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This article was published on July 22, 2015

    9 times crowdfunding was like a Japanese ‘useless invention’ book

    9 times crowdfunding was like a Japanese ‘useless invention’ book
    Owen Williams
    Story by

    Owen Williams

    Former TNW employee

    Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

    Ten years ago, I was obsessed with reading those useless Japanese invention books. I was re-reading the timeless book today, when I suddenly realized…. the book is just like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

    Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 1.48.38 PM
    Rear view mirror sunglasses

    If you’ve ever browsed the ‘discover‘ pages of crowdfunding sites, there are hundreds of useless inventions that are somehow getting funded.

    The Japanese word for not-quite-useful inventions is ‘chindogu’ (珍道具) which seem ingenius on the surface, but are actually just junk.

    Behold, the nine times crowdfunding was just like chindogu.

     1. Dumb shit for your cat

    Do you really need to know where your cat is 24×7?

    Cat mop via Amazon

    2. Dumb smart clothing

    What’s worse, a tie with pockets or a jacket with a neck pillow and iPad pocket?

    Tie image via Medium

    3. Sleeping in public

    A hat that glues you to the subway wall, or a weird pillow that looks like it might eat you alive?

    Sleeping hat via Buzzfeed

    4. Toilet rolls

    You can either have toilet paper on your head or just make your holder tweet you when it runs out.

    Toilet holder hat via Buzzfeed

    5. Earplug ear rings

    Gee, I wonder where you got that great idea.

    First image via Web Urbanist

    6. Making butter better

    Better butter knifes are cool, but what we really need is a butter stick.

    7. Weird pillows

    I seriously can’t decide which thing is worse.

    Leg pillow via Walyou

    8. Cats, round two

    What’s crazier? A way for your kitty to cool down her food or an internet-connected water fountain?

    Cat cooler via Walyou

    9. Bug killers

    Fly swatting shoes… or a shotgun replica for shooting them down

    Fly swat slippers via Web Urbanist

    Read Next: Your cat is dumb when it comes to drinking water but this smart fountain could fix that