These Genius Things Somehow Exist Only Outside The US
Americans are known to take exceptional pride in their homemade products, including everything from cars to to gadgets to clothing. But some of the world’s most dynamic inventions in recent years have come from outside of the U.S.
Solutions to common problems, such as finding a vacant bathroom stall on demand, or preventing high heels from getting stuck in a sidewalk grate, astonishingly can’t be found in the U.S. Yet those genius inventions, along with several others, very much exist abroad…
Parking Wall Markers
Backing into a parking space is quite convenient, but it’s not always for the faint of heart. Dimly lit parking ramps and darkened parking garages with crowded spaces can stress out the most seasoned driver, making them especially difficult to navigate.
Behold, the parking wall marker. It does the simple task of extending the division of a parking space up the wall in full sight of any driver attempting to back into a parking space. This is a truly genius innovation for those needing to maintain ramps and for those who don’t have the best depth perception.
3D Printed Shower Cast
Broken bones are inconvenient enough; add the extra element of having a clunky cast and the chore of cleaning yourself daily, and it can be downright maddening. The waterproof shower cast makes your healing time breathable, clean, and comfortable.
Poly-covered plastic helps keep fragile bones and muscles in place, without being a major inconvenience. Showering with a clunky plaster cast is a thing of the past, and you have the added benefit of knowing that you can scratch an itch from any angle at any time.
Perhaps we should combine this staircase with the all-informative restaurant receipt for ultimate fitness goal help. Bypass the elevator next time and let this calorie-counting staircase illuminate your path and help make your choice feel more rewarding.
Down that candy bar with a little less guilt than before, as you’ll know exactly how many calories you’ll be burning with every step you end up taking. Consider multiple trips up and down the staircase to achieve better levels for your health and fitness.
When we get up to go to the bathroom at night, we find ourselves stumbling around in the dark, hoping we don’t hurt ourselves bumping into something. Turning on the light, which will inevitably wake spouses and children is not an option, so how do we navigate that nighttime treachery?
The illuminated slipper has battery operated LED lights embedded in the toes that point the way perfectly to any destination in total darkness. Getting water or answering nature’s call in the midnight hours no longer have to be dangerous missions.
For those tempted when shopping, the supermarket map puts an end to aimless wandering. Glide past the glittering bags of junk food, candy, and frozen treats and head straight toward the produce section, where many of us should be spending more time.
The map of the grocery store affixes securely to the front of a shopping cart. This ensures a shopper can mark out a pathway that avoids pit stops for coffee and fluffy doughnuts. Get in, get out, get on your way, minus any temptations along the way.
Surely at some point while driving, you’ve wanted to roll down your window and personally thank a driver for letting you into a crowded freeway. Or maybe you just wanted to express your frustration in a respectful way while keeping both your hands on the steering wheel.
Thanks to this traffic emoji, you can now communicate with other drivers how you are feeling about their antics and actions on the road. Now, if the smiley face weren’t so reminiscent of Pennywise the clown from the horror movie It, we’d be more eager to use it.
Peek A Boo Toasters
Whether you like your toast blonde, brown, or black, it would be pretty nice to have a little bit more control over your chosen hue before it’s too late and your breakfast is ruined. Grab the peanut butter and jelly, and get ready for perfect toast every time.
This peek-a-boo toaster gives you a front row seat to all the toasting action so you don’t have to wonder how it’s going to come out. Pop when you wish, and get ready to make your ideal toast, sandwich, or late-night snack courtesy of the toaster with windows.
Bathroom Movie Screens
Going to a movie is a pleasurable pastime, until it’s time that you discover that you need a bathroom break from too much of your soda. Darn that 40-ounce big gulp that they sell. Might be time to cut back on the liquids to make moviegoing less “active.”
This innovation is quite genius when you think of it. Small movie screens installed in the floor of each bathroom stall allow you to not miss any of the movie, while you’re doing your most intimate business. Though we hope the screens manage to stay clean on the floor.
Now you really have zero excuses for not working out. With the clever combination of having a laundromat and gym equipment together in the same place, you get to be a captive audience with plenty of time to work on laundry, as well as your physical form.
Push-ups, jumping jacks, abdominal crunches, weightlifting, squats — the sky’s honestly the limit, and you can reach your highest physical potential with a few well-chosen exercises while you wait for your unmentionables to dry. You even have a built-in break when you have to move your clothes to the dryer.
Nutritional Value On Restaurant Receipts
Going out to eat doesn’t have to mean totally letting go of the dietary principles that matter most to you in life. Many of us choose to dine out at restaurants to conserve time and energy, but we don’t want to sacrifice our health for the convenience.
Staying accountable on nights out to eat allows you to have the best of all worlds. The visual breakdown of carbs, protein, and fats makes it easier to think about and make healthy food choices for yourself, despite some natural resistance in doing so.
Messy Seat Savers
Being in a crowded cafeteria somewhere can be stressful, especially when you are corralling family members or using the restroom. Your seat could wind up being snatched by someone else, leading to an awkward and inevitable unpleasant conversation to be had.
This optical illusion looks like a disastrous mess, yet it is perfectly designed to deter people from sitting in your seat when you get up for a few minutes. Choose from all sorts of variations whether it’s spilled coffee, melted ice cream, or a pile of spaghetti; your seat will stay open.
Well, someone has really thought of everything. We resist flushing a public toilet with our bare hand (especially in the last few years) and even fewer of us have the flexibility and dexterity to gingerly flush with an extended ballet pose. Inventors to the rescue.
Some clever bloke positioned a foot pedal at the base of the toilet, meaning effortless flushing for the inflexible, those averse to all sorts of germs, and those wearing pencil skirts. There is no longer an excuse for failing to flush, and you’ll want one at home immediately.
Bathroom Stall Indicator Lights
One of the worst parts about using a public restroom on the fly is having to figure out which stalls are occupied, and which happen to be available. With kids and shopping bags in tow, and a time crunch before disaster, you have the makings of a truly stressful situation.
We’ve got you covered with this. The bathroom stall indicator lights that you’ll find present in many European restrooms help save time and everyone’s dignity, and you are able to breeze into a throne with plenty of time to spare. No more close calls. Whew!
How many times have you thought to yourself, “I really need to mop the kitchen floor,” as you skirt across it during a flurry of daily activity? Having no time or interest in getting a mop immediately deters you. The innovation of these genius mop slippers solves that problem.
You can put your multitasking powers to good use as you clean, declutter, and cook simultaneously. Just slip on these fuzzy and functional wonders and cut your hours of backbreaking housework down significantly. Every step you take helps clean up.
Clean roads are both more attractive and efficient; yet the process of employing street sweepers and clearing cars out with ticketing procedures is tough stuff. In places where high traffic runs through consistently, it is nice to have the option of a self-cleaning street to keep everything clear and running smoothly.
Smart and savvy street reflectors act as double agents; they have spouts that spread saltwater throughout the road at various intervals. They keep the asphalt clean while ensuring that driving surfaces remain ice free for those colder climates.
The Recycling Machine
There is very big emphasis lately on a cleaner, greener Earth. Efforts to reduce, re-use, and recycle are pretty common in trying to make the world a more beautiful place. Japan has strategically placed recycling machines on street corners around their beautiful cities for this reason.
If you find yourself needing to dispose of your sandwich wrappers and empty soda bottles while there, simply look for one of these beauties. Using these efficient recycling receptacles makes it easier to recycle and helps contribute to reduce the carbon footprint.
Shoe Covers For Street Grates
Why anyone would want to wear six-inch heels for a walk down the street is hard to fathom. Some jobs though don’t give much of a choice. Many ladies have been the victim of a broken shoe heel or, worse yet, a broken ankle when trying to navigate steamy street grates.
This invention is hopefully a deterrent to that nonsense and savior for elegant feet. Shoe covers for grates show these daring divas exactly where to walk to avoid broken shoes and broken ankles. Now let’s hope they have an impeccable sense of balance.
