed – The Ultimate Cat Bed
Cats and cardboard boxes go together like ketchup and fries, like Laurel and Hardy, like Eddie Van Halen and guitar solos. So I guess it was just a matter of time before someone tried to sell boxes made specifically for cats. Here then is the next entry on dumb Kickstarter ideas: the Boxy Bed. For a pledge of just $30, you could have gotten a medium sized colored box for your feline friend — or you could just get a larger free box from practically anywhere else. At that price, you’d expect the Boxy Bed to be made out of carbon fiber, or some other space age material. But you’re wrong; it’s made from paper. The creators claim that the material is 600% more durable than cardboard but I’d bet this thing wouldn’t last more than 6 months. 324 people backed this project but it failed to raise the $50,000 funding goal.
9. Paravelo: The world’s first flying bicycle
Want to be a hazard to everything and everyone, especially yourself? Why not get your hands on the world’s first flying bicycle! The Paravelo is literally just a paraglider with a bike attached to it and conceived as a way to get you from point A to point B faster. Because it’s a low flying machine you don’t need a pilot’s license but if you live in a city this thing is effectively useless. If you live in the mountains, again — useless. If there’s a lot of wind, well, you get the idea. As much fun as this thing could be (and I’ll admit, it looks fun) there’s really no difference between this and a regular paraglider so you may as well use that as a form of transportation instead. Surprisingly, 1/5th of this project was funded before the campaign timer ran out. Another failure for hair-brained ideas and a win for common sense.
8. The Wooden Bowtie project. Wood bow ties for everyone
For those of you who are tired of tying bowties, the wooden bow tie project is for you. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a bowtie made of wood you wear around your neck. How someone thought that wearing cedar instead of cloth around your neck is a brilliant idea escapes me. Fall the wrong way and you can really damage your windpipe wearing this thing. Unfortunately, enough people thought this was a great idea and it made its funding goal. Granted, it was only a $1,000 goal but there are now at least 30 people wearing these things.
7. OP – Beer Gadget
Here’s another device that solves a problem no one has. The OP beer gadget is a holster for your beer so that way you can go hands-free. Why you would need to go hands-free from your beer, however, is beyond me. You really shouldn’t be doing anything other than drinking beer when you’re drinking beer. Plus, the need for a holster suggests that you’ll be holding onto your beer for a good, long while and nothing sounds as delicious as warm beer that’s hanging at your hips for several hours. The project actually managed to raise €13,266 of its €60,000 goal before the project creators canceled it.
6. The Skarp Laser Razor: 21st Century Shaving
The Skarp laser razor is actually one of the biggest vaporware Kickstarter stories. The creators claimed they had a working prototype of a razor that uses a laser to shave hair off of your face. After $4 million had been raised, Kickstarter suspended the project when it was revealed that there was no actual working prototype. Skarp then moved to Indiegogo where it raised over $500,000 and promised to deliver the device by March 2016. A year later and they’ve yet to deliver it. The website is promising that the device is still “coming soon” but, more likely, the creators are now $500,000 richer.
5. Fish on Wheels
Fish are the most boring pets you can have. There, I said it. Fish in an aquarium are more like a living wallpaper than actual pets, in my humble opinion, but what if you could give them some motion on land? Well then, that’s where Fish on Wheels comes in by making an aquarium with wheels on it. The whole thing is actually steered by the fish which is tracked by a motion camera over the tank. Let’s just hope your home has no stairs and that you don’t trip over this in the dark trying to get to the restroom. Only €5,281 was pledged of €40,000 goal so we’ll never have to worry about that happening to our fishy friends.
4. Bike Balls Bicycle Light
Ever think to yourself, “you know, what my bicycle needs are some testicles that light up hanging off the back.” Of course you haven’t — but someone has. Having a light hanging off the back of your bike seat is a great idea for visibility. But the product resembles a scrotum that lights up red as if it has a rash and oddly swings to-and-fro when you ride your bike. The people who purchase something like this are the same that hang chrome testicles off the trailer hitch on their pickup trucks — and there are at least 2,177 of them who raised $11,784 CAD of this project’s $85,662 CAD goal.
3. loe cover
There are all kinds of useful cell phone cases that double as something else. Phone cases that double as a wallet are pretty common or even specialty cases that add a physical keyboard are available for those who hate using the touchscreen. What I’ve never heard anyone ask for, however, is a cell phone case that doubles as a shoe horn — which is what the loe cover would do for you. Something about using a device near my foot that I place near my face just sounds revolting and possibly unsanitary. Fortunately, enough people decided not to fund the loe cover and, lo-and-behold, it failed to raise anywhere near its €99,500 goal.
2. Silver anti-radiation underwear
Looking to protect your genitals from harmful radiation emitted from your cell phone? Silver anti-radiation underwear has your gonads covered! There is, of course, several problems with this product. First of all, I doubt there’s enough silver in this underwear to protect your private region from any radiation other than light. Secondly, there is no proof that cell phones even cause genital cancers as the rate hasn’t changed since mobiles became ubiquitous. Those facts don’t seem to have any impact on 17 people who successfully funded this project. The worst part is that at least 17 people would be caught dead wearing these hideous things — even underneath their pants.
1. Roto phone holder
This is hands down my favorite Kickstarter bad idea. It’s a holder for your phone that is fitted to your steering wheel so you can use your phone while you drive. Never mind that you shouldn’t be using your phone as you drive (hands-free or not), there’s another potential hazard that is actually addressed on the Kickstarter campaign and which I’ll quote here (misspellings left in for dramatic effect):
The only thing i have come upon is the situation of the air-bag.
Yeah, being hit in the face with your phone as a projectile if you get into an accident (probably because you were texting on your steering column) is a bit of an issue. But don’t worry, they have a solution:
i believe i have addressed this, with a clause on the packaging that states, “Not suitable for airbags.”
Thank god this thing got nowhere near its goal.
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