We’ve all seen products that make us double take. But the overseas market is bursting with unheard-of gadgets and inventions that simply wouldn’t work in the U.S. Whether they fulfill a purpose America doesn’t have a need for or they’re just too bizarre for us to consider, these products haven’t found a way to penetrate the market in the States.
Whatever the case, these weird and wonderful things found a gap in the market back home. But for many of these we find that they’re creating more problems than they’re fixing. And who knows, maybe in time they’ll find their way over. Take a look at the really strange international creations that think way outside the box.
Who Nose Why This Didn’t Catch On
It’s natural that at some point in life you’ll wish you had different features to the ones you were born with. But you needn’t go as far as getting plastic surgery, thanks to this Japanese nasal augmenter. If you’re looking for a change but don’t have the money for a nip and tuck, these guys have you covered.
Specifically, this nose shaper tool is meant for encouraging a higher nose bridge. And it’s quite invasive. There are two prongs at the base that actually go up into your nostrils to make the device more stable. Of course, you’ll have to rely on mouth breathing. It’s definitely one of the oddest looking things we’ve seen and we’re glad it’s not catching on here.
A Skirt For Your Dinner Table
This unique invention may seem like such an unlikely thing to take off, but they love it in Japan. It’s not just a comforter that’s been wedged underneath a table – it’s called a Kotatsu and its purpose is to keep you cozy at your dinner table. Think of it as a thick winter skirt but for your desk.
The secret to the Kotatsu is that there’s a source of heat underneath, creating a toasty microclimate for your legs to enjoy. Of course, this is reserved for the winter months. But if you’re lucky, you might be able to get one shipped at a discount rate since it’s out of season!
For the Lazy Grazer In You
You ever get sick of having to blow on your own hot food? Well, people in Japan are, which is why they’ve invented this simple but effective chopstick attatchment. It’s a battery-powered fan that you balance precariously on your chopsticks to cool your hot ramen quicker – or at least easier.
Surprisingly, the American market never took to this one. Maybe it’s because noodle soup isn’t as much of a staple dish here, or maybe it’s because chopsticks aren’t as commonly used. Which begs the question: if these little fans were made with knife and fork attachments, would people in the U.S. start using them?
The Nose Stylus That Wasn’t Properly Thought Out
No, this isn’t another nasal restructurer. This is the one and only nose stylus for touch screen phones that supports your scrolling needs. If you’re wondering when you might need something like this, think back to those awkward moments when it’s cold and you have your gloves on.
But weirdly, in their advertising campaign pictured above they showed him without gloves, indoors, and with his thumb readily poised over his phone. But to be fair he’s holding a map, suggesting that this ear-strap attachment could be used in the car while your hands are occupied. But does it make driving any safer when you have to peck your face towards your phone? We think we know why this one never took off.
Eat Your Heart Out
Now this is an invention we can get behind. We can’t count the number of times we’ve been victim to the fateful splashback from a bowl of noodle soup or a plate of spaghetti bolognese. And something like this weird face mask protective headwear could spare us the embarressment of food stains.
But more than that, this Japanese invention is intended for people with long hair who don’t want it to fall into their food. A legitimate desire. But surely in that case, wouldn’t it be easier to just tie it up? Either way, this isn’t a tool that interests many Americans, but it has a faithful audience back in East Asia.
For When We’ve Used Up All of Earth’s Natural Resources
Yes. We’re finally living our dreams. Japan’s biggest toilet manufacturer has invented the very first toilet-motorcycle hybrid – and guess what it uses for fuel. When it was put to the test, it’s able to ride for 300 kilometers on a tank full of “gas.”
This eye-catching specimen was being marketed as the world’s very first waste-powered vehicle and it featured a toilet seat for a bike seat and a huge roll of toilet paper perched on the back of it. Interestingly, the manufacturer TOTO tried to convince the public it was not intended for human waste, only “livestock waste and sewage.” Interesting…
The Crocs of the Tech Industry
Thank you to Germany for this wonderful invention. These metal detecting flip flops combine function and fashion – or so they would have you believe. Actually, only the right foot has the ability to detect metal whereas the left foot is free to focus on modelling the cutting edge design.