Unfortunately, when adulthood set in for many of us, our sense of adventurousness and playfulness got away from us as well. It seems that with wisdom comes hesitancy; we choose the adult steps in the middle and leave the faster, more fun way to travel to the young and carefree.
This slick little setup leaves us wondering how many children keep going repeatedly when they reach the bottom, and whether they reunite with their parents promptly or choose to return to the top for another round. Go down the stairs or slide down them.
Floor Evacuation Post
If you’ve ever been in a fire escape situation, you likely know the mantra fire safety professionals say “Stop, drop, and roll.” Since it’s best to drop to your hands and knees in preparation for crawling to safety, it would make sense if evacuation signs were posted where we can see them easily.
Thanks to the magic of the floor evacuation post, it’s now a bit easier to act quickly in a dangerous situation; the sign is posted where you hopefully are at that time. It’ll encourage people to take the right course of action just to read the sign. Take a deep breath and get moving.
Extended Traffic Lights
In the Ukraine, they’ve got the market cornered when it comes to making sure traffic intersections flow smoothly. Extended traffic lights reach far out and above looming traffic, making it easy to see who’s coming and going. In case you can’t tell what color the light is, the long illuminated beam should help.
Glowing red and green lights are showcased for all to see, helping you to plan your next move as you strategically slow down or speed up. No more craning your neck around the big truck in front of you. You can see it all and know if you’re in the correct lane.
Detailed Ingredient Lists On Chemical Products
Bravo to the company Proctor and Gamble; you’ve managed to put a very common-sense idea in play. For years, we’ve wondered why all of the multi-syllabic jargon listed for household cleaning products is really necessary to be on the bottle.
Detailed ingredient lists on these P&G products now not only list the ingredients themselves, but also adds the function of each of the contents. Many of our questions wind up being answered, but new ones might arise in light of all this additional information.
Popular in Japan, the invention of diagonal crosswalks is a dream for pedestrians waiting to cross the street. Instead of needing to wait for two lights to turn red, they can safely stroll across the street once, diagonally. This innovation prevents jaywalking and helps people not get hit by cars.
Japan is known to be one of the safest countries in the world, so it makes sense that this concept was popularized there, as this creation surely has saved some lives. Though, while these diagonal crosswalks are pedestrian-friendly, we’re not sure how pleased drivers are with them.
Healthy Grocery Snacks For Kids
Grocery shopping parents everywhere are certainly breathing a collective sigh of relief. Grocery stores have offered up bakery leftovers for years to children, which doesn’t really help matters. We’d rather not have our kids immediately go for the glittering cases of sugar?
Thankfully, a new trend is emerging; produce is now offered as a snack option for those wee tots. No worries; grumbling tummies will eventually win out, and those apples and bananas will be just as popular as the sugar cookies, and is a much healthier alternative.
USB Electrical Outlet Combo
When the need comes for a quick phone charge, it can be frustrating to find a wall outlet available to plug your device into. Worse yet, finding an open port on your computer never charges as efficiently. Knowing the importance of having a fully-charged device comes this nifty invention.
A USB electrical outlet combo can give you the option of keeping outlets open for electrical devices while still supplying a USB port for your charging cord. Power up nearly anywhere you go, making low battery and high anxiety truly a thing of the past.
So Long, Snooze Button
Sorry, deep sleepers, your time is up. Gone are the days of hitting the snooze button and slumbering into mid-morning, missing another day of work after oversleeping. You’ll love the latest innovation in alarm clock technology that helps you break this bad habit.
This alarm clock literally has tires; the minute it goes off, it’s in motion, jumping off the nightstand and rolling under furniture until you finally turn it off. With all that exercise, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running, albeit maybe while a bit groggy.
When trying to set up a respectful environment in a veterinary office for those saying goodbye to pets, the presence of a candle and simple sign for all to see asking them to notice and pay silent respects is ideal. It’s a nice way to bring peace to a sad moment.
Pet owners know that this is a significant moment in any pet journey, and we appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gesture for those that unfortunately have to part with very significant companions. When the candle is lit, excess talking should quit.
Color-Coded Shopping Baskets
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? While some people relish the thought of having a personal assistant helping to find the right product, the mere thought of talking to a sales associate may strike fear in some of us and make us want to leave the store.
Color-coded shopping baskets is the answer to all of your shopping woes. Simply pick your chosen color and decide how much attention you want to attract to yourself as you create the shopping experience you desire. Your basket will easily tell the salespeople I could use help or back off.
Sound-Sensitive Activities At Chuck E. Cheese
Chuck E. Cheese is a kid’s wonderland- for those without sensory issues. Even the most balanced kid or parent can be a little frazzled after a night of entertainment in this sound and sight-soaked atmosphere.
Chuck E. Cheese executives took note of this concern from parents, and they drafted “Sensory Sundays” designed for these children. Softer lighting and quieter games allow kids and families to enjoy some stress-free fun.
Mustache-Proof Coffee Mug
Guys, if you’ve taken the time to grow and sport a killer mustache, you don’t want it getting wet while eating and drinking. Now you can enjoy the frothiest beverage on the menu with a mug designed for your mug.
In actuality, the mustache-guarding mug was invented in the Victorian era, when vanity was at an all-time high. These mugs are making a comeback among those with an affinity to sporting silky, lush facial hair.
This device is for those tech-savvy friends who can’t be bothered to set down their electronic devices. Even the most resistant teen will be on board as they return to life in the present around the dinner table.
Lock in your electronics for minutes, hours, or days. Demand interpersonal interaction as you all engage in conversation. Just make sure you remember where you put the key when all of your warm fuzzy exchanges are over.
Out for a stroll with your honey, and finding yourself in need of a sweet treat? A stop at the nearest cupcake ATM will satisfy your sweet tooth, while also making for an interesting conversation piece to share.
While they may not be freshly baked, the novelty of being able to select a guilty indulgence on your nearest street corner is enough to get anyone’s mouth salivating. Dieters will have to muster the willpower to resist making the stop.
Chronological Building Parts
IKEA execs, please take note; those of us who try to assemble DIY furniture know feelings of frustration as we survey mounds of nuts, bolts, and unidentified parts spilling out of your package contents.
One furniture manufacturer has finally gotten his business in order, by strategic labeling of parts in chronological order to ensure that even the most confused furniture assembly session goes smoothly.
Fast Food Car Holders
Transient schedules have us commuting for much of our day and we barely have time to get in a meal. While we don’t favor car meals, food should at least be in a secure place to ensure safe eating and driving.
This little invention has you covered. One pocket easily accepts a fry sleeve, while another enshrouds your favorite dipping sauce. Dip carefully, or you’ll arrive with a ketchup stain on your favorite pants.
Ready To-Go Banana Bread Bags
Any baker knows that it can be tricky to buy and save bananas for banana bread without eating them all in their prime. Forgotten bananas quickly brown and become undesirable for many fruit lovers. What to do?
With the ready to go banana bread bag, you can grab, go, and bake that very day. The bags even come equipped with a recipe, so now the only problem you’ll have is saving a warm slice for yourself before it’s all gone.
Vertigo School Hallway
Middle-aged teachers, beware; this hallway can really mess with your depth perception. A master artist crafted this twisted floor design in hopes that it would slow those wayward kids down for a closer inspection.
Well, it worked. Students don’t dare enter the twisted portion of floor too fast, for fear that they’ll trip and look foolish in front of classmates. Who knows when the novelty will wear off and kids will start speeding up again.
Candy Free Checkout Lines
Parents, you can breathe a sigh of relief. These candy-free checkout lines are marked with a simple white banner and blue lettering that let you know there will be no power struggle as you pay for your wares.
Dentists everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief; it is these impulse purchases that sap us of our dental health. Consumption of candy bars adds up over time, so we are thankful to have a respite from temptation as we shop.
A clever Einstein has crafted an on-the-go version of a pizza Redbox, and it’s taking off like a firecracker. Customize your delicious pie in mere minutes.
Friday night just got easier. Your hardest job, aside from choosing toppings, will be donning comfy clothes and selecting a movie to curl up with for a perfect evening with family or friends. Let the pie munching begin.
