Gadgets can be bizarre. Gadgets can also be helpful. A fortune is usually made when a gadget is both bizarre and helpful. There are hundreds of gadgets that have been released over the decades that have attempted to be both of these things, but only a handful of them actually succeeded in making an impact and money. Here are four bizarre gadgets that were actually pretty useful at one point or another.
1. Levi’s® Commuter™ Trucker Jacket
Just when you think technology can get any more bizarre and convenient than it already is, Google and Levi partner up to create and launch a smart jacket in 2016. Yes, you read that correctly–a smart jacket. This fashionable jacket looks like the latest from Levi’s classic line of denim jackets but it actually has a secret up its sleeve (literally).
Google’s Jacquard technology is woven into the fabric and controlled by the cuff. With this jacket, you don’t have to constantly look at a screen. Just rub the cuff of your sleeve to enjoy almost all of the functions that a smartphone could offer. You can manage calls and texts, control music, use GPS, and much more. This may sound a little out there, but it is actually convenient, especially for drivers or bikers. You don’t have to fumble with a device. Just touch your cuff and keep your hands on the wheel.
2. The Bone Fone
This is an older gadget released in 1979 that actually isn’t really a phone. It is a radio and speaker that you sort of drape around your neck like a scarf. The idea was stemmed from trying to replace headphones with a lighter alternative because back then headphones were big and bulky. The Bone Fone was also supposed to allow the music to resonate through your bones, hence the name.
The Bone Fone missed the mark in replacing bulky headphones because it weighed about five pounds, but it did hit the mark with resonating music through the bones. It was unique because the only person that could hear the music was the wearer! It sends the sound waves straight through the user’s bones up to their head. The Bone Fone became popular with skaters and bikers, but the popularity died out a few years later.
Right around the time the first generation Apple watch came out, another shocking wrist device called the Pavlock came out also. No, really…it’s a shocking device. It will buzz the bad habits right out of your routine. This device is great for people who have no willpower. With Pavlock, you don’t need any. Whenever you perform a bad habit–eating bad foods, smoking, hitting snooze on your alarm clock–the Pavlock punishes you for the bad behavior by zapping you with an electric impulse.
Punish may sound like a harsh word, but that is literally the word that the company uses in their creepy advertisement video on the splash page of their website. Creepy or not, this company backs up the device with scientific research that claims that synapses that link to the bad habits will eventually break after being shocked so many times. Your brain will, in a sense, begin to reject the bad habit. In order for the Pavlock to be completely effective, you must replace the bad behavior with a good behavior and reward yourself each time until it becomes a habit.
Before Amazon Echo there was Nabaztag, the world’s smartest rabbit. These were launched in 2015. These wi-fi enabled mechanical bunnies can tell you the weather, the stock market prices, or the latest news. They can play music, podcasts, and even pass along messages from other rabbit owners. They can’t do your grocery shopping, but they are helpful little pets when it comes to information or entertainment.
Nabaztags aren’t just little infobots. They are almost like toys. They actually have personalities and were interactive with their owners. Do you remember Furbies? Nabaztags are like Furbies mixed with Alexa. They encourage their owners to pay more attention to them and even practice Tai Chi when they’re bored.