By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
In the spirit of Halloween, we’d like share some of the scariest inventions — those that make you scratch your head and ask, “What were they thinking?” For all of the successful entrepreneurs out there, there are many more that have failed to launch the next “must-have.” How is a noose-like head-rest safe? Or, who would want to have toilet-paper head? And why would anyone want to wear a bee-keeper hood in the shower? By exploring these insane inventions, we want to discover where they went wrong and how to avoid similar pitfalls.
Besides for looking like a noose, the subway headrest is impractical for many other reasons. Consider the portability of a head crutch. Even when it folds up, it’s extremely large and bulky. On a subway, rolling out your head crutch not only is annoying to others, but it shows you are so lazy, you need a crutch to hold-up your head. Selling a badge of laziness and embarrassment is no way to create a fan-base.
What ever happened to a handkerchief or pocket-size Kleenex? Typically, when we have a cold (the only reason to wear such a contraption), holding a tissue box is enough. You have enough problems without having a toilet paper roll on your head. Literally, the inventor took a toiletry item and placed it on the head. In general, the head is a place typically assigned for nothing more than a hat — not toiletry items. If you’re improving upon an invention, consider the symbolic value of the object you’re updating. By ignoring such symbolic value, well…
Finnish Portable Sauna
Who doesn’t enjoy a spa treatment once in a while? Mani-pedi kits and other at-home pamper treatments have been no doubt successful. That leads us to the elephant in the room — or, the Finnish portable sauna. Consider the ease of use and your audience demographic before handing them a scary looking steam tube. Not only is the Finnish portable sauna have a lot of potential safety issues, it’s extremely bulky even looks difficult to use. Why not facilitate the sauna experience with a steam machine — or at least one that doesn’t include wrapping the consumer like a baked potato.
Unfortunately for the shower hood inventors, the bee-keeper fashion wave never quite took off like they might have hoped. The shower hood exemplifies the “excessive product.” Why have an entire hood when all you need is a cap? Essentially, keep it simple. Apple does it, IKEA does it, Nike does it — how can you do it? How can you trim the fat from your product and just get down to basics?
What the man in the horn-rimmed glasses wouldn’t do to have been born 40 years later. Everyone, you have the pre-cursor to the iPhone. But why was this mini TV not an overnight sensation? For one, it only has one function: TV. Programming on the iPhone is partly permissible because it’s also a phone, mp3 player, and much much more. And the mini TV partly failed to launch because of one simple technicality: it doesn’t fit in your pocket. Had Apple developed a product 3-4x the size of the iPhone, it wouldn’t be portable – thus rendering it just another bulky “mobile” phone, and not a “how-do-they-do-that” phone.
For further scary inventions go to:
Image by Logan Thiebaud from Stock.Xchng