Some of us have dainty hands and sport plenty of manual dexterity, while others have meat hooks hanging from our arms that make it difficult to do the simplest of tasks. If you’re in the latter category, there is hope.
The chip lifter is designed to fit underneath those delicious potato stacks locked into cylindrical cans; we no longer have to fumble our way to the bottom or pour crumbs when seeking the last chips in the stack.
Sanitary Door Device
For all of us hesitant to open public restroom doors, there’s a solution. Scores of unsightly pathogens, germs and bacteria live on bathroom door handles, despite our best efforts to clean and sanitize between visits.
A simple press on the pedal and you have effortless entry and exit from all sorts of bathroom situations, whether messy or clean, wet or dry. No matter the unsanitary conditions that exist, we’re grateful for the technology.
As a gum chewer, you sometimes find yourself needing to dispose of these rock hard, tasteless lumps once they are chewed. A fruity delight quickly goes south as we chew the life out of our favorite flavors.
With the package of gum papers conveniently tucked next to your gum, you’ll never have to worry about wrapping on the go; no more sticky, hair-matted clumps at the bottom of your purse to clean out. Chomp away.
Shopping Cart Calculator
How many times have you stressed out at the grocery store? Will your couponing efforts pay off? Having to calculate your budget money against items in your cart is a process that people are not excited to gamble with.
With the magnificent invention of the shopping cart calculator, you can easily keep track of those items that are must haves and stack them against more wishful purchases like chips, candy, and pastries.
Although some may see Doggie Dens as restrictive and unwelcoming, other loyal pet owners prefer to bring their treasured tag-alongs wherever they go. Pet lovers got together and crafted a compromise that all would be happy with.
The development of the doggie den was a best answer for shop owners and pet lovers; the doggie den allows your pet to relax in comfort while you go shopping for groceries, dine with friends, and go about your business.
Coffee For Trash Instead Of Cash
Cleaning up our environment just got a little more pleasant; with the simple placement of a beachfront store sign, they are now having patrons bring in some beach trash for something better than cash.
The beach and boardwalk outside this establishment are now ship shape, thanks to the shop’s distribution of free coffee in exchange for a few bags. It’s a win-win for all beachgoers and coffee lovers.
How many times have you found yourself waking up earlier than expected thanks to a sliver of light peering in through hotel room curtains that don’t close? With this innovation, you can slumber as late as you please.
Overlapping hardware holding the curtain fabric allows you to fully close the heavy drapes, shutting out natural light until you want to see it. Get ready for a great night’s slumber, thanks to the mastermind who invented it.
Beach Accessibility Mats
Finally, those who are wheelchair bound or use wheeled devices for mobility can now enjoy sand and sun like others. The beach accessibility mat is the perfect way to enjoy a fun-filled day by the water.
Stretching from parking lot to the water, strollers, shopping cars, wagons, and wheelchairs can now easily navigate what was formerly a very unforgiving terrain, and all can congregate for a great day outdoors.
Dual Playground Swing
So you have two kids who want to swing, and two hands. Even with some serious resolve, it can be difficult to keep both kids happy. The dual swing makes life a little more joyful for all.
Place your little one in the baby swing and your toddler down below, and you have the makings of a fun and frolicky afternoon. Now where did those snacks go? Make sure you’re prepared for any playground scenario.
Why isn’t there an overpass warning sign preceding every low clearance overpass? It would save time, repair bills, and much stress for those of us carrying wide or heavy loads. This clever sign helps you plan ahead.
“If you hit this sign, you will hit the bridge ahead”, the sign clearly states. Personal and commercial trucks, SUVs, and large vehicles take note. Be observant and spare yourself from physical and financial harm.
Well-Planned Elevator Call Buttons
Those awkward silences you experience while waiting for an elevator to arrive can be a thing of the past with a well-placed elevator call button. Simply press to summon and keep on walking to your destination.
As you arrive at the elevator, the doors open on cue, ready to take you wherever your next button push will take you. If you time your gait just right, you might even miss passengers who are getting off as you board.
Floor Elevator Buttons
Perfect for all types of elevators, the floor elevator button is designed to respond to a gentle kick. For those of us with full hands or kids in tow, this is ideal for a smoother and more efficient ride to your next floor.
The floor elevator button is also great for those who suffer from mobility issues. Keeping these floor buttons clean and dry may be a challenge, but it’s a step we are willing to take to ensure convenience.
Who are those prying eyes trying to see into your bathroom stall? Many of us simply don’t feel safe sitting down to some private business with gaping holes on either side of the bathroom door; we’re anxious about peeking.
Bathroom bristles bring some sound-proof assurance to your public restroom experience. Peeping Toms are deterred, and you can make your most private transactions in privacy… to the degree that you can control yourself.
Safe Zones For Internet Purchases
We’ve all heard horror stories about Craigslist and eBay sales gone wrong, as people attempt to meet in person, only to be violated or short-changed in some way. In person meetings for this type of transaction are not ideal.
The innovation of a “safe internet exchange zone” makes areas like police station parking lots and other regulated areas safer to meet and complete transactions. Knowing extra sets of eyes are watching is comforting.
Timed Bottle Opener
For those of us with medications to take, this innovation can be a lifesaver. It can be difficult to keep meds schedules straight, and many of us have missed a dose because we couldn’t remember when to take them.
A digital top displays the last time that your meds bottle was opened, giving you no doubts about when you may have taken them. Opening is one thing, taking is another; perhaps it’s time to write down your schedule.
Copenhagen residents care about their kids; this bicycling playground closely mimics the streets of the city, giving kids a chance to get their pedals moving in a safe and secure place, far from traffic.
After they’ve practiced on the playground, they’ll enter the world of real transportation with confidence, knowing how to behave and maneuver on streets. If only other urban cities would adopt this genius idea.
Miles and miles of waterways beg to be enjoyed in several cities across the world, but not everyone has the stamina to walk these distances to enjoy them. Stopping to take a breath by the railing is not ideal.
A clever bench built right into the railing allows tired patrons to enjoy waterside views without the added stress of constantly walking and standing. An aesthetically pleasing design is a great conversation piece too.
Airless Bicycle Tires
Bicycle enthusiasts everywhere can rejoice, as they start out on a Saturday joyride with plenty of gear in tow, and without worry about checking the air in their tires, as they have this amazing innovation to thank for their peace of mind.
The airless bicycle tire is made from durable foam interspersed with air pockets. This clever design ensures that you’ll never have to inflate a tire again, and you’ll have miles of trails ahead of you to enjoy.
Human/Pet Water Fountain
Parks are welcoming places for pets across the globe, so it’s surprising that we haven’t conceived this idea before. A cleverly designed water fountain allows both of you to stop and drink after vigorous play sessions.
Any spillover from the top reservoir runs down into a trough that most furry friends can easily access. If you don’t have a pet, no worries, as you’ll likely be doing your part to hydrate neighborhood creatures.
Frosty Beverage Holder
We’ve all had the experience of a drink getting watered down too quickly when ice melts and compromises our favorite flavors. This clever invention prevents your watering hole from giving you a disappointing experience.
A strip of frost built into the bar allows you to rest your drink in a cool place while you work on your social skills. You’ll find the evening progressing quite well with cool drinks and cool friends surrounding you.
Pulling on various chains to turn on a fan or a light can be frustrating, especially if you aren’t tall enough to reach them without assistance. Quick thinking and fan fashion, you don’t have to guess anymore.
With these clever bulb and fan charms that you can affix to the end of your chains, the guessing game is officially over. Pull to your heart’s content and enjoy light and extra breeze at your bidding.
The “No Stopping… Ever” Sign
Solicitors, beware. No matter what you are selling, there are simply some homes that you should just not approach. If you were to see this sign in the yard, steer clear. They probably have some deterrent plan in place.
Anyone who posts this sign knows Jesus, they have girl scout cookies already, and they have no need for a new vacuum cleaner. And if you are of a certain political persuasion, keep on walking, or else.
