Goofy gadget concepts, along with their pun-driven brands and bizarre commercials, have moved from "As Seen on TV" to crowdfunding sites.
Here are 10 of the weirdest gadgets on Indiegogo and Kickstarter that made our foreheads crinkle with wonder.
1. Wired In. Telling someone to go away is hard. If you're in the zone listening to Britney Spears or a Hans Zimmer soundtrack while cranking out pivot tables, just turn on a "Wired In" sign and people should get the message.
This is the desktop equivalent of a taxi's For Hire light. It can be controlled using Bluetooth, and programmed to turn on automatically if you're using certain computer or phone applications, such as Outlook or Slack. The text on each sign can also be customized so you can be as mean or nice as you want to.
The Kickstarter project has already raised $20,000 of its $25,000 goal with 25 days still left to go.
2. Couchlet. "What will they think of next!" comes to mind with Couchlet. It's a charging station designed to be wedged into couch cushions and the frame of your bed. The dual USB-port charger comes with a 6-foot cable. That struggle to reach the outlet? Problem solved.
The Indiegogo campaign has received more than $53,000 in 21 days, and is 177% funded.
3. Bug-A-Salt. Why swat flies when you can shoot them. With salt. The Bug-A-Salt is a plastic gun that blasts pinches of sodium chloride at winged pests. It was an explosive success, raising $577,636 from over 10,000 people in two months in 2012. You should definitely watch the video ad for this.
4. BitBite. Forget Weight Watchers. Put this thing in your ear and it will track what you're eating, how much, and how quickly you're chewing. Not only that, the accompanying app will log your diet data and notify you -- in your ear -- when you should stop eating and to put down that doughnut. "When you slow down, chew more and eat at regular intervals you'll be improving your nutrition, feel better and shed those extra pounds," BitBite's Indiegogo campaign claims. Well, if you ever wanted your mom in your ear constantly...
The project was 117% funded in January, raising more than $78,000.
5. Oto-Tip. After you take out your BitBite, you might need to clean your ears. The makers of Oto-Tip want you to use their handheld rechargable cleaner. They say traditional Q-tips push ear wax farther into the ear canal, and can create the risk of popping the eardrum. The Oto-Tip's tiny wand, on the other hand, is equipped with a mini brush that spins and sweeps out ear wax. A rubber stopper prevents the brush from going too far into the ear. We haven't tried the device, but the idea of a moving object in our ear reminds us of a wet willy.
The project was 260% funded in 2014.
6. Mint. And, after you clean your ears, how about checking your breath? When you blow into Mint, its accompanying app tells you if you need a mint, water, or a new toothbrush. It's the third oral hygiene product from Breathometer, a company that launched on Indiegogo in 2013. Mint was 326% funded, raising more than $87,000, in March. Happy kissing.
7. Vi-Band. "Do you have a head? You're gonna wanna see this..." is how the pitch for this headband head massager starts. It vibrates in "special" ways on pressure points of the forehead and temples. The Vi (pronounced like high) Band starts at $25, and the commercial for the product is worth a watch. A screenshot from it is below.
Vi-Band has a $20,000 fundraising goal that it has to meet in a month.
8. Wallet Drone. What is this? A drone...for ANTS? (Ok, the Wallet Drone isn't that small, but we could see Zoolander making the joke.) Self-dubbed the "world's smallest quadcopter," the 1.5-inch by 1.5-inch flying machine comes with a kit, which doubles as a controller and charger, that fits into your pocket. It's already raised nearly $40,000 on Indiegogo and is completely funded. But at $35 a pop, we wish the Wallet Drone did more than just fly around.
9. Mask. If you've ever looked at the cushion strap on your headphones and thought, hm, maybe I could put a screen here, the makers of Mask have you beat. The headphones also serve as a headsup display for playing games and watching movies -- and an oversized Geordi La Forge visor for your next Halloween costume.
Mask has raised about $31,000 on Indiegogo in a month, which is only half its goal.
10. Rufus Cuff. This isn't a smartwatch. It's a "wrist communicator." That's what the inventors of the Rufus Cuff calls this brick-like bracelet in their video ad. Not only does it have a front-facing camera, it also works with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices, including smart locks, Nest thermostats, and smartphones. The 3-inch screen also allows users to type text messages and control apps to play music and perform other functions.
We could go on about what it looks like (a TI-89 with speakers, a barcode scanner, Buzz Lightyear's wrist controller) and the fact that it's probably the stuff of Jony Ive's nightmares...but the Rufus Cuff was funded in May 2014 with over $430,000 in pledges so clearly, there are many others who disagree.