That being said, you would have to adopt a new walk that covered more ground if you wanted to get the most out of these. And if you’re lucky enough to find something (although we expect you’ll keep picking up pennies) the light will flash and buzz on your leg strap. All at the bargain cost of $60.
One For the Hipsters
Introducing the Fliz bike! A new mode of transport that puts your regular two-wheeler to shame. German engineers were the brains behind this alien form of cycling, which sees the rider running in the street to generate speed for the wheels. Then you can just perch your feet on the back wheel and glide happily.
Safety precautions are taken, with a five-point belt system fixed to the center of the frame to hold the rider in place. Basically, it might be the inevitable evolution of sustainable travel in built up areas as it’s designed specifically for flat roads. Wake up America, the future is here!
Revolutionizing How Your Run
Don’t let his lackluster expression fool you into thinking he’s not happy about the little guy on his shoulders. This invention is the Tomatan which, as its name suggests, is made for the specific use of feeding you tomatoes. In what scenario would you need a hands-free tomato feeder? Marathon running.
38-year-old Shigenori Suzuki from Japan designed this contraption to sit somewhere out of the way but still accessible for sprinters. Tomatoes contain particularly beneficial nutrients for long-distance running as they give your body the sustenance it needs for longevity and enhanced performance. Genius.
Kiss Your Lonely Coffee Breaks Goodbye
Pucker up! It’s time to enjoy your hot morning coffee to the max with these kissable coffe mug lids. South Korean mastermind Jang Woo-Seok created these drink lids in the shape of another person’s nose and lips, puckered at the ready. And most people walking by probably wouldn’t even notice so it can stay your little secret.
For whatever reason, this product hasn’t really taken off overseas. What’s wrong with people? Who wouldn’t want a little peck on the lips with every sip of your favorite beverage? Well, as it turns out, most people. Maybe because they’ll lose their jobs if they’re doing this at their desk.
Wind Powered Washing Line
Make your life easier by killing two birds with one stone. An ingenious car attachment could save you a lot of your house chore problems, as it turns out. This Japanese person found an energy efficient way to utilize wind and dry their wet laundry on their way to work.
But why stop there? If you go through the car wash, you can really get your money’s worth! In fact, you can save yourself the trouble of ever moving your clothes to and from your wardrobe. With the washing and drying process taken care of, simply change for work in the car in the morning.
The Panoramic Camera Hat
Japan was way ahead with smart phones and their panorama camera feature. This young woman models the 360-degree camera hat that allows the wearer to take a photo from every angle at the same time. In that respect, it’s even more effective than the panorama phone camera feature.
Interestingly, this hat uses polaroid cameras to capture the moment. While it might seem like a useless gadget to have, it did pave the way for a hugely profitable platform: Google Street View. But we have to admit, this bold look is quite the fashion statement.
A Human Resources Issue Waiting to Happen
It’s no surprise this design didn’t take off in the States. People in Russia came up with the idea for Ironius – a coffee mug that doubles as a clothes iron. Simply fill with your hot morning beverage and straighten out those pesky creases in your office shirt.
Just be sure to use only at home, before you actually leave for work. This mug-iron hybrid can easily become a human resources issue and you wouldn’t want that. We assume that’s why this innovative design never quite took off across the pond.
We’ve been doing butter wrong all this time, according to this design. In Japan you can get your hands on this “Butter: Stick Type” to simplify your morning breakfast. It doesn’t get more efficient than this – you can even take it with you out the door as you run to catch your train.
You can actually DIY this invention for yourself, if youre feeling the FOMO. Simply melt butter and pour into a very well cleaned old glue stick tube and voila, you too can be living your best life. This product eliminates the need for a butter knife altogether and we love it.
Perfect For Social Distancing
This Japanese umbrella puts all other umbrellas to shame. It’s a full body umbrella that actually keeps you dry from head-to-toe due to the detachable plastic curtain. It’s clear so you can see where you’re going, something which the gentleman behind her is surely envious of.
And in light of the pandemic, these umbrellas would work perfectly as an aid in social distancing. You wouldn’t even need to wear a mask! But there is one area we can see where this design fails. In order to free yourself from the full body umbrella, would you not get soaking wet?
Two Birds One Stone
Take a look at this bird feeder from Spanish designer Curro Claret. Say goodbye to scooping those pesky bread crumbs away in the bin with this clever cutting board. You can place the end of the crumb hose outside your window to allow birds access to the bits of bread you don’t eat.
Small holes in the cutting board are just big enough to capture the crumbs, meaning less clean up time too! We love to see a design that works in favor for both sides. Making sandwiches couldn’t be any easier with this handy creation, and we only wish they made them state side.
When You Need to Catch a Quick REM Cycle
We think Japanese retailer Thanko is on to something here. They invented the Lay Flat Office Chair which can extend from a normal upright chair with lumbar support to a full body recliner! Perfect for taking naps on your lunch break, it could be yours for approximately $600.
Studies have shown that taking short power naps actually increases your productivity, so these chairs really do have a place at work. But maybe only if you have your own room or cubicle – it could be pretty awkward to just stretch out and snooze in an open-plan coworking space.
Not For the Faint Hearted
Parents will do just about anything for their kids, it seems. This contraption is a nasal syringe device that requires someone to suck from the other end of the tube, thereby freeing up the baby’s nose. Invented in Sweden by a doctor, this is great option for parents who aren’t grossed out by nasal mucus.
But we can’t help but wonder why you would go to the trouble of using this when you can just as easily pick up an aspirator that’s battery-powered or uses an air pump. Why risk choking at all? Either way, we’re not surprised this didn’t take off in America.
A Solution For Ungrounded Folk
Believe it or not, this accessory wasn’t created with the styles of cyberpunk in mind. These are Vertigo Soothing Glasses for the poor afflicted souls who need to feel like they’re standing on solid ground. As we can see, earth is trapped between the two layers of glass so that the wearer feels earth-bound wherever they are.
This Japanese product was advertised to “keep solid ground in sight” for the wearer. They explained that “Today’s high rise office blocks can strike terror into the hearts of the suffering salaryman. The Vertigo Soothing Glasses can’t bring you back down to earth, but they can bring the earth up to eye level.”
Eating Outdoors Has Never Been So Easy
Italy brings you these shockingly weird looking Picnic Pants; a pair of trousers with a stretchy fabric sewn right across them. As we can see from the image, they’re supposed to provide you with a surface in between your legs for when you’re maybe outdoors, or just sitting on the floor.
Design company Acquacalda created this fashion monstrosity, claiming that “Picnic pants take advantage of the usual cross-legged position to become a comfortable surface for consumption of a meal outdoors.” Whether you believe they’d truly fulfill their purpose or not, you’re unlikely to want to purchase a pair yourself.
The Gadget That Helps You Slack at Work
Do you ever get fed up of having to hold up your own head? If so, this Japanese chin rest hears your problems and has a solution. The Chin Rest Arm is marketed as an office posture gadget that allows you to be lazy at your desk, without having to look like you are. They claim to have all the benefits of a regular pillow due to the “hand” also being a cushion.
One end of the arm has a clamp for easy attachment to desks or chairs, and the hand can be moved into all sorts of positions. “You can covertly get some sleep at your desk all while you appear to be looking at your screen,” they claim. Yeah, nothing strange looking about this device.
Watch What You Eat
Surely one of the most useless gadgets to have lying around your home must be a magnifying glass attachment to better see what you’re eating. Perhaps it’s meant to help people feel fuller and more content with less food? Otherwise we’re really struggling to understand why someone would want to buy this.
Created in China, this contraption is sure to make you feel closer to your food than ever before. That being said, we don’t know who asked to be. But to whoever does have a need for this item, we’re glad to let you know you have a community.
Spying in the Rain
Taiwan brings us the future of weather management – the Goggles Umbrella. Yes, this umbrella features a cut out section made of a clear and water resistant material in an otherwise ordinary umbrella. This allows the user to protect their face from the rain and see where they’re going.
We can actually see how something like this could be useful, especially since none of us want to be bumping into other pedestrians on the street. But it has another secret little feature. See the weird object sticking out of the top? It’s your own personal periscope.
Parenthood Has Never Been So Fun
Austrian designer Valentin Vodev found a way to combine child-friendly travel for parents who also want to keep active. Here we have the one and only Roller Buggy – a baby’s pram with a built-in footrest surface. This allows you to glide through the streets while using those leg muscles.
