Not all gadgets are winners. And it turns out that many of them are complete losers. The massive electronic bonanza known as CES 2023 is on the books and it featured plenty ofof its own, from a pee-reading toilet to a chopping board with a screen. But what if we go back and watch the CES shows of yore?
Over the past 20+ years, I’ve seen gadgets so amazing they sometimes seem to exist only because journalists like me write about them. But it’s time to call the most horrible, the worst of the worst. Shoe vacuum cleaners, toilet paper robots, MP3 weapon cases, it’s up to you to shine!
The most interesting part of this rogue gallery is that some of these products – the Pepe Pet Dryer, the HapiFork and the Hushme, to name a few – are still sold today. It’s true: you blew it up, maniacs!
Dyson Zone air purifying headphones
Not technically a CES product, as was announced in 2022, but Dyson was demonstrating the Zone headphones in Las Vegas during CES 2023. Although the Zone looks like it should be a COVID mask, unfortunately that’s not what he does. According to the Dyson site, development on the Zone began in 2016 as a personal air filter – for pollution, primarily – and as such it was never intended to protect against COVID. Moreover, one reviewer claimed that the gadget’s forced fans might even help maximize your chances of catching the coronavirus. CNET’s Katie Collins, who tried it on at Dyson’s UK headquarters, thought it was “ .”
Computing peripheral maker Razer is the king of creating “watch me” products specifically for CES, but toilet paper brand Charmin rose to fame for this 2020 entry. That’s right, the year that saw thecame a robot that could bring you even more! Chance? Yes probably. The RollBot was never going to be a real product, but we loved/hated it anyway.
Kolibree smart toothbrush
Remember when we had to wash our hands for 20 seconds in? The same methodology also applies to brushing your teeth, but why should you use your own brain and your own lips as a suction cup? There have been many smart toothbrushes over the years, but today I choose the Kolibree. everything was right fine until the arrival of “the world’s first connected electric toothbrush”. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…
MP3 Taser Holster
In the 2000s, thethat every company rushed to create its own MP3 player. This resulted in what is one of the dumbest CES products in recent memory: the Tazer MP3 case. Imagine trying to not only charge your case, but also connect it via USB to your computer to fill it with 1GB of music.
Pepe Pet Dryer
Want to find a new way to make your little dog or cat hate you forever? Lock them in a cube prison for 25 minutes (!) and subject them to blasts of hot air. This torture device/dryer combo would have cost you $660, or you could just throw a towel over your wet dog like a normal human.
Throughout history, there have been so many gadgets designed to limit normal human behavior, but this one takes the (pan) cake. The HapiFork is another vibrating gadget that tells you to eat your meals more slowly (over 20 minutes), the idea being that you’re less likely to overeat. Personally, I swallow my own meals like I’m in jail, so do your best, HapiFork. I will eat with my hands if necessary! You are not my boss!
The Hushme is literally a “dumb” product – it’s designed to mute its user to other people in the immediate vicinity. It’s been touted as being useful in the workplace, but…if a co-worker gave me one, he’d better wear vacuum shoes, in order to clean up the happily trampled bits.
The original Belty was a prototype smart belt with a motor that adjusted based on whether you had just eaten or were sitting down. Not practical as hell, but kinda cool? Although there is a newer model, also called Belty, this one is even weirder – it doesn’t have auto-sizing, but it does have a power bank charger in the loop. Alright, two things. Not only do I not I want a potentially volatile compound near my stockings, I also don’t want to connect a bunch of devices to it.
First shown at CES 1998, the Hitachi Xybernaut laptop was a terrible idea long beforewas even a gleam in Babak Parviz’s eyes. The Windows CE-based Xybernaut Poma offered a 128MHz RISC processor and 32MB of RAM for the low price of $1,499, plus it strapped to your arm, face, and belt!
Denso vacuum shoes
Shoes. You wear them. They wear out, you buy more. But that’s not exciting now, is it? They need things in them — telephones, rockets, rollers and… vacuum cleaners? There are so many puns I could do, even just the name of the Denso Vacuum Shoes, but the fact that they existed was the biggest joke of them all.