Not every gadget is a winner. And as it turns out, quite a few are complete losers. The massive electronic bonanza known as CES 2023 is in the books and has featured plentytheir own, from toilets for reading pee to a cutting board with a screen. But what if we turn back the clock to watch past CES shows?
Over the past 20+ years, I’ve seen gadgets so mind-blowing that sometimes they seem to exist just because journalists like me are writing about them. But it’s time to bring up the truly awful, the worst of the worst. Vacuum cleaners, toilet paper robots, MP3 gun holsters, it’s time to shine!
The most interesting part about this rogue gallery is that some of these products – Pepe Pet Dryer, HapiFork, and Hushme, among them – are still for sale. That’s right: you blew it up, maniacs!
Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones
It’s technically not a CES product as announced in 2022, but Dyson was demonstrating the Zone headphones in Las Vegas during CES 2023. While the Zone looks like a COVID mask, it’s sadly not. According to the Dyson website, development of the Zone began as far back as 2016 as a personal air filter – mostly for pollutants – and as such was never designed to protect against COVID. Moreover, one critic claimed that the gadget’s force-driven fans could even help maximize your chances of catching the coronavirus. CNET’s Katie Collins, who tried it out at Dyson’s UK headquarters, thought it was “ “.
Computer peripherals maker Razer is the king of creating ‘look at me’ products specifically for CES, but toilet paper brand Charmin became known for this entry in 2020. True, in the year he sawcame a robot that can bring you even more! Coincidence? Yes, probably. The RollBot was never meant 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? The same methodology applies to brushing your teeth as well, but why would you use your own brain and mouth like a sucker? There have been many smart toothbrushes over the years, but today I choose the Kolibree. Everything was just Thin until the advent of “the world’s first connected electric toothbrush”. Happy birthday, happy birthday…
Taser MP3 holster
Back in the 2000sthat every company was rushing to create its own MP3 player. It ended up being one of the dumbest CES products in recent memory: the Tazer MP3 Holster. Imagine trying not only to charge the holster, but also to connect it via USB to your computer to fill it with 1GB of songs.
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 expose them to blasts of hot air. That combo of torture device and dryer would set you back $660, or you could just throw a towel over a wet dog like a normal human.
Throughout history, there have been so many gadgets designed to curb normal human behavior, but this one (pancake) wins out. HapiFork is another vibrating gadget that tells you to eat your meals more slowly (over 20 minutes) with the aim of reducing the likelihood of overeating. Personally, I devour my own meals like I’m in prison, so do what you can, HapiFork. I’ll eat with my hands if I have to! You are not my boss!
Hushme is literally a “dumb” product – it has been designed so that its user calms down to other people in the immediate vicinity. It was said to be useful in workplaces, but… if a co-worker gave me one, he’d better be wearing vacuum boots to clean up the gleefully trampled bits.
The original Belty was a prototype smart belt with a built-in motor that would adjust to whether you were just eating or sitting. Impractical as hell, but cool? While there is a newer model, also called the Belty, this one is even weirder – it doesn’t have auto-fitting, but it does have a power bank charger in the buckle. Okay, two things. Not only me no i want a potentially volatile compound near my nethers, i also don’t want to plug a bunch of devices in there.
The Hitachi Xybernaut wearable computer, first shown at CES 1998, was a terrible idea long beforethere was even a twinkle in Babak Parviz’s eye. The Windows CE-based Xybernaut Poma offered a 128MHz RISC processor and 32MB of RAM for the low price of $1499, plus it was tied to an arm, face, and belt!
Denso vacuum shoes
Footwear. you wear them. They wear out, you buy more. But that’s not exciting anymore, is it? They need things in them – telephones, rockets, roller skates and … vacuum cleaners? There are so many puns I could come up with even on the very name of the Denso vacuum shoes, but the fact that they even existed was the biggest joke of all.