…All while your baby is buckled in at the front. The gliding mechanism acts much like a skateboard or manual scooter, requiring one leg to push occasionally before resting with the other. Apparently, it allows you to go up to 10 miles per hour. It took a year to perfect. Valentin says “It is about combining mobility and fun for parents and child alike.”
An Umbrella That Will Soak You Instantly
Here’s an invention that’s sure to spark some feelings. We’ve all been caught in the rain before, regretting having left our umbrella behind at home. And it’s never more frustrating than when you’re wearing your fancy clothes. So designers in Japan came up with this for that very concern: the Umbrella Tie.
For the suit wearers out there, this one if specifically for you. You can combine form and function with a necktie that turns into a full-sized umbrella. Just be sure you can leave it somewhere to dry for a few hours once you get to the office. You can tell them you’re going for a more casual look…
Now Everyone Can Breastfeed!
You might already be familiar with this new invention that allows men to simulate the breastfeeding experience that previously excluded them. It’s hard to say if the Japanese company The Dentsu Group took inspiration from Robert De Niro’s character in Meet the Fockers, who debuted more or less the same thing.
This technology allows fathers to breastfeed their children directly from their own chest. Whether it’s meant to foster bonding between father and child or simply trick the baby into feeling like they’re on familiar ground, we’re not too sure. But we’d be very curious to know if it confuses kids or not.
A Device That Has a Place In the Post-Pandemic World
British inventor Dominic Wilcox came up with this interesting creation that looks like it could have a purpose in a post-pandemic world. It’s called a pre-handshake handshake device that acts as a much wanted barrier between strangers in a meeting. It’s the most hygenic way to continue the tradition.
The inventor explained that he sees this “for people who have really fallen out.” He believes that it has the ability to give people “a little start toward reconciliation,” as it allows for some personal distance. Interestingly, he said: “I think this device could genuinely save the world,” which is why he has aspirations to really “sell it as a product.” In this day and age it seems a lot more realistic.
Toilet Paper Holder But Make It Fashion
This Japanese invention does have a useful purpose, we’ll give it that. It’s called the Hay Fever Hat, and as you can imagine, it aims to aid those afflicted with hayfever by providing on-head storage for your toilet paper of choice. You’ll never be caught without a hankerchief to sneeze into again.
Why on top of your head? Well, it’s a short distance to your nose of course. But we’ll admit that it’s not very wet-weather friendly. Neither is it a very good look. And on top of that, everyone knows that toilet paper is too rough for the delicate skin around your nose. They should go back to the drawing board with this one.
Dental Hygiene Comes First
We didn’t know there were people who objected to the standard toothbrush design. At least, not enough to go out of their way and fashion a strange finger glove with a brush head attachment. But apparently, there’s a market for these in Japan and we just don’t know it yet.
Perhaps this little guy helps you have more precision when cleaning your teeth. Perhaps it makes it easier to reach those hard-to-reach places. But surely when it comes to brushing your back teeth your whole hand must get in the way? We can’t imagine many people have a mouth big enough for this invention.
A Balaclava Pillow For Naps at the Desk
We can’t lie – this looks like an amazing idea. This is the item you never knew you needed, the Ostrich Pillow. Created by British designer Ali Ganjavian, he knew that people needed a revolutionary way to power nap in our ever-tiring world. Amazingly, it’s been a hit in Europe.
Nicknamed the balaclava pillow, it weighs 50 pounds and wraps around your entire head, giving your hands a toasty place to rest as well. It’s meant to feel comfortable, dark, and quiet enough for you to take a nap in the busiest of places – especially like an office. Ali explained, “Why not create a product that can help us unwind at work?”
Move Over, Driverless Cars
You might be looking at this image and thinking it shows the future of wheelchair technology. That’s not exactly correct, as it’s actually more of a car seat with an engine. It’s called the i-Real personal electric concept vehicle, debuted by car manufacturer Toyota during a motor show.
So what’s the deal with this? It’s a three-wheeled one-passenger vehicle that runs on lithium batteries. When it’s running on a low-speed mode the back is upright, but high-speed sees it recline further back for greater aerodynamics and stability. While Toyota had every intention of putting it on sale in 2010, it never came to market.
