We seem to have seen everything: smart cradles for babies, smart scales, smart fans. But in large tech corporations there are gloomy minds capable of surprising with gadgets, the purpose of which is not entirely clear even with a manual. We have collected five such inventions for you.
Google: Gboard Yunomi keyboard cup
You cannot accidentally tip the coffee onto the keyboard if the coffee is ALREADY in the keyboard. By April 1, 2020, Google had come up with an ingenious solution to the perennial flood problem: the Gboard Yunomi keyboard cup. Unfortunately, the device fell victim to a pandemic, due to which the corporation has not celebrated April Fools’ Day for the last couple of years.
However, the Japanese division of Google was not going to put a good idea on the back burner. The concept was solemnly presented on October 1. The date was not chosen by chance: on this day in 1587, Japan’s unifier Toyotomi Hideyoshi held a historic tea ceremony in Kitano. So the electronic tableware came in handy.
The shape of the Gboard Yunomi is an elongated Japanese yunomi cup. These are often found in sushi restaurants in Japan. You cannot pour liquid into it directly; a container is inserted into the gadget for tea and coffee. The temperature of the cup contents can be between -20 and 140 ℃. She has a dock stand, and the cup is connected to the computer via USB Type-C.
The gadget itself is a clever design of 12 long printed circuit boards that form the walls, and one dodecagonal base board. Each of the long boards has five switches, except for one with a space bar – there are three of them. Accordingly, there are 58 keys in total, and they are all mechanical.
Since the keyboard is Japanese, the creators decided to highlight it additionally and, using kanji, wrote the names of the fish in the phonetic order of the Japanese language on the keys. The keyboard switches between kanji and hiragana, and contains several function buttons.
Google, unfortunately, is not going to mass-produce the device. However, the company has shared it on GitHub. instructions, diagrams and firmware… You can build a coffee-resistant keyboard from scratch.
Nintendo: Wii Vitality Sensor
How to monitor the health of a gamer without interrupting his favorite games? Nintendo gave the answer in 2009: the Wii Vitality Sensor. The device snapped onto the index finger and connected to a Wii controller. The unusual accessory was presented at the E3 gaming exhibition by the legendary president of the corporation, Satoru Iwata, who headed it for 13 years.
Nintendo did not explain exactly why gamers should measure their heart rate with a console. Iwata said the sensor would help users relax. During the development stage, it turned out that the sensor works as it is, as you would expect from a household heart rate monitor. 90 people out of 100 could use it without any problems. By the standards of the head of the Japanese company, this was not enough.
As a result, the project was closed in 2013, remaining a mystery to all Nintendo fans.
Sony: Clockwork Odo Cameras
Do gadgets really need batteries and electrical networks? Back in 2007, Sony gave a convincing “No” answer and introduced the Odo line of concept devices. Each of them had its own electric generator built in: you turn the knob – everything works.
The Spin N ‘Snap digital camera has definitely anticipated modern spinners. Two holes in her body simultaneously served as a viewfinder and charging holes. Twirl the camera on your fingers – it charges, you can shoot.
The Crank N ‘Capture camcorder is charged with a handle that you need to twist. The output is a video with a low FPS, like in old films: but in color.
It was supposed to view the footage on a computer or a Push Power Play device, which is charged if the bottom part is driven back and forth on a flat surface.
Beautiful concepts with minimalistic designs were created for children from developing countries. Subsequently, traces of the Odo project were lost, so it is not known whether at least one gadget left for a small addressee.
Samsung: Becon scalp scanner
When was the last time you seriously thought about your scalp? Minsuk Park from the Samsung startup incubator began to go bald after 20 and spent ten years of his life on ineffective shampoos and expensive treatments. He thought it would be nice to be able to professionally care for his scalp at home, and that’s where Becon began.
Becon is a device equipped with its own 80x camera, CMOS sensor and machine learning algorithm, among other things. The device just needs to be swiped over the head, and it analyzes 10 elements of skin health: texture, sensitivity, temperature, moisture, odor, hair density and the number of follicles … for the needs of the user. In addition, Becon monitors progress and reports on whether the care is helping.
The startup is now compiling a catalog of shampoos, serums and masks from around the world. The incubator team hopes to launch the original product soon.
Apple iPod socks
Yes, it’s true: Apple once made and sold iPod socks. In those ancient times, portable devices were weighty and reminded of their “cassette” predecessors. Only the design was already recognizably minimalistic, with a large display and characteristic control buttons.
In order not to scratch or break the device, it was suggested to wear it in a “sock” – a cotton knitted cover. These were sold in packs of six, different colors, and “only” for $ 29. At that time, Steve Jobs was still running the company – and jokingly presented “socks” as a “revolutionary new product.” They would really be a revolution now.
Knitted covers disappeared from the Apple store in 2012. But the tradition lives on, and so that the “apple” devices do not freeze, the craftsmen knit and sell socks for them on the Internet. Some fanatical fans buy original old cases at auctions. In fact, making such an accessory is not difficult on your own: just cut off the lower part of a regular sock and sew up the hole.
More selections with gadgets in our blog: