Technology continues to advance at a staggering rate. Computers that were once the size of a room now fit in our palm as a wearable device. But just because we can strap a device to our body, doesn’t always mean that we should. Here are 10 examples of the worst wearable devices you definitely wouldn’t want to wear.
10. Virtual Boy
A portable gaming console with the capability of showing 3D graphics — what could possibly go wrong? For Nintendo’s Virtual Boy — everything. Released in 1995, the Virtual Boy was touted as a “game-changer” – pun not intended – in the gaming scene due to it using 3D graphics instead of the mainstream 2D graphics other consoles use. However, it failed due to a number of reasons. The most obvious one is that it was too bulky and heavy. But the main reason it failed is that it was a health hazard due to its poor image tracking and its predominant use of the color red.
That resulted in players experiencing migraines or even seizures in rare cases, after prolonged gaming. Those reasons, combined with the console’s steep price tag of $180 – which is about 300 dollars in today’s money – led to it being discontinued six months after its release.
Though it was a massive failure, the Virtual Boy paved the way to newer and better 3D and VR devices, minus some of the health concerns it introduced.
9. LogBar Ring
The LogBar Ring was a wearable device released in 2015.
It was designed to “shortcut everything”, as its creators put it. By doing simple gestures with it, you can do things like answering calls or texts to paying your bills in an instant. However, this “innovative” device turned out to be a dud, with some people even calling it the “worst wearable device ever made”. They raised nearly a million dollars on Kickstarter, only to create an absolutely useless device. For one, the ring is a sizable one… it’s like wearing a fat metal nut on your finger.
What made it the “worst”, however, is the fact that it is very inconvenient to use. Not only do you have to open the accompanying app at all times, draining precious battery power in the process, you also have to contend with the fact that the app works only 5-10% of the time. So the time you spend trying to make your device recognize your gestures is far longer than if you had just used your device normally.
Suffice to say, the LogBar ring is definitely not the one ring to rule them all.
8. “Beauty and the Geek” Keyboard Trousers
Back in 2012, someone thought it was wise to design trousers with a wireless keyboard, along with a mouse and a small speaker, built-in.
While the concept is truly laudable, incorporating technology and fashion trends together is a recipe for disaster. The trousers look truly nice. But the placement of the keyboard in said pants is a bit… off-putting. No one in their right minds would want to be seen in public typing on a keyboard that is placed directly on their crotch.
Another problem is that this costs $400, and that’s just an estimated price. Ouch. Then there’s the issue of washing it without destroying all the electronics. Here’s a word of advice: get yourself a pair of pants and a wireless keyboard and mouse combo instead. It’s cheaper and you’d look a lot less awkward.
7. Xybernaut Poma
Before Google Glass, there was the Xybernaut Poma, a wearable device released in 2002 that allowed users to perform computer tasks while on the go.
This would be revolutionary if it weren’t for a glaring problem: you’d have to carry a number of devices with you for it to work properly. Let’s list them one by one: a head-mounted screen, an optical mouse, a portable keyboard, and the case that holds the RAM, CPU, and hard disk drive.
That’s a handful for a “portable” device. Not only that, it performs slower than an average computer, so you wouldn’t be able to do complex tasks with it. Serving as the final nail in its coffin was its hefty price tag of $1500, which any reasonable person would rather spend on a laptop with far better performance. But if you’re all about that cyborg life, and tripping on wires as you work, then this gadget might just be for you.
6. Kreyos and Neptune Pine Smartwatches
Smartwatches are great devices, but they haven’t always been as refined as products like the iWatch. The Kreyos Smartwatch, for example, was touted by its creators back in 2013 as the most advanced smartwatch, being equipped with voice and gesture control.
However, all those promises came up short when the final product came to fruition, backed by $1.5 million dollars of crowdfunding through Indiegogo. What customers got was a faulty smartwatch, stripped of all its features the company promised. And while its $110 price tag wasn’t that much, people still regretted buying it, since the product was a total bust.
The second smartwatch failure, the Neptune Pine, was actually a decent piece of tech when it was released back in 2015.
It can do almost everything a smartphone can do, which is basically its downside as well. The problem is that it’s basically a miniature smartphone, measuring at 2.4 inches. Its large size is quite unsettling, especially when you put it on. You find yourself unable to put on your formal suit as it sticks out from your sleeves. And with a price tag of $350, I think it’s better to invest on a high-end smartphone and opt for a regular watch instead.
Let’s take a breather for a while, shall we? Before the introduction of these convenient wearable devices, our ancestors devised some wearables that made some people’s lives terribly uncomfortable. Here’s an example of one such device.