Beautiful Watermelon That Come With a Catch
Take a look at these unusually shaped watermelons – they’re completely real! They were first thought up by Japanese graphic designer Tomoyuki Ono in 1978, originally to be in the shape of a cube. It’s doesn’t happen naturally of course; melons were put in boxes and left to grow into their shape.
But there’s a catch. Not only are they two or three times the price of your average watermelon, but they’re also harvested before they’re ripe enough to eat to keep they’re shape! So they end up being purely decorative. That being said, they’re in hit in Japan and even Germany. But the U.S. hasn’t taken to them.
An Invention That Turns Your Pet Into Your Secretary
British designer Tom Ballhatchet designed this two-in-one creation that no one asked for. It’s a hamster-powered paper shredder that turns the shredded paper into bedding for your furry friend. It’s an ingenious way to utilize your hamster’s output, and it even ends up benefitting them.
That being said, you’re quite limited with your shredding options. You’ll probably only want to do one page at a time so as not to overload your hamster, and you’ll need to remove their previous bedding a lot. In the end, it causes more problems than it fixes. But we love to see the originality.
It’s Time To Upgrade Your Bath Experience
Check out this Japanese invention which aims to enhance your bubble bath experience. It’s an inflatable pink bath pillow with an extended arm that comfortably holds your phone in front of you. No need to worry about accidentally dropping your mobile in the water anymore.
And sure, we have concerns about just how strong the grip is to the phone. Or how it can guarantee that the arm doesn’t deflate and plunge our phone into the water? But we’re not going to worry about that – we want to believe in this design. We’d love to see this two-in-one make it over to the States.
The Worst Place You Could Set Your Drink
This Japanese invention is a real head scratcher. This business man has a detachable cup or can holder attached to his work suit and, with the help of a very long plastic straw, is able to consume his beverage completely hands free. That way, he can get on with his work.
The drink holder is clipped on to his suit jacket’s front pocket, and we can’t help but wonder if it’s really able to hold the weight of a full can of soda. It also looks like a computer hazard, as we don’t expect it would need much to accidentally tip the contents on to your desk.
A Disturbing Addition To Your Camping Gear
We have no idea where the idea for this one came came from, but we’re concerned. Meet the Felissimo Giant Pants Two-Person Sleeping Bag, perfect for snuggling with a loved one. Don’t worry – it hasn’t got the rough texture of actual denim when you’re inside, as it’s lined with an ultra-soft fabric.
We guess the benefit can be that you get to sleep close to your partner, but also have your own space to wiggle around in. But if you ask us, it looks pretty snug inside one of those pant legs… standard sleeping bags or two-person sleeping bags will do just fine for us, thanks!
Less Washing Up With the Butter Cutter
We’re living in the past with our butter knives and dishes. German designer Paul Wilhelm spent five years perfecting the perfect butter dispenser before he settled on this, the One Click Butter Cutter. It stores our butter vertically rather than horizontally, and only requires one press.
It’s a lot more convenient than getting out a butter dish and knives and watching everyone hack away at it. This provides a fuss-free alternative and we’re all here for it. Sure, it’s not the most attractive looking thing in the world. But if it really does perform we’ll take one in every color!
The Quickest Way to Get a Migraine
British inventor Dominic Wilcox is known for creating weird and wonderful items, but this one really has us puzzled. It’s a Reverse Listening Device that collects sound from one side of you and brings it to the opposite ear. Not to mention it’s quite a statement fashion piece.
Dominic explained his reason: “I thought to myself ‘what would it sound like if I could hear the things that happened on my left side through my right ear?’ So I decided to make this Reverse Listening Device.” He continues: “It actually works. It sounds very strange and I now will wear it at all times.” We cant help but feel that it would be pretty disorientating.
Why Wasn’t This Brolly Invented Sooner
The Brollee umbrella is an Australian invention that we actually could see taking off. It’s a standard umbrella with one handy element – it has a built-in coffee mug holder. If you’re the type to walk even when it’s raining, this would be a cute thing to have.
After all, a hot cup of coffee is the perfect refreshment to a grey and rainy day. And you can be free to play on your phone without having to set your cup on the floor. Drinking in the rain has never been so easy.
Revolutionizing the Common Toilet
If you’ve heard anything about Japanese technology, you must have heard about their state-of-the-art toilets. Many companies are known to install high-tech plumbing with several electrronic options. Seat-warming, bidet options, and adjustable water temparture are all possible with these futuristic toilets.
