Mad scientists and their weird inventions have always captured popular imagination. From Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times to Ian Fleming and Roald Dahl's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, eccentric inventions have endeared themselves to the masses across generations. Modern technology has had its share of whacky inventions too.
1. Home Endoscope
The eTime Home Endoscope is nothing but a pen shaped webcam with an illuminator built in. While this may be a good way of positioning a web cam specifically designed to give you good close ups of poorly lit spaces, the way it is named sets it up for trouble. An endoscope is a medical device used to look inside the body by inserting it through the mouth, rectum, or any other opening or incision. This is usually done by qualified and trained medical personnel with the patient under varying levels of sedation or anesthesia. Risks include injury and perforation of organs. Strange that the makers would offer a product that can tempt the uninformed user to actually attempt home endoscopy!
2. The iGrill
This is a spacey looking kitchen thermometer that tells your Apple device the temperature of the food you are cooking, via Bluetooth. Mainly targeted at grilling, it gives you the option of dual probe support, with which you can monitor two different temperatures for two different pieces of meat at the same time. It also gives you loads of recipes and stuff that will keep you occupied once you have finished figuring out its "menu" options. This gadget really comes across as contrived, designed more to give you an excuse to show off your iThing rather than help you grill or cook better.
3. Jeans Keyboard
This is a concept keyboard that comes sewn into your jeans, with a mouse, and even speakers, so that your trousers can take on the entire range of peripherals. This promises to take your weirdness quotient to an all time high not only as you wonder how to wash your jeans, but as you try to explain what you are doing fiddling with your crotch all the time.
4. Electronic Day Clock
A clock that shows only the day of the week may be dismissed by many as a novelty. Well, not only does it exist, but the US patent office has more than 3000 registered patents for this quirky and somewhat pointless invention. Perfect solution for those who need to be clued in only to the day of the week by a device.
5. Robotic Lawn Mowers
The perfect invention for volunteering with house work on match days. These outdoor cousins of Roomba come in many avatars, from the Husqvarna Automower to the LawnBott. All you need to do is mark out where your lawn ends and your neighbor's begins.
6. Laser guided scissors
This one is for people who just can't make the cut straight. The scissor has a laser pointer built into one of the grips that gives you a straight line that you can follow. Weird that the designers did not consider what happens to the "laser straight" line if you cannot keep your scissor straight.
7. Self Propelled Suitcases
This suitcase has electronic sensors built into its handles that read how much force you are exerting to pull the suitcase and the incline of the surface it is on. The moment it detects high force or inclines, it engages the wheels to give the suitcase a speed of up to 3 miles per hour. The motorized wheels disengage once the sensors figure out that the incline has eased out or that you are not struggling as much as you were. These friendly suitcases manufactured by Hammacher Schlemmer are made of the same stuff that your car bumpers are made of, which is good thing in case it goes off on its own and bumps into something.
8. Prenatal Education Systems
This is an auditory learning product showcased at the CES 2010 that can be used by pregnant mothers to speed up the learning capabilities of their yet to be born child. Just strap on the pouch, load the lesson, and your baby starts learning while still in your womb.
9. Electronic Cigars
With the debate on how safe it was to switch to electronic cigarettes still raging, Krave now has an electronic cigar that delivers its pure shot of nicotine along with a bit of water vapor. Weird, since true cigar connoisseurs smoke them for the flavors and the aroma.
10. Transparent Electric Toasters
If you have always wanted to toast your bread to that bit beyond golden brown but not that close to black, here is your answer. Magimix has finally unveiled its transparent electric toaster after five trial versions over fifteen years of research. The weirdness factor here lies in the fact that it costs close to ten times more than a regular toaster. The manufacturers must have figured that it would still be a small price to pay for the joy of watching your bread toast, isn't it?