Can you guess what this is? Stick around till the end to find out more about this unusual, and deadly, wearable device.
5. Basis Peak and Fitbit Force
Compared to the previous examples, these two smart devices did meet customer expectations, but some unusual problems led to them being included in this list. The Basis Peak was a great fitness tracker developed in 2014.
It was loaded with a number of useful features for health-wary consumers. And though it came with a price tag of $200, its advantages seemed to far outweigh its disadvantages. However, production was halted due to a major malfunction in the units, causing it to overheat and even burn up in some cases, resulting in users suffering burns from the device. This led to a mass recall of the units, which also marked the end of Basis Peak.
Similarly, the Fitbit Force is a lightweight, easy-to-use smart device loaded with a number of useful fitness applications and it only costs $130.
It would be a nice device if it isn’t for one small problem — the device causes skin rashes. Like the Basis Peak, it led to a mass recall of the device. But unlike Basis Peak, the Fitbit brand is still present to this day, offering new products that hopefully don’t cause skin problems.
4. Oakley Thump
Music players have taken the form of many different things, such as Rubik’s Cubes, pens, and even action figures. So Oakley, a reputable sunglasses brand, decided back in 2004 to combine the functionality of a music player with one of their sunglasses.
The end product should be awesome, right? Well, not at all. For one, you’d look extremely awkward wearing it, with the earpieces visibly sticking out. Also, you’d have to adjust the glasses perfectly in order for the earpieces to fit properly in your ear.
Another problem with the device is its absurdly low storage capacity. Even if you got the 256MB version, you’d only be able to store around 60 to 70 songs on it. And then its battery life sucked, as it could only last a maximum of six hours on a full charge. Versions of the Oakley Thump retailed at around $300, which is quite a steep price for an MP3 player stuck to a pair of sunglasses. My advice? Get them separately and save a lot of money in the process.
3. QR Tie
QR codes are prevalent today; simply scan any code with a QR-scanning app and you’ll get its details instantly.
So storing a personalized QR code on yourself would be a great idea, right? Like on a business card or in your smartphone or maybe perhaps… a tie?
Said idea was conceived by a man named “Ryan J. Budke”, who thought it was a great idea to put QR codes on the back of ties. So he launched a Kickstarter campaign back in 2013. Unfortunately, this Kickstarter project of his was not successful, as only 52 backers supported his project. The fact that it’s easier to exchange information through smartphones or some other device may have contributed to the project not achieving its goal. Also not helping is the topless male model he used to advertise the product.
2. Head-Mounted Wearables
While some head-mounted wearables are fine and usable, this next set of wearables clearly isn’t. First up is the Headflat, which is basically a head-mount for your phone so you can watch movies without having to hold it.
That’s… just about it. It’s as useful as the head-mounted toilet roll dispenser or the headgear that allows you to attach extra remotes in it. There is literally no reason to use this since you’ll use your fingers anyway to navigate through your smartphone. Even funnier is that it costs $49 — money that you can use to build your own cheaper version of Headflat.
Next is an even worse fashion disaster than the earlier keyboard trousers entry — the Acer Selfie Hat. Basically, it’s an oversized pink hat with a tablet mounted on it which you can use for taking selfies.
This wearable, or whatever you may call it, was sold in limited numbers at London’s Fashion Week by its designer, Christian Cowan-Sanluis — which is good since absolutely no one would want to be seen wearing this in public. Clearly, the creators of these head-mounted monstrosities weren’t right in the head when they thought of these terrible contraptions.
A wearable device that can record simple thoughts or a loving conversation with your family and friends? That’s a definite must-have! Fortunately, the device named “Kapture” was conceived in 2013 — it’s a wristband that records audio for up to a minute.
For those who have those rare “eureka!” moments, this device is a godsend… if it would only work perfectly, that is. According to customer reviews, it was hard to use the device properly, even after reading the instruction manual that came with it. Customers often found themselves tapping into the device incessantly without anything being recorded as the device was mostly unresponsive.
And while the accompanying application helped in alleviating some of these problems, it would have been better for people to just use the voice recorder function of their smartphones and save $100 in the process, which was the retail price of this not-so-smart device.
Now let’s go back to the unusual wearable device I showed you earlier. The device is called the “Heretic’s fork”, an instrument used to torture heretics during the Spanish Inquisition.
The two-sided fork was placed between the victim’s chin and chest, rendering the victim incapable of any head movement or they end up suffering from the grave, but non-fatal, injuries, prolonging their suffering in the process. A cruel torture device — for sure you wouldn’t want to wear it in public or anywhere for that matter!
Have you worn any useless wearable devices I should have mentioned? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section down below. Thanks for reading.