2014 is set to be a year of technological advancement. The world has already seen such technological advancements with 3D printing, Smart Watches, fitness and activity trackers, and wearable technology. In 2013, the Pebble Steel Smart Watch and Google Glasses triggered the trend of wearable technology and made it an even bigger splash at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. These technological advances made everyone realize that the future is becoming more accessible, more wearable, and actually simplifying our modern lifestyle. In the midst of all of these exciting new technologies at this year’s CES, there were a few gadgets designed to set the human race back by a couple of hundred years. For these terrible gadgets, the insanely expensive price tag attached to these items will also set the average user back by a couple of hundred dollars. Get ready to laugh at the top five hilarious, most useless gadgets of 2014.
1. Kolibree Bluetooth Toothbrush
The Kolibree Bluetooth Toothbrush is the next generation of dental weapons in the fight against cavities and tartar build-up. The Kolibree Bluetooth Toothbrush is an electric toothbrush that senses how long, how hard, and how well the user brushes their teeth (really!) The toothbrush automatically synchronizes the data to the Kolibree app on the user’s Android or iPhone via a Bluetooth connection. It can also share this important information via social media, especially useful if a dentist is part of the user’s social media network. This toothbrush is priced anywhere from $99 to $199, depending on the model and will be available to order starting this summer via Kickstarter or some other crowdfunding site. As Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory once said, “Everything is better with Bluetooth.” Apparently, this sentiment can be applied to basic dental hygiene.
2. Yuneec E-Go Cruiser
Electric skateboards are hardly new on the market. However, the Yuneec E-Go Cruiser is the newest electronic longboard that made its debut at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The longboard weighs in at 13.9 pounds, which makes it lighter when compared to its manual longboard competitors. The Yuneec E-Go Cruiser is powered by a rechargeable battery hidden under the deck and comes with a remote control to move the user along the surface. The biggest selling feature of this board is that it can move the user 40 km on one single charge. The approximate retail price of this is $700. Although the price may sound steep for a skateboard, it does take the effort out of actually propelling the skateboard. It’s definitely a sign of the times when there’s a skateboard that only requires the user to slide a button on a remote control and not much else.
3. Netatmo JUNE
This stylish bracelet/brooch is actually a wearable technology gadget that monitors the user’s exposure to the sun. The data from the band synchronizes with the mobile app (only available for iPhone), which then gives tailored sun protection recommendations based on the user’s habits and skin type. While the Netatmo JUNE is definitely stylish, there are a couple of issues with this product. The pretty gem (which is removable and can be worn as a brooch) and minimalistic design means that its main target consumers are women, isolating the male consumers who also want to protect their skin from the sun’s UV rays. Second, why would anyone pay $100 for a plain bracelet/brooch that gives updates on when to apply sunscreen and/or come out of the sun? Usually, a person’s common sense and burning sensation on the skin would alert them if they have been outside for too long. Plus, there are plenty of free apps for all smart phone operating systems that can provide sun exposure information to its users.
4. TREWGrip Mobile QWERTY Keyboard
If there was a gadget that can truly set the human race back a few decades, it would be the TREWGrip Mobile QWERTY Keyboard. Imagine a standard keyboard. Now take that keyboard, split it in half, turn it 90 degrees, and place a smart phone, PC, or tablet on top of it. This rear-type, accordion-style keyboard was designed with ease and comfort in mind, allowing busy users to type while on the go. However, users have to re-learn how to type since the keys are located on the back of the device, which lights up when the user presses the right characters. It’s one thing to force the consumer to re-learn typing on a vertical keyboard. To charge $250 to $300 for this bulky piece of equipment that is the same size as a cake platter is insulting to the consumer.
5. Phone Soap Charger
The last and most laughable gadget on this list is the Phone Soap Charger. This device is a cell phone sanitizer and universal charger that use UV-C rays to clean and disinfect any type of smart phone. The user plugs their smart phone into the Phone Soap Charger’s micro USB port (or USB 2.0 port), closes the lid, and the phone charger’s UV-C rays sanitizes while it charges the phone’s battery. The device also comes with tiny acoustic outlets located at the bottom of the machine, so the user can still hear their notifications and alarms go off while their phone is in the charger. Users can also purchase Phone Soap Polish to keep smudges and bacteria off their UV-cleaned phone. There’s no denying that the Phone Soap Charger brings new meaning to the word, multi-task. This machine would appeal to all of the hypochondriacs who fear scary germs lurking on their smart phones. However, it’s unlikely that many people would spend $49.95 on a box that emits UV rays to clean a phone and spend another $12.95 on a polish to keep fingerprints off the screen. A more sensible alternative is to buy the 10-cent antibacterial wipes from the dollar store and use them on the phone. Plus, the phone usually comes with a lint-free cloth that can remove smudges and dirt just as well as this contraption.
Taking a Pass on these Gadgets
Technology is about moving forward, creating innovative technology to improve lives, and providing solutions for all of life’s inconveniences and problems. However, it would be safe to say that these five gadgets would make the life of an always-on-the-go person even more complicated. It would be safe to write-off these electronics for 2014 unless someone is looking for a good and expensive gag gift for his or her tech-loving friend.