Growing up and in college, I spent a lot of time watching infomercials. From the sham psychic Miss Cleo to the libidinous Shake Weight, late-night television was the go-to destination for all your ridiculous product needs.
Now, that mantle has been taken up by Kickstarter, where Internet salespeople can hock a variety of awful goods without the pesky barrier of even having to build it. There are simply too many silly entries to make a definitive list of the worst Kickstarters, so we focused on wearable devices. Why wearables? I mean, if Google Glass makes you look like a goon then imagine what these fine products will do for your social life.
So sit back and enjoy our list, which includes the closest Tim & Eric fake infomercial to each entry. Some of them are dreamers, some of them are hucksters, but all of them are terrible.
1. QR Tie
There was a time when ties meant something, man. Or at least that’s the conceit driving the QR Tie. Nostalgic for the pre-digital days when a power tie was the closest thing businessmen had to a public LinkedIn profile, the QR Tie makes sharing your resume or website as easy as flipping up your tie, something you should never ever do. Also, QR codes look silly enough on billboards and storefronts. Don’t put them around your neck.
Raised: $1,726 of $40,000
Equivalent Tim & Eric Product: Thocks
Smartphones have made it too easy to obsessively keep track of emails, text messages, and Facebook notifications. But unsatisfied with the level of intrusion already offered by smartphones, the makers of EMBRACE+ have created a bracelet that flashes obnoxiously every time you receive a notification. You will never have a conversation lasting more than 30 seconds again.
Raised: $264,527 of $80,000.
Equivalent Tim & Eric product: Cinco-Fone
Interested in Google Glass but wish it covered a larger portion of your face? Obscured your vision a bit more? Well then the Klip is for you, a clunky face device that “provides digital, video and graphic data to help you get your job done.” At one point in the video, a race car driver (literally the last person who wants his vision obscured) says he loves to wear his Klip while driving 200 miles an hour because “access to information is very important.” But so is your peripheral vision?
Raised: $5,355 of $110,000
Equivalent Tim & Eric product: Cinco Eye Tanning System
4. Pants Interface
The cool thing about smartphones is that they fit a ton of computing power into your pants pocket. But Pants Interface wants to take the smartphone out of the equation by sewing that circuity right into your pants as diapery globs of fabric. It’s designed so musicians or other performers can trigger events by awkwardly swiping your leg. So to the guy putting on a one-man Macarena light show, you’re in luck.
Raised: $4,590 of $4,100
Equivalent Tim & Eric product: C-Bund
5. Remee lucid dreaming sleep maskhttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bitbangerlabs/remee-the-rem-enhancing-lucid-dreaming-mask
Remee is a “lucid dreaming sleep mask” that purports to help sleepers control their dreams. How does it do that? The mask contains a microcontroller that waits until you’re at the peak of REM sleep then flashes a series of customizable light patterns into your eyes. Sounds great!
Of course if lucid dreaming is your thing, then what’s the problem? Well, reports of its efficacy are mixed at best. As for comfort, it got a glowing endorsement of “not unreasonably uncomfortable.” But who needs comfort, you’re only sleeping?
Raised: $572,891 of $35,000
Equivalent Tim & Eric product: Cinco Face Time Party Snoozer
6. Headflat iPhone holder
Admittedly, the Headflat, a giant face protrudence that lets you watch movies on your smartphone hands-free, is somewhat helpful. But you know how some people “suffer for fashion”? Well this is the opposite of that. Granted, because smartphone screens are small there’s a good chance you’ll use this by yourself and no one will see you. But that might be even worse.
Raised: $78,144 of $100,000
Equivalent Tim & Eric product: Cinco Privacy Helmet
There’s no YouTube for this one, but you can watch it on Adult Swim.
7. Kapture Recording Device
Kapture is an always-on recording device attached to your wrist that constantly records the last 60 seconds of ambient sound. And while it’s theoretically good for recording funny, social-media ready moments, it’s also phenomenally creepy and I will not talk around you if you wear it. Ever. Especially in the wake of revelations about NSA surveillance and the close connections between the agency and technology companies, here’s hoping Kapture doesn’t take off.
Raised: $162,386 of $150,000
Equivalent Tim & Eric product: Cinco Sleepwatching Chair
8. Snowballs Cooling Underwearhttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1131699529/snowballs-cooling-underwear-for-conceiving-men
Okay, male infertility is nothing to make fun of, and yes, it’s been scientifically proven that high testicular temperature can affect a man’s chance of conceiving. But $20,000 for ice packs you shove down your pants?
Raised: $10,235 of $20,000
Equivalent Tim & Eric product: Cinco Balls Insurance