Blurry-Screened Cash Machine
The need for financial security is at an all-time high; you never know who might be peeking over your shoulder as you are accessing private financial information from your nearest ATM. Keep that PIN covered.
This cash machine ensures almost complete and total privacy as you enter your information; you cannot see the screen clearly until you are right in front of it. Withdraw and deposit money with extra peace of mind.
Dirty and dingy winter streets make it difficult to navigate busy intersections, especially for pedestrians. Thanks in part to this invention, the way is lit for safe walking and biking amidst heavy traffic.
Overhead projection devices flawlessly deliver an illuminated crosswalk for all to follow, leaving no guesswork when it comes to providing safety when crossing busy intersections. On the snowiest street, we can find our way.
Qwerty Keyboard Remote
Inputting data into your television can be challenging while using a simple television remote; with access to channel and volume variants, searching for a specific television show or movie can be maddening.
Thanks to this dual-sided remote, a simple flip of the wrist and you have an entire QWERTY keyboard at your fingertips. Searching becomes nearly effortless; let the binge watching of your favorite series begin.
Detergent Refill Kiosks
Doing their part to preserve and protect the environment, department stores in Prague are installing the self-service detergent refill kiosk to encourage customers to reuse old plastic jugs that they might discard otherwise.
Original packaging is no longer needed; if you want to bring a five-gallon drum to fill with your favored detergent or softener, feel free. You’ll be doing your part to contribute to clean, green living.
Randomized Numerical Keypad
Scammers, beware: no more will you be able to simply memorize hand movements to figure out an unsuspecting victim’s PIN. This simple invention will foil your efforts every single time, leaving you wondering why.
Technological genius ensures that the numbers are randomly scrambled every time a transaction takes place; when entering your PIN, it’s best to pay attention, lest you yourself make a mistake that could slow you down.
Well-Behaved Kids Discount
Parents, did you know that some restaurants encourage your best child-rearing efforts, by providing you with a discount for good behavior? Yep, it’s really true.
For tables that don’t indulge in food throwing, screaming, or dropping cutlery on the floor, this restaurant is prepared to compensate you for your kids’ good behavior, by offering a discount on all services.
Art museums haven’t typically been places for blind or visually impaired people to seek out for entertainment, as many institutions maintain a strict “hands-off” approach to art enjoyment. Changes are afoot, however.
A museum in Berlin recently debuted touchable versions of favorite art pieces; now those who are blind or visually impaired have the opportunity to appreciate lines, light and color just as we do, with a few modifications.
Norway isn’t the only place with steep terrain; more than one city might benefit from this technological wonder. After biking around the city, it’s tiring to get up that last hill. Now, tired bicyclists have more options.
The bicycle escalator sits alongside busy roadways, and it’s prepared to whisk you and your bike to the top of a steep hill (or to the bottom of one, if you wish for a slower ride). Take a breath, and hop on for a break.
Sewn-In Lens Cloth
Maintaining clean glasses throughout the day can be difficult; it’s even more challenging to find a lens cleaning cloth at the bottom of a purse or inside a jacket. This shirt takes the guesswork out of finding and cleaning.
A simple piece of lens cloth sewn at the bottom of the shirt makes it a snap to grab and clean anytime, anywhere. Now if we could just have a sewn-in handkerchief on the other side, we’d be good to go in all situations.
Many cities, states, and countries offer a small amount of money in exchange for collection of recycled bottles and cans. Norway, in particular, has given careful thought to who might be up for this task.
A clever shelf doubling as a receptacle makes it easy for those down on their luck to collect a few cans and bottles without rifling through the trash. Keeping hands clean and scoring some green; thanks, Norway.
When one wants to sit for a spell, it can be frustrating to experience sun in your eyes or heat on your back. A little forethought and some engineering, and we’ve taken comfort to the next level of adjustable and cool.
This simple design boasts a railway underneath each bench; move the bench to your desired resting location, and you have the perfect place to relax and unwind for a bit. Maintain your balance when in motion please.
Where was this invention thirty years ago? Families with full fridges everywhere are rejoicing; the simple design of the revolving fridge with lazy Susan shelving allows for easy access to all food and drink options.
There’s no need to reach to the back of a shelf for the ketchup and knock over several containers of leftovers along the way; a simple flick of the wrist and you have the snack that you desire at your fingertips.
Double-Sided Sleep Mask
Long flights can be exhausting, and even more so if you are continually woken up by flight attendants asking you if you would like food and drink. Thanks to the creation of this dual-sided mask, there’s no guessing.
One side is clearly marked with utensils, indicating your growling stomach, while the other encourages stewards to pass by and leave you peacefully slumbering. You choose your flight experience, and sleep or dine in comfort.
Bathroom Accessories Tray
How many times have you had to juggle personal effects while using the restroom? Placing them on the floor is not an option either; there’s no telling when the last time that tile was cleaned thoroughly.
The bathroom accessories tray is the perfect place to put your keys, wallet, purse, sunglasses–whatever you need to drop while doing your personal business. Don’t leave anything behind; you’re not likely to retrieve it.
Baby Stroller Test Area
A genius idea that should be implemented in all stores selling strollers is the testing area; parents everywhere are sighing with relief that they’ll now get to try before they buy to ensure all-road efficiency.
Tile, brick, stone, and other raised surfaces comprise the testing floor; simply choose your stroller model and take her for a quick spin. Add a little weight for additional data collection before purchasing.
Fitted Sheet Labels
Whether you’re new at making up a bed or a seasoned housekeeper, you likely know the frustration that fitted sheets present. It may take many persistent tries before finding a fit that stays in place.
Thank goodness for fitted sheet labels; why didn’t we think of this before? Saving time and a few choice utterances, we can now make our beds quickly and efficiently, without the extra stress, tugs, and struggles.
Outward Facing Train Seats
Japan is known for its beautiful scenery, and transportation innovators capitalize on it by creating rides that are both efficient and enjoyable. Hop aboard a commuter train in this country and get ready for a surprise.
Many trains are now sporting outward facing seats; once you secure a spot for yourself, you can behold the breathtaking beauty of the ocean or picturesque scenery of mountains rather than the guy snoring across the aisle.
Bicycle Seat Rooftop Covers
Public transportation via bicycle is nice, until you find that the one you selected for your morning ride has a soaking wet seat. Thanks to the innovation of the rooftop cover, you longer have to worry about wet arrivals.
Simply pay and go, knowing that while you may be drying off the handlebars and pedals as you ride to your destination, you’ll no longer have to worry about your seat-pants or otherwise, while you travel.
For those of us who travel frequently, we know well the stress of having to pack in compliance with airline restrictions. If you are someone who struggles with packing light, you might want to pick up one of these.
This suitcase is self-weighing; as you pack, you know exactly how much weight you’re putting into it, case included. There’s no longer a need for guessing or negotiation at the ticket counter.
Crowded cafeterias and mall food courts could all benefit from the use of these chairs; we’re most likely carrying extra baggage with us when we enter these areas, and could use a little help organizing our belongings.
The notched chair is designed to help with organization; a small divot in the top of the chair is perfect for purses and shopping bags that you don’t want to drag on the floor, while you enjoy hands-free social time.
Fresh and local is one thing, but supermarkets across the globe are going to the next level of delicious and locally sourced. Stopping at these markets guarantees better food at reasonable prices; who doesn’t want that?
With local hypermarkets growing their own vegetables, concerned consumers can ask questions about growing practices that might not otherwise be disclosed. Buy fresh, eat fresh, and you’ll achieve better health.
Magnetic Bracelets For Holding Hardware
Trying to fix things around the house while holding on to small pieces like nuts, bolts, and screws is maddening. How many of us have had to climb down from a perch only to search for wayward pieces to finish the job?
The magnetic bracelet is a handyman’s best friend; small pieces like nails and screws easily hang on to your wrist, keeping everything within arm’s reach as you perform magical DIY projects. No searching needed.