These specialized toilets are so popular that over 80% of the population has them installed at home. It’s got us wondering – why is the West so behind in this toilet revolution? Surely, it’s only a matter of time until it makes its way over here.
Now Your Baby Can Help With Household Chores
Parents are always looking for hacks around the house when there’s a little one to take care of. And Japan has found one imaginative way to utilize your little tyke before he’s even old enough to walk. Introducing the baby mop onesie that’s as useful as it is cozy.
Simply put your baby in the one-piece and place him on your lovely hard wood flooring. As he wriggles and crawls, he’ll be cleaning up dirt and getting it back to that high shine. Just don’t have company over when he’s wearing it – they might be tempted to call social services.
A Face Mask Unlike Any You’ve Seen
This isn’t the standard face mask that we’ve become accustom to using every day. This is Amphibio, a biomimetic artificial gill that allows us to breather underwater. Created by material scientist Jun Kamei, he’s proving just how cutting-edge Japan’s technology scene can be.
It’s made out of a polymer that creates a breathing resevoir, so we can still get oxygen underwater. Inspired by diving spiders and insects with hydrophobic skin, the idea of air bubbling around the surface was translated into this mask. For sure, more will come of this amazing idea.
This Is Toe-tally Unneccessary
Japan has been ahead of the game for a long time. Forget the high-tech; you can find unique gadgets in the old ads from the 70s, too. These innovative auntie slippers have their own broom and dustpan attached to the tip of their toes. So you’re always prepared for when you see some dust.
This never made its way over to America, and we’re not surprised. Not only would it make it much harder to walk around the house, but we can’t imagine being we’d that effective at brooming with our our toes.
No More Tears Eyedrop Application
Gone are the days when you try to put eye drops in yourself, only to miss the mark entirely. This Japanese invention looks to change your odds with some eyedrop funnel glasses, elminating (ideally) the risk that you spill the solution all over your cheeks. We can actually see these ones working.
But we have to admit, this is a terrifying looking device. It’s definitely not something you’d want to use outside of the house. In fact, we’d recommend keeping your eyedropper glasses right at the back of the closet.
You’ll Fly Through the Airport
Honestly, take all our money. Chinese inventor He Liang created this design and we never want to go back. It’s a suitcase that’s also a motor-driven vehicle, and we can’t think of anything more handy for those long walks in the airport. Getting to your terminal has never been easier!
As simple of a solution as it seems, it wasn’t easy for this inventor to create. It took him a decade to get it just right but we think it’s worth it. And its top speed is 20km an hour, so it’s fast enough to get you from A to B in good time but not so fast that it poses a risk to others.
Much Safer Than a Traditional Lighter
For those who are always running out of lighters, this Japanese invention might come in handy. Sure, it’s essentially just a magnifying glass. But the cigarette holder attached to the handle is a bit of a game changer. You can position the glass just right to light your candle… if the sun is hot enough.
It’s honestly quite an energy efficient way of lighting your cigarette. You could completely stop using the standard plastic lighters and opt for this “solar powered” invention. You wont need to worry about having a steady hand, either. Just set the base on a table and let the sun do its thing.
Waste Not, Want Not
Upon first glance you might think this gentleman’s is holding a broken umbrella, or at least caught a strong gust of wind. Actually, this Japanese invention is supposed to look like this, consisting of an inverted umbrella that acts as a vessel for rain water.
As we can see, there is a hose attached to it that connects to a plastic satchel that’s perfect for housing all that fresh H20. It’s a nice idea as it’s making use of something we use every day. But that bag has got to get pretty heavy to lug around, and probably would have been better off on wheels.
Gross Enough To Put You off Dinner Altogether
Ok, we’ll admit it. They lost the mark with this one. This Japanese invention intends to save you the risk you take every day when cutting vegtables. Instead of using your own hand to hold everything together, why not opt for this sickly-grey substitute hand instead?
We dont know what’s more creepy; the corpse-like grey tone or the fact that they painted the fake hand’s nails. Either way, we can say with some confidence that this invention was never going to do well over here. Unless you bought it as a weird secret Santa gift to a coworker you don’t like.