17 Tech Inventions That Will Make You Say ‘What Were They Thinking?

Within the dynamic landscape of technology, not every invention is successful. Some, despite grand ambitions and soaring expectations, fail to connect with users. In this article, we’ll look at 17 pieces of technology that never stood a chance.

The Segway

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Launched in 2001, the Segway Personal Transporter promised to redefine urban mobility with self-balancing technology. However, impracticality prevailed as most cities weren’t designed for stand-up scooters, rendering sidewalks and bike lanes overcrowded and roads unsafe. Coupled with a high price tag, Segways now primarily serve mall cops and tour groups.

Nintendo Virtual Boy

Having To Blow The Dust From Nintendo Game Cartridges
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Nintendo’s early attempt at VR in the mid-1990s promised immersive 3D gaming but delivered migraine-inducing visuals, eye strain from a heavy headset, and a limited game library. Even devoted Nintendo fans couldn’t embrace this early venture into virtual reality, leading to its swift discontinuation.

QR Code Gravestones

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The concept was simple: engrave gravestones with QR codes to access webpages with photos and life stories of the deceased. However, people resisted tech intrusion into final resting places, preferring traditional methods of remembrance. Pulling out phones in graveyards felt inappropriate, serving as a reminder that not everything, including death, requires a digital upgrade.

3D Televisions

Memorizing the TV Channels
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Once touted as a game-changer in TV viewing, 3D televisions fell short of expectations. People found the clunky glasses uncomfortable, often leading to headaches and dizziness during extended use. Limited content availability further hampered their adoption. Eventually, consumers reverted to traditional televisions, relegating 3D TVs to expensive, underutilized living room decorations.

The Smart Fridge

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Smart fridges introduced features like digital shopping lists, recipe recommendations, and low-stock alerts. While the idea seemed promising, it didn’t revolutionize domestic convenience. Priced at over $2000, it remained an unaffordable luxury for most households. Moreover, software glitches raised concerns and imagine being unable to access your fridge due to a failed update!

Hoverboards

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Hoverboards, despite their name, didn’t deliver the promised revolution in personal transportation. Users found them challenging to balance, leading to injuries. Reports of spontaneous fires added to the problems. Moreover, their disappointing battery life and high cost made them less attractive, given their price tag often matched that of a secondhand car.

The Amazon Fire Phone

The Type Of Phone We Used
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Released in 2014, the Amazon Fire Phone aimed to be a unique smartphone but felt gimmicky and confusing to users. Its heavy integration with Amazon deterred Android users, and the limited app variety hampered its appeal. Despite aggressive pricing and promotions, the Fire Phone failed to spark consumer interest and was discontinued within a year.

Digital Photo Frames

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Digital photo frames were once hailed as the revolution in family photo display. The concept, however, fell short of expectations. These frames, with their energy-consuming, picture-swapping screens emitting constant light, failed to captivate users. The long process of setting up a memory card with high-resolution, appropriately sized photos dampened their appeal. Ultimately, many of these frames found themselves on thrift store shelves.

Google Glass

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Google Glass, with its vision of integrating the internet into eyewear, promised screenless connectivity. Unfortunately, this ambitious technology felt intrusive, and its drawbacks outweighed the convenience it offered compared to a standard smartphone. The $1500 price tag didn’t help either, especially when concerns about privacy arose. Users were hesitant to don a pair of geeky specs that might be recording their every move.

Smell-o-Vision

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In 1960, inventor Hans Laube introduced the Smell-o-Vision system. It released scents relevant to scenes in movie theaters. Unfortunately, the audience wasn’t impressed. The synthetic, unevenly distributed scents often lingered beyond their intended scenes and mixed unpleasantly. Furthermore, not every movie scent was desirable, making the concept less appealing than imagined.

Juicero

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The issue with the $700 Wi-Fi-enabled Juicero wasn’t its ability to juice but the fact that users could do the same with their hands. The overpriced fruit and veg packets were convenient, but users soon realized they could achieve similar results manually. This perception left customers feeling deceived, highlighting the folly of using technology to solve non-existent problems.

The Sinclair C5

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Released in 1985, the Sinclair C5 aimed to revolutionize urban commuting as a one-person electric vehicle. However, its low speed, low riding position, and limited battery life made it impractical and somewhat risky, especially around larger vehicles. Misleading marketing added to customer disappointment, and its perceived lack of coolness didn’t help its case.

Facebook Portal

Facebook PK Studio _ Shutterstock.com
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While the idea of a video chat device creating a sense of presence seemed appealing, the timing of Facebook Portal’s release couldn’t have been worse. It coincided with Facebook’s privacy scandals, making the idea of a Facebook-operated camera in homes unattractive. This exemplified how a creator’s credibility and reputation could doom an otherwise promising invention.

Microsoft Zune

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Microsoft’s attempt to challenge Apple’s iPod arrived too late in 2006. Hindered by a bulky design and a media library that couldn’t match iTunes’ diversity, Zune struggled to gain a significant market share. Its less catchy name added to the challenges.

HD-DVD

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In a format war with Blu-ray, Toshiba-backed HD-DVD ultimately lost out. Despite a lower price point, it suffered from technical limitations, offering less storage and slower read speeds than Blu-ray, resulting in noticeably poorer quality. When Warner Bros. exclusively chose Blu-ray, HD-DVD’s fate was sealed.

The Power Glove

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The Power Glove, a cool-looking Nintendo controller, aimed to offer a futuristic gaming experience but frustrated gamers with its overly sensitive controls. A steep learning curve and a limited number of compatible games made it user-unfriendly. Despite its sci-fi appearance, its charm quickly waned, and gamers switched to more user-friendly controllers.

The Clapper

Clapper Light Switches
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Not even a catchy jingle could save the sound-activated electrical switch known as the Clapper from being a mere novelty. Inadequate development led to any loud noise triggering the device, causing impractical strobe effects with repetitive noises like barking dogs. The advent of smart home devices and voice assistants overshadowed any convenience it offered.

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20 THINGS THAT WEREN’T CONSIDERED LUXURIES 20–30 YEARS AGO (BUT ARE NOW)

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