Regulating Cup Holders
Upon its release, the cup holder was the greatest thing since sliced bread. But then one car manufacturer took things up a level of comfort and convenience with the temperature-regulating cup holder. Iced tea, hot chocolate, coffee, cola- the choice is yours. As you cruise down the road, you’ll have the luxury of being able to keep your beverage as cold or hot as you’d like.
While amazing inventions have been produced all around the world, Japan in particular has long been at the forefront of technological innovation. From aerospace drones to whimsical consumer goods, take a peek at the most unique Japanese inventions that almost no Americans have heard of…
Eyedropper Assist Glasses
Putting eye drops into your own eyes is difficult because of the strange angle and the powerful instinctual drive we all have to protect our precious sight organs from potentially harmful foreign objects, even if we are the ones administering them.
First patented in 1991, these quirky-looking funnel glasses were designed in Japan to assist with the self-application of eye medicines. As simple as two funnels attached to a pair of glasses, they remove the aiming part of the process out of the equation altogether.
Air Conditioned Shirt
Japan gets hot, really hot in the summer but it is not socially acceptable to be scantily clad to beat the heat in Tokyo or Osaka like it is in say Miami or LA. Japanese business people have tried out several ways to keep cool yet maintain a respectable dress code, including short sleeve suit jackets.
Several Japanese garment companies have installed ventilating fans in their shirts and jackets. Whether in a boardroom or a crowded Tokyo subway, these air-conditioned clothes are designed to keep the wearer cool, calm, and collected.
A Great Butter Grater
If you’ve ever been frustrated by attempting to spread cold butter onto a fresh piece of toast, this butter grater is a godsend. No more mangling toast with a knife when a few twists of this grater will provide you with fine shreds of butter to gently lay down upon your bread.
We’ve been shredding cheeses for a long time to assist with faster melting times so it seems only natural that we would carry over the same principle to another staple dairy product. You can now find these handy graters online for about $5.
The Infinite Bubble Wrap Keychain
One of the most satisfying parts of buying something off the internet is unwrapping it and getting to pop all the bubble wrap between your fingers with childlike joy before tossing the flattened remnants into the plastic recycling bin.
The Mugen Puti Puti (in Japanese ‘Infinite Bubblewrap’) is exactly what it sounds like: a never-ending patch of bubblewrap that you can keep on you at all times. For only a few dollars you can pop to your heart’s content.
Doggles are canine sunglasses that were invented when their founders noticed that their dog was having trouble playing fetch in the sun and was often missing the ball. A great solution ensued: sunglasses that were specially designed for dogs.
While this product was inspired by a young, active dog, older dogs who have cataracts from age can also benefit from wearing these on a sunny day. Doggles also offers other dog-friendly products such as boots, beds, bowls, carriers, and more.
JEM Space Drone
Drone technology is being used for more and more applications. From cinematography to warfare to nature conservancy. This one, produced by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, has been created to assist astronauts in audio-visual data collection in space.
Designed to work in zero gravity, the JEM Internal Ball looks like a droid straight out of Star Wars. While most of us will never see one of these in action we all stand to benefit from the information it collects in deep space.
The Sound Catching Pillow
Want to lay in bed and watch Netflix all day but don’t want to sit relatively upright in the same position the entire time? Well, this soft cube-shaped pillow allows you to lay on your side without muffling the sound to your lower ear.
The hollowed-out core of the FUJIPACKS All-Sound Catch Cubic Pillow allows sound to pass unobstructed by all the fluff found in a normal pillow. It’s surprisingly comfortable and comes in a variety of colors.
Instant Translation Smart Mask
Due to SARS and other previous viral outbreaks, the Japanese were accustomed to wearing masks even before the pandemic hit. No surprise then that they’ve already developed some fancy additions to the standard N95 surgical mask.
The C-Face Smart Mask fits over a standard mask and allows the speaker to instantly translate their native speech into one of eight different languages that is then amplified outwards. Expect these to become normal features of international tourism and diplomacy in the future.
Flush-in-a-Pocket Polite Pooper
This handy invention was created as an eco-friendly water conservation device for Tokyo urbanites, particularly women. In order to cover up conspicuous sounds while in public restrooms or in shared apartments, Japanese women used to run the faucet or flush the toilet repeatedly while doing their business.
Created to reduce water consumption, this battery-operated speaker on a keychain produces the sound of running water or flushing as a way to obscure unwanted noises while on the toilet without all the wasted water. Good for maintaining our environment, good for maintaining your poise.
Karaoke For One
Not sure if you are ready to debut your rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ at the Karaoke bar this weekend? This silent mic and headphone set made by Prodiea will allow you to train at home without bothering your roommates and neighbors.
The funnel-like mic mutes 70% of the volume of your singing so you can really belt it out to your favorite tunes. Performing karaoke is said to be a therapeutic way to reduce social anxiety and improve self-esteem; all the better if you’ve had lots of practice before getting up in front of others.
Mini Portable Washing Machine
At about 6 inches long and 3 inches high this has got to be the smallest washing machine out there. Powered by USB, this little gadget has a ten-minute wash cycle and was designed to allow those who work dirty jobs to quickly clean small items.
The Thanko Mini Mini Desktop USB Washing Machine is a handy way to clean glasses, sunglasses, jewelry, and wristwatches (provided of course that they are waterproof). It’s compact, quick, and non-abrasive.
Panasonic’s Robot Fridge
No more pausing your favorite show to go raid the fridge. Panasonic has created a 600 lb mini-fridge that will come to you when called. Using LIDAR light detection depth sensors this fridge can safely navigate from the kitchen to your coach side.
While this fridge was designed with the elderly and those with mobility issues in mind, this invention will surely be a hit with your average couch potato as well. This puts the built-in couch cooler to shame.
Children’s Seats in Public Restrooms
It’s a wonder why this simple utilitarian invention hasn’t made its way to every public restroom the world over. Designed to ease the burden breaks on already overburdened parents, these can be found in public restrooms across Japan.
Doing your business while holding a child is not easy or comfortable and the alternative is putting your child down on to one of the least hygienic surfaces on the planet: a public restroom floor. These seats should be available everywhere.
While everyone likely remembers the epic failure that was the launch of Google Glasses a few years ago, these new glasses by Fun’iki aren’t attempting to be an entire operating system half an inch from your eyeballs. The Ambient Glasses Digital Eyewear offers a far more simplistic version that focuses only on notifications.
Using mini speakers in the frames and six colored LED lights, the Ambient Glasses are designed to allow the wearer to take note of incoming notifications without having to pick up their smartphone every few minutes. They connect via Bluetooth and have a tiny rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The Baby Mop Onesie
This onesie is designed to allow the youngest members of your family to help with housework. Since they are crawling around on the floor anyway they may as well help mop up while they are down there.
The soft mop material attached to the arms and legs of the onesie double as soft padding to protect the little ones from hardwood and tile flooring. Riding the line between novelty and practicality, these onesies have been available in Japan since the ’90s.
Qoobo the Interactive Cat Cushion
Study after study shows that having a pet can positively affect our mental and emotional wellbeing. Unfortunately, many people are either allergic to our most common furry companions or live in apartments that don’t allow tenants to have pets.
With these people in mind, Yukai Engineering created Qoobo, their soft faux-feline cushion that has a tail that wags when you stroke it. While it will never bring the same companionship of a living cat, it does have the benefit of never needing to be fed, it won’t bring fleas into your house, and best of all: no litter box cleanup.
Back in 2018, Asahi Power Service Company created a prototype for a drone umbrella that is designed to fly directly above the owner providing hands-free protection from inclement weather, whether it be rain or harsh sun rays.
Unfortunately for those who want to take advantage of this product, regulations on drone usage have prevented this invention from hitting the streets of Tokyo or anywhere else. For now, regulations prohibit the flying of drones within 30 meters of other people.
Sideloading Moving Truck
Anyone who has tried to use a moving truck in an urban area will be wishing they had one of these. It’s hard enough to find parking for a normal car in most cities. Finding a place to park a giant moving truck within eyesight of your new apartment is next to impossible, especially considering the extra space needed BEHIND the truck for the ramp.
