1 Nintendo Virtual Boy
The Nintendo Virtual Boy is a rudimentary portable 3D gaming device. It used “stereoscopic” 3D graphics, rendered mostly red, for basic games like tennis and golf. Players wore and looked through a head-mount and used the controller to play the games.
In 1995, Nintendo essentially gave up on producing the Virtual Boy and pushed it onto the market to start working on the N64. It was pretty much an immediate failure and became one of the worst-selling consoles in history.
2 Ab belts
Dreamed of having a six-pack without ever having to do any kind of actual ab work? Who hasn’t! And we’re sorry to break the bad news to you, but you’ll have to keep dreaming…for now. Ab belts became popular in the 90s and remain marketed even today, even while research shows that wearing an ab belt has no actual muscular benefit. In fact, the FTC filed lawsuits against companies that were making false claims about the ab belts.
3 Agent Orange
Agent Orange is an herbicide and defoliant chemical developed by the United States Army in the 1940s. The idea was that the agent could be sprayed on bushes and trees to destroy the cover that could be used by insurgents in heavily foliated areas.
It became infamous, however, when used by the US in Vietnam in the 1960s. Agent Orange later showed to have adverse health effects, not only for the Vietnamese insurgents but for the soldiers who handled it, as well. It caused birth defects, deformities, and other serious health conditions.
4 Microsoft Bob
Released in March 1995, Microsoft Bob was a program intended to be a more user-friendly interface for navigating Microsoft’s operating systems, Windows 3.1X and Windows 95. Essentially it turned a user’s desktop background into a room of the house, with clickable books and objects that corresponded to operations. There was also Rover, a cartoon dog who provided directions via speech bubbles.
It’s one of Microsoft’s biggest failures. Melinda Gates, who spearheaded the project, acknowledged that the program actually required more operating power than could currently be achieved by computers running Windows 95. So that meant that Bob was essentially useless. It was discontinued before the release of Windows 95, although Rover the dog appeared again from time to time.
5 Hyrdrogenated oils
You may know hydrogenated oils as trans fats or saturated fats, which research in the early 2000s showed to be extremely difficult for the human body to fully digest and a cause for some cancers. Hydrogenated oils took the form of popular vegetable oils and butter substitutes that had less fat and calories than traditional oil. It should be noted that trans fats are actually partially hydrogenated oils and have been banned by the FDA.
6 Parachute jacket
This is one of those inventions that became ultimately tragic for the inventor. Frantz Reichelt spent his life working on a jacket that aviators could wear that could turn into a parachute, should the aviator need to eject. He tested early versions on dummies and was successful. Unfortunately, those versions couldn’t be worn.
In 1912, he commissioned the Paris government to test his latest design by jumping from the Eiffel Tower, and they finally allowed it—thinking he was testing a dummy. But he soon announced that he would test it himself by jumping. Though they tried to dissuade him, he jumped anyway—tragically to his death.
7 Electrical face mask (Rejuvenique)
Why go all the way to the spa for a facial? You can strap this scary-looking thing on your face and get a facial right at home! The Rejuvenique supposedly sends electrical impulses to select areas of a face, in order to “rejuvenate” your face. There were only two problems: It didn’t work; and, it looks more like something you’d wear on Halloween. Also, do you really want a flimsy electronic device sending electricity into your face? Think about it.
8 Hoodie pillow
Ever wondered why you couldn’t combine your two favorite things in the world: wearing hoodies and soft pillows? No? We haven’t either. And we’re not really sure what the point is for this. Why would you want a hoodie specifically when you’re trying to lay on the pillow? And how does having it make for a night of better sleep, then say just a face mask? So many questions!
9 Dog dryer (Puff-n-Fluff)
No more waiting around for your dog to dry. Now, you can wrap your dog in this plastic tarp, stick a blow dryer in the intake tube, and dry your dog moderately faster! Think we’re kidding with this one? Nope. While this isn’t on the market anymore, it did make a brief and hilarious entrance around 2015. And because this was invented by a third-grader, we’re willing to give her credit for turning this idea into something that sold.
10 Grass flip-flops
If you love walking barefoot in the grass, then we encourage you to get outside and do some of that. However, we don’t recommend buying flip-flops to simulate the experience of walking in the grass, h. Most users of these claimed that the effect of the grass wore out in just a couple of days, and they were left with green flip-flops.