World's most useless gadgets revealed

The world of technology is meant to be driven by the cold, ruthlessly pragmatic approach of science.

Gadgets go through rigorous redesigns, torturous testing, dozens of focus groups and endless committees before being sent to million-dollar manufacturing lines. Then they're spat out of robotic conveyor belts as useful, well-crafted devices that improve lives and make the world a better place. At least, that's the theory.

Every now and then a product makes it to shelves that is so head-scratchingly daft you can't help but wonder who came up with such a stupid idea, and who was even more stupid to approve it. Here are some of the very best of the very worst devices we could find.

Selfie sticks

Everyone from celebrities to world leaders is getting in on the selfie craze, but how do you take a selfie of a large group without the extendable arms of Inspector Gadget?

Welcome to the wonderfully silly world of selfie sticks. These extendable poles mount the phone or camera on one end, then aim it back at the photographer and their wide group of friends.

They're not really a new invention - they were originally called monopods and used to stabilise cameras without the need for a tripod - but apparently these days it's too hard to ask a nearby stranger if they'd mind taking a photo of you and your friends.

Powered typing gloves

Ever had to work in one of those offices where the manager likes to keep the temperature hovering just below painfully chilly? It's easy enough to rug up with a jacket and scarf, but putting on a pair of gloves is sure to lower your typing speed, incurring the icy cold wrath of said manager.


Simply slide your hands into USB-powered hand warmers - designed to look like toast - and enjoy cosy digits, not to mention more than a few weird looks from co-workers.

iGadget toilet roll holder

What better way to relax on the toilet than a spot of Mozart's Serenade No13? But is it worth the risk of dropping your iPhone or iPod into the bowl, an occurrence usually shared with friends after a few too many beers? has just the solution for this awkward issue - an iPod toilet-roll holder. Just remember that it's the iPod at the top, and the toilet paper at the bottom, and you shouldn't have too much trouble.

24-carat gold HDMI cables

A useless gadget story wouldn't be complete without the monstrously expensive HDMI cables made by Monster. The five-metre version will set you back almost  $400 and even use 24-carat gold contacts to ensure superior picture quality.

There's one small issue with these claims though - at these kinds of ranges, any HDMI cable will deliver absolutely identical image quality, even the cheapest $20 cables.

That's because the signal sent over these HDMI cables is digital - unlike the old analog days, the signal either makes it, or it doesn't. There is no signal degradation at these short ranges, though once cable ranges hit 10 metres or more, the quality of the cable does become more important. Not $400 important though.

Remote cushion

Losing the TV remote is common in most homes, and don't get us started on the tiny Apple TV remote, which seems designed to deliberately slip between cushions. The solution is to create a remote control that doubles as a cushion, and thus can't be lost. At about $50, Remote Control Pillow is remarkably cheap for a universal remote compatible with up to 500 different devices. It's also remarkably ugly.


What better way to encourage young 'uns to use the potty than to strap an iPad to it, allowing them to rack up hundreds of dollars of in-app purchases while missing the bowl entirely. Enter the iPotty, which combines a standard potty with an iPad holder. Note that while generation one iPads aren't supported, it will handle number twos with ease.

Downloadable medicine

Bear with us, as things are about to get very weird. The QuantumVET Tricorder Plus claims to be the world's first downloadable medicine. According to the official website, it works with any species of animal, from axolotls to dobermans.

You simply need to download the appropriate pack to your smartphone for your pet's symptoms, and it will then use quantum physics to cure your pet. We can't wait to see human trials commence in the near future.

Useless box

Rounding out our compendium of stupidity comes this wonderful box from (which is usually stocked with useful gadgets).

We have to wonder if there's anything more useless than the US$39.99 (NZ$46) Useless Box, which has one, and only one, purpose. The user flicks the "on" switch at the top of the box, and the box then instantly turns it off. That's it - it promises to do nothing more or nothing less. At least this product is honest about how ridiculous it is.