These side-loading moving trucks (and even pickup trucks) are standard in Japanese cities. Not only do they require less parking space, but their wide side opening also allows multiple moving people to access the truck at the same time cutting down on the amount of time the move takes.
Mop Slipper/ Shoe Covers
While it’s nice to have the toddlers pulling their weight with the Baby Mop Onesie, as seen above, the rest of the family should pitch in with the household chores as well. To that end, one Japanese inventor put the same synthetic mop material on shoe covers.
The real benefit of these shoe covers is that they allow you to not immediately undo all of your hard work by walking over your recently mopped floor in your shoes or getting your socks and feet all damp if you decide to mop shoeless. Well worth the few bucks that they cost.
These robot waiters first appeared in a pop-up cafe called Dawn Ver in Tokyo in 2018. The restaurant is staffed by 10 paraplegic and quadriplegic workers and their robotic counterparts who go to tables to take orders and deliver meals.
Robotic workers and assistants are becoming more and more popular in Japan but they still tend to be stationary robots that serve as hosts and check-in attendants at hotels, theme parks, and the like.
Cat Accessories Vending Machines
It is well documented just how much the Japanese love vending machines, cats, and all things cute. Knowing their audience well, Kitan Club decided to combine all three and launch a line of cat accessory vending machines.
At first, only cat-sized bandanas were available but they were such a hit that the company expanded and now offers other feline accessories such as hats shaped like candy wrappers or other cute animals like lambs.
The Liberation Napkin
In Japan, etiquette in public is always important. There is a lingering traditional standard for women to have small mouths, called “Ochobo” in Japanese, so that means you’ll see less wide, toothy grins and a propensity to cover one’s mouth while chewing.
A chain of burger joints realized that the size of their burgers required two hands and large bites to enjoy properly. Figuring Ochobo was preventing women from enjoying their product they created the Liberation Napkin to provide them with some privacy as they chowed down. Sales of their classic burgers to women went up 213%.
Japan has quite the rainy season, and it is not uncommon to see umbrella lockers in Japanese stores, movie theaters, and malls. These batteries of lockable racks provide a free and secure place for visitors to leave their umbrellas upon entering a building.
Not only does this allow clients to browse and shop unencumbered by an object that is long and awkward to carry, but it also helps to increase safety as a wet umbrella can create slippery surfaces where people might fall and hurt themselves. As Japan’s population has more and more older folks with mobility issues this is crucial.
Noodle Eating Splash Guard
Ramen and other kinds of noodly soups are a staple of the Japanese diet. Unlike in American and Western European cultures, slurping is not only considered perfectly acceptable table manners in Japan, they believe the slurping action actually enhances the ability to taste the depth of flavor in a soupy dish.
That’s why this seemingly ridiculous splash guard makes a bit more sense in Japan, though we highly doubt you’ll see people wearing it out in public much. For some overzealous slurpers, this might be just the thing they need to prevent soup from getting into their hair.
TikTok-Ready Selfie Mic
For those with fewer inhibitions, this selfie stick with an integrated mic will be a must-have. Compatible with iOS and Android devices the SelfieMic is used with a companion app called StarMaker where you can download your favorite songs to sing along to.
These have already become a staple for bloggers and vloggers throughout Asia and will surely be a hit with Zoomers the world over. The recommended age is eight to fifteen so it is designed for kids but I’m sure more than a few adults will be able to have fun with this one.
Umbrellas With Moisture Activating Prints
Designed by the Japanese rainwear company RainStoppers, these umbrellas reveal their patterns when wet. Made of a blended material called pongee and with a standard wooden handle, these umbrellas come in a dizzying variety of designs.
Most people have a very utilitarian outlook on umbrellas: Does it keep me dry? Is it cheap? What is the size and weight? It’s a long shot for design to become a crucial factor in deciding which umbrella to buy but it’s nice to see that some companies are still trying to innovate in that area.
The Scream Jar
Similar to the Karaoke silencing practice mic we mentioned earlier, this one is marketed as a pure stress relieving tool. The Banraishop Scream Jar Voice Silencer is designed for one purpose: to get out all that pent-up rage in a way that doesn’t end with the neighbors calling the cops on you.
It is completely soundproof so even the most bloodcurdling rage scream is reduced to a whisper. $82 a piece for these things seems a bit steep but perhaps the peace of mind after a good screamfest is worth every penny. If you are frustrated by the cost you could always yell about it, silently, until you’re blue in the face.
Comfort Food Ramen Blanket
Ramen is considered the perfect comfort food in Japan, even more so since 2020 when these comfy blankets emblazoned with the quintessential squiggly noodles were first introduced to a world stuck inside because of COVID lockdowns.
Named 2020s Product of the Year by the review site Shutup&takemymoney the Ramen blankets come with a pillowcase designed like classic ramen brand packaging that you can stuff the blanket into for storage.
Japan loves gourmet designer fruit. The top-tier Yubari cantaloupe goes for an average of $160 a pop with some having been auctioned off for the eye-watering price of over $23,000. These shikoku suika watermelons are cheap by comparison at $50-100.
These ornamental square watermelons are grown in cube-shaped tempered glass containers. In order to achieve the proper aesthetic quality, they are harvested well before they have ripened meaning they are hard and tasteless. They’d be a great addition to a still-life painting.
Become Your Cat Custom Mask
They say that, after years of companionship, a pet and its owner can sometimes start to look alike. This product takes this concept to a whole new level. Modeling Workshop 91 has started making custom human-sized hyper-realistic 3D cat heads that look just like your pet cat.
Since they are custom-made to order they cost upwards of $2000 apiece. Just send them a photo of your furry feline friend and in a short time, you will be sent a wearable full-head mask that looks like your kitty. It will probably freak out your cat but it’ll also definitely be a great Halloween costume.
Onion Protection Fan Glasses
Everyone has heard of some trick to prevent crying while cutting onions but they never seem to work very well. Hopefully, these fan glasses, specially designed by Japanese product designer Kenji Kawasaki, might change all of that.
The reason we cry our eyes out while cutting onions is because they contain the chemical irritant called synpropanethial-S-oxide. When chopped, onions release this chemical into the air causing us to weep. These fan glasses make sure that irritant never makes it into our eyes.
Genki-jun Toe Stretcher
This toe stretcher is made of soft material and is available to help people that struggle with foot problems. For example, if your toes are too close to one another, you may experience issues with circulation which can cause stress on your feet.
This product comes in a variety of colors and three different sizes. It works over time to help create more space between the toes and improve balance. Note, this product is not waterproof so it’s advised not to wear it in the bath.
For the food influencer looking to find a new way to post mouth-watering food content, this cut-out tool can be used in a variety of ways to add flair to your dishes. For only $6.45, consider adding this to your repertoire of kitchen gadgets.
Instead of cutting your cucumber into boring circles, use this tool to create heart-shaped pieces that will make any salad worthy of one thousand likes. But wait, this tool isn’t just for cucumbers. Any soft fruit can also be cut with this kitchen staple, making it a great addition to your kitchen drawer.
Vending Machines with Hot Food
Vending machines are more popular in Japan than in nearly every other county around the world. Due in part to Japan’s low crime rates, vandalized vending machines are a very rare sight which makes their ability to be left outside and open around the clock possible.
Unfortunately, you won’t see these offered in the aisles at your local Target or Best Buy, but hot food vending machines are a real thing in Japan. If you find yourself in Japan, know that your mid-day Twix fix could easily be replaced by a hot Japanese meal.
Expect Rain Indicator
Osaka gets a tremendous amount of rain, even during the dry season, totaling nearly five feet of rainfall each year. Recently, they have installed these rain indication lights in elevators throughout the city to give people a heads up that they will need to have their umbrellas at the ready.
While this just seems like a courtesy notification it actually helps ease heavy pedestrian traffic flow out of large office buildings. When every employee is trying to leave at the same time, knowing you will need to have your umbrella ready ahead of time prevents bottlenecks in the lobbies.
