More than most other fields, technology prides itself on being a hotbed of innovation. It's easy to forget, though, that innovation is messy, and for every iPod, there are a few dozen portable, wrist-mounted 8-track players. Here are ten failed gadgets that were unabashedly crazy.


This was a a full-size virtual keyboard that could be projected and touched on any surface, intended for use with phones, PCs, tablets, and even sterile medical equipment.

Photo by Martin Meissner/AP


Think "Phablets" are a new thing? This techno-Frankenstein from 2001 combined the functions of a notebook, a WAP mobile phone, a camera, a touchscreen and a touchpad.

Photo by Michael Sohn/AP

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Philips Virtual Pinball. Paula van Meijl, a Philips employee, is testing the vibration-sensitive console of Virtual Pinball. God help her.

Photo by Fabian Bimmer/AP


Cell phone? HA! You hold your phone in your hand like a peasant? In 1998, Swatch demoed the "Swatch Talk," which could be used as a cordless phone.

Photo by Fabian Bimmer/AP

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NCR corporation's prototype Microwave Bank was supposed to let you pay bills, transfer money, and use the internet—right from the radiation-spewing box in your kitchen.

Photo by Fabian Bimmer/AP


Forget Google Glass. The Xybernaut was around way back in 2000. Like today's version, it was voice-activated. Though this one was attached by an inflatable collar.

Photo by Fabian Bimmer/AP


"The Swiss have a watchphone? HA. We will use the might of German engineering to produce a PENPHONE," said German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to Siemens in 2004, probably.

Photo by Christof Stache/AP


Samsung had a watchphone too—the SPH-S100, shown at CES in 2001. No one remembers or cares if Swatch minded, but word is Apple is considering buying up the Swiss company to retroactively sue Samsung.

Photo by Laura Rauch/AP


InteliData's new MoneyClip from 1997 was a lot like Google Wallet, just on a 3.5-inch floppy disk. It was a smartcard reader meant to provide banks and consumers with state of the art security and banking tech, on a 3.5-inch floppy disk. The new MoneyClip was on a 3.5-inch floppy disk.

Photo by Marty Lederhandler/AP


NTT DoCoMo Inc. took the great watchphone concept boom at the turn of the century and made it even goofier. You'd talk into your pinky, listen out of your thumb, hang up by snapping your fingers, and look like an enormous dork.

Photo by Tsugufumi Matsumoto/AP

Images curated by Attila Nagy