Monday, September 5, 2011

Ridiculous Engineering (Wothless Inventions)

     Hey interweb. As an engineer, one of my favorite things to do is peruse technology stores. I like to look at the newest innovations, concepts, and advancements in just about all facets of technology. I also keep up in the techno news with things like healthcare tech, computer technology, entertainment technology, automotive technology, and my favorite is green technology because it represents mankind doing something totally new and answering difficult questions. Mankind really has done many amazing things over the last century and I have an uncontrollable desire to know how it all works.

     The reason for this post however, is the less glorious side of engineering, the problems that were either poorly solved or things that are solutions to problems that do not exist. I came across something called the privacy scarf. Basically the purpose of this scarf is to go around your head and the piece of technology on which you have sensitive information, hiding the screen. What part of this seems like a good idea?! Basically if you are using this in public, you are putting on a sign that says "I have an expensive piece of technology with private information on it and I can no longer see my attacker, so please beat the bloody piss out of me and take my laptop and my identity. While you're at it, please treat me like your prison 'friend."' That's a long sign but an invention this ridiculous deserves it. There are screen protectors that limit peripheral one!
     A few days after seeing this, I found a waterproof in-car GPS at a local store. The only practical reason for this to exist in my mind would be if you don't leave it in your car (like 99% of users) and you don't put it in the case (UNlike 99% of that 1%) and you accidentally drop it in a puddle. But the only realistic application that I could come up with was that they could discover your coordinates of where you drowned when your car went off the road.
     A product that just came out recently is the goatee shaver. This is a mouthpiece that you hold in your mouth and goes around your lips like a duck that got punched in the bill. This just screams sanitary. The female version of this is the lip stick guide which is a Hannibal Lecter mask for women preventing lip stick smears. As if women needed any other excuse or way to be absolutely terrifying in the morning.
     A relatively new one in the automotive world is water sensing windshield wipers. What do you think the chances are of something going wrong with these automatic windshield wipers when compared to something as complex as ..... a switch? But they are very necessary, I can't tell you the last time that I was driving a car and could not see the rain, or was frustrated that my arms were so short that I could not reach said switch. Just something else to drive up the cost of the car. This is simply an expensive trick for a man in the midst of a mid life crisis to show his friends when he sprays his car with the hose. Another one from the automotive world is the exhaust pipe that grills hamburgers. It supposedly has no contact with the exhaust gasses but I know that I still wouldn't eat it during the survival situation where I somehow got my car in a place that I couldn't walk out of or call AAA.

     To me, these are nothing more than things made by people trying to get rich off of the impulsiveness and ignorance of the masses. As an engineer, we are trained to try and think about all of the ways in which a consumer will potentially use our product and try to make sure that the product can withstand the greatest amount of foreseeable abuse. As a consumer, we need to be trained against the stupidity of some engineers and their ability to steal our money.

     What is the most useless thing that you have ever bought? I myself have unfortunately and shamefully bought a Snuggie.


  1. I bought a stuffed panda at a zoo in China. It cost 20 DOLLARS, and it began balding within three days.

    RIP, Panda.

  2. Thanks for droppng by Hf,K. I'ts always nice to met new people and to explore. Your blog is both witty and informative and I dig it. Keep up the good work. If I good write nearly as well as you, I would be a happy camper.

  3. Wow, those are some truly useless inventions. My favorite is the ramen noodle cooler. It's a Japanese invention (of course), and it consists of 2 chopsticks that have a motorized fan attached to it, so it can cool down your steaming hot ramen noodles while you eat. Not kidding.

  4. This inventions are hilarious but not as useless/creative as some of the things I've seen come out of Asia. :P