Japan is known for its fake food products, and these fake food accessories (keychains, headbands, etc.) are not to be passed over. While this trend hasn’t quite yet made it to the U.S., they are all the rage in Japan and are readily available both in stores and online.
When picking the perfect headband, there are a lot of options to choose from. Why not choose a quirky option? You can choose to adorn your head with bacon and eggs, fried noodles, or chicken and green onions, to name a few options.
Hizamakura Lap Pillow
In the mid-2000s, the Trane Corporation created this very absurd and notable lap pillow. Featuring cushions that are shaped like women’s legs, this is definitely one of Japan’s more wacky inventions. Why shouldn’t you rest your eyes and take a nap on a pillow shaped like legs?
The Hizamakura was launched as a way to solve loneliness, according to the Trane Corp. It has been nicknamed the “Girlfriend Pillow,” and LA Weekly reviewed this product and actually said “it’s so bad” it actually “comes back around” to being a good product.
No Surgery Nose Shaper
For minor nose contouring at home, the Hana Tsun Nose Straightener can help get you that look you are going for. These silicon and plastic clips are placed on the nose to apply constant but gentle pressure on the cartilage of your nose for twenty minutes a day to shape it over time.
We can’t speak to how well it works but it has sold well over the last few years in Japan so we figure they must be doing something right. While they probably aren’t very comfortable it’s obviously preferable to surgery for many.
Putting on lipstick isn’t always the easiest task for some of us, so why not use a stencil to help guide you? Eyebrow stencils may be more popular than lipstick stencils now, but achieving the perfect pout is just as important for your look.
Coming in at only $3, you can buy this reusable plastic face stencil which can be worn just like a mask. Say “hello” to the perfect lips and no more blurry lines. When removing, just be careful not to smudge the mask or you’ll risk ruining all of your hard work.
Silicone Lip Plumper
Lip fillers have been popular for the last few years, thanks in part to the transformation of Kylie Jenner. If you want to emulate Kylie’s perfect pout, you may want to consider avoiding the needle and instead purchasing this product. This lip plumper features a silicone ring that sits in the mouth and overlaps the lips. It’s more than likely worn as a prank product to harbor a few laughs, but it is possible that you could wear it out in public.
You’ve now learned about some of the most brilliant inventions from Japan, and other parts of the world, but have you been wondering how some of those even came to be? The following are the most brilliant inventions or discoveries to have occurred entirely by accident…
While trying to understand staphylococcus back in 1928, a microbiologist named Alexander Fleming added some bacteria to petri dishes before heading home for two weeks. Normally the bacteria would grow while he was gone, but when he returned, he was surprised to see that a unique mold had grown in the dishes instead. The first antibiotic, penicillin, was born.
The discovery had a major impact on the medical field, with serious diseases like endocarditis and bacterial meningitis being treated more easily.
Most of us have been put under anesthesia at one point in our lives, and we know the side effects aren’t always pretty. Nitrous oxide and laughing gas were being used for recreational reasons until Charles Jackson, William Mortal, and Crawford Long decided to find a practical way of using them for the greater good. They’re attributed as the inventors of anesthesia!
Today, it’s used for everything from major surgeries to wisdom teeth removal. What would the medical field be like without this incredible and accidental discovery?
Stainless steel has found its way to most households today, but it was originally meant for a different purpose entirely. Harry Brearley was tasked with developing a steel alloy: a blend of iron, metals, and other materials that wouldn’t rust. People wanted to use the material to develop a gun barrel, but ended up with a kitchen tool instead.
Over 100 years later, it’s safe to say that stainless steel has come a long (and less dangerous) way since its invention in 1913.
Dynamite isn’t just a funny way to blow up cartoon characters; it’s a highly dangerous and legitimate invention that was created totally by accident. Alfred Nobel found a way to contain nitroglycerin in a tube without making it lose its power, and soon gunpowder had an opponent. A new type of weapon was born- dynamite. Interestingly, he’s definitely had some regrets…
Nobel was quoted as saying, “When I think of all the victims killed during nitroglycerine explosions…which in all probability will continue to occur in the future, I am almost ashamed to admit to be its discoverer.”
The iconic breakfast cereal that almost never was. Will Keith Kellogg offered to help his brother out on the job; he was working at a hospital cooking meals for patients at the time. In the process, he forgot that he’d left some bread dough out, and it sat on the counter for many hours. Upon realizing his mistake, Kellogg decided to bake it anyway.
As you can imagine, it was then that the first-ever corn flakes were made! This was half-accident and half-laziness, and 100% breakfast-changing.
This commonly used glass came to be after a French chemist named Edouard Benedictus had an accident in his lab. More specifically, he dropped a flask full of plastic cellulose nitrate off his desk. But instead of the glass shattering into a million pieces, it just cracked. Many years later, all vehicle windshields are made from this!
Safety glass is used for a wide variety of other things these days, from refrigerator trays to the thick glass you find at the aquarium.
George de Mestral was a true creative genius who invented Velcro for a really strange reason. In 1948, he was out in the woods hunting with his dog when he noticed that several burrs were sticking into his dog’s fur. Later, he tried to replicate this effect in the lab, and soon this invention was being used by NASA!
Velcro is used by NASA, in addition to its use in shoes, golf clubs, computer cords, and a range of other technologies.
Harry Coover was working as a researcher at Kodak Laboratories, and his job was to develop plastic lenses to be implemented on gun sights. One day, he accidentally made a synthetic adhesive made from cyanoacrylate. At first, he rejected it because it was too strong, but years later, it found its way to every home.
Admit it; you have a tube or 10 of super glue in your home that you use more often than you’d like to confess. And at least half of those tubes are glued shut on accident.
Before Play-Doh was found in every single elementary school classroom ever, its original use was to clean wallpapers. In the 20th century, people didn’t have to use coal to heat their homes anymore, so their wallpapers didn’t need much cleaning. Cleo McVicker’s son, who had originally created the dough to clean wallpaper, found a new use for it!
As they say, the rest is history! Now kids will be playing with their Play-Doh pizzas until the end of time and mixing all the colors into an unintelligible brown blob.
Can you imagine your life without plastic? Plastic is everywhere today, but this wasn’t the case 100 years before. Instead of plastic, the most commonly used material was shellac, but because it was made from beetles that were imported from Southeast Asia, it was very costly. Leo Hendrick Baekeland decided to try and find an alternative.
Soon he invented a moldable material that could withstand high temperatures without melting. Hence plastic was born!
Ice Cream Cones
Even though ice cream had been served for several years prior, it was never put on a cone until 1904. It was at a fair: the ice cream stall was selling out so quickly that they ran out of plates to put the ice cream on. Luckily, the Persian waffle stall next to it was hardly selling anything, so the stall owners teamed up.
They decided to roll the waffles and place the ice cream on top. Everybody wins, and the ice cream cone became a reality!
In 1905, the 11-year-old Frank Epperson decided to try and save some money by trying to recreate the (very famous at the time) soda pop at home. He used a combination of powder, water, and other materials, but he wasn’t pleased with the result and left the mix on his porch all night.
That night, the temperature fell below zero, and Frank woke up to see the first popsicle ever made! Convenient weather is convenient.
While the exact recipe of Coca-Cola is not known, the story behind its invention is fascinating! A civil war veteran named John Pemberton was working as a pharmacist, and he was working on medicine to treat ailments such as opioid addiction, headaches, and stomach pain. But by mistake, he invented the most popular drink to have ever been made! But…what possessed him to actually taste it?
These days, Coca-Cola is a huge corporation with millions of drinks sold every year and a hilarious social media presence. Not bad for an accidental invention!
In 1853, George Crum was a chef from New York who specialized in making thick-cut French fries to be eaten with a fork. He was frantic when a customer sent his fries back to the kitchen, complaining that they were too thick. In his attempt to please the customer, George tried a new approach.
He sliced a potato extra thin, fried it in oil, and then immediately put it in salt. To his surprise, the customer liked the fries, and George became the inventor of potato chips!
An office must-have that’s also used for a ton of pranks, we couldn’t even imagine life without Post-It notes. How did they come to be? In 1968, a chemist named Spencer Silver was employed by 3M, and one day, he discovered that he had accidentally made an adhesive with a strange sense of strength.
It was strong enough to support paper on a surface but weak enough to not rip the surface off afterward. By trial and error, 3 months later, the Post-It notes were born!
Did you know that this electrical appliance that is in more than 90% of American homes nowadays was discovered by accident? In 1946, an engineer named Percy Spencer was operating a magnetron (which is the main component of a radar system) when he realized that a candy bar that he carried in his pocket had melted and made a mess after exposure to the waves.
He then decided to place an egg in the path of the magnetron waves and soon, the first microwave was ready to be released into the world!
For years, people were trying to find a way to sweeten their food without adding too many calories. Of course, all attempts were unsuccessful. One day, chemist Constantin Falhberg was trying to find other ways to use coal tar. He didn’t make much progress, but when he returned home and tasted some fresh biscuits that his wife had made, he realized that they were sweeter than usual.
The explanation? He didn’t wash his hands before trying the biscuits, and he discovered the secret of coal tar. All this for some biscuits!
Humphry Davy was a young English inventor and chemist who loved to use himself as a lab rat. One day, he decided to test the effects of inhaling artificially produced gasses. Not much time had passed when Davy discovered that heat-treating ammonium nitrate crystals produced a gas that, if inhaled, caused euphoria! Later, it was named “laughing gas.”
Could you ever imagine that something so iconic was invented by accident? You learn something new every day, it seems!
It all happened when a Chinese cook mixed sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal over a fire as an experiment. You don’t have to think much to guess what happened! The next morning, the cook tried to recreate his experiment, and he was ecstatic to see that it worked again! Later, the Chinese learned that if they put the mix inside a piece of bamboo, it exploded!
And this is how the firecracker was born! We’ll see you every Fourth of July for a grand firework show courtesy of this slip-up.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
There are few things more delicious than warm, freshly made chocolate chip cookies. Ruth Graves Wakefield, co-owner of the Toll House Inn, was baking chocolate cookies when she discovered that she was out of baker’s chocolate. A disaster, right? Not quite. She decided to cut up some semi-sweet chocolate, thinking it would spread evenly through the batter.
What she got was a bittersweet surprise, pun intended. The first batch of chocolate chip cookies was born, and those with a sweet tooth have Ruth Graves Wakefield to thank for their favorite dessert.
Wine is great, but no New Year’s celebration or bachelorette party would be complete without champagne. How was the classy drink created? It started as rejected wine! When temperatures dropped in the colder months, the fermentation process on wine would temporarily come to a halt, leaving an excess of carbon dioxide in the bottles when the process resumed in the spring.
French monk Dom Pierre Perignon was sent to the Champagne region of France in 1668 to resolve the fermentation problem, only for people to suddenly decide they liked this new drink!
Believe it or not, there was a world where your classmates didn’t ask you for gum every other day. In fact, the chewy treat wasn’t “officially” discovered until the late 1800s, when inventor Thomas Adams Sr. accidentally created it after trying to turn chicle (what gum is made from) into rubber.
He failed to make rubber, but Adams Sr. did create one of the most popular treats of all time. Not too shabby for his resume!
Guess you could say chemist John Walker was playing with fire. He created modern matchsticks in 1826 totally by accident! This happened when he scraped a chemical-coated stick across his hearth at home and realized that it had caught fire. Most of us would freak out, but it was the start of something amazing for Walker.
He called them “Friction Lights,” originally made out of cardboard, before switching over to sandpaper and wooden splints.
Similar to champagne, this alcoholic beverage is the result of wine gone wrong. A Dutch shipmaster decided that he’d like to make wine easier to transport, and he used heat to concentrate the alcohol. He had planned to add water to it once he reached his final destination, but it didn’t get that far.
To his surprise, he truly enjoyed the taste of concentrated wine. He skipped the water and named this new wine brandewijn, or “burnt wine” in Dutch. Thanks, man!
Ah, bubble wrap. It’s often more exciting to pop bubbles than to receive your package inside. Can you believe it was a total accident? Or at least, it wasn’t made to be used the way it is today. Engineers Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes originally made bubble wrap to be used as wallpaper. As you can imagine, it was unsuccessful.
After a brief (and unsuccessful) stint trying to turn bubble wrap into greenhouse insulation, it finally became protective packaging in the 1960s.
This toy is a little less common today, with kids being buried in their iPhones, iPads, and other forms of technology. But it was the thing to have as a child back in the day. It was invented when engineer James Wright tried to find a cheap alternative to synthetic rubber.
During the process, he dropped boric acid into silicone oil and discovered the bouncy, stretchy material that became Silly Putty.
Sure, the beverage has been around for centuries…but the tea bag didn’t officially become “a thing” until 1908. It was then that tea merchant Thomas Sullivan began shipping tea samples out in small silk pouches. He simply wanted a lighter and less expensive way to get tea to his customers, as opposed to tin containers.
As it turns out, his customers loved the convenience of it and insisted he continue the process. Other tea merchants followed suit, resulting in the popularity of the modern tea bag.
We know what you’re thinking. How does one accidentally inject their face with a gigantic needle and discover that it gets rid of wrinkles? A San Francisco ophthalmologist made a smooth (get it?) discovery in the 1980s when testing out new treatments for crossed eyes. He found it…and much more.
As it turns out, one of the side effects of this treatment for crossed eyes was temporary facial paralysis. It sounds scary, but it greatly reduced frown lines and wrinkles, becoming what is known today as Botox.
One of your parents’ favorite toys (and probably your favorite Toy Story character) was created by mechanical engineer Richard James in 1943. He was originally trying to devise springs to keep sensitive ship equipment safe and steady at sea, but everything changed when he accidentally knocked a few springs off a nearby shelf.
James was amazed as the spring kept bouncing from place to place after it hit the ground. He played with it for a little while, as did millions of kids after the Slinky became one of the most popular toys in the world.
Printers are a staple in every office and library, but they may not exist if not for one engineer’s mistake. He worked with Canon, and one day, he set his hot iron on his pen by accident. As you can imagine, ink was ejected from the pen’s point not long after, which gave him a crazy idea.
Not much is known about the Canon engineer or his story, but this simple mistake led to the principle that created the inkjet printer. Just think: what would you do with your term papers or office documents without it?
You may not recognize the name right away, but all you need to know is that this substance is what lets you make delicious omelets! A chemist by the name of Roy Plunklett accidentally came across a non-reactive, non-stick chemical while playing around with refrigerants. Unlike a few others who made accidental inventions, he patented it right away!
Today, this substance is known as Teflon, the coating on your frying pan to keep eggs from sticking. It’s usually black and is the household name for non-stick.
When you think of tires, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Goodyear? Rubber? Sounds about right. Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in the 1800s: the substance used to make durable items like car tires. He had been trying to find a strong form of rubber for ages but only succeeded by accident.
How did he do it? By accidentally dropping a bit of regular rubber mixed with sulfur onto a stove and realizing that it still kept its structure. Now he’s a tire icon!
The Implantable Pacemaker
Every once in a while, you’ll accidentally create a device that helps people live healthier lives each and every day…which is just what Wilson Greatbatch did. He was originally working on equipment meant to record heart sounds, but he used the wrong transistor, which resulted in this device giving off an electrical pulse mimicking a heartbeat.
He worked with surgeon William Chardack to use the device to successfully control a dog’s heartbeat in 1958, eventually working their way up to humans!
Dry cleaning is a blessing for those of us who need our outfits nice and pressed for work or don’t have parents to do our laundry for us. But what if it wasn’t around? As it turns out, the inventor of the revolutionary cleaning method already worked in the clothing industry as a textile maker.
Jean Baptiste Jolly discovered the beauty of dry cleaning when his maid accidentally knocked a kerosene lamp over onto a tablecloth. To his surprise, the kerosene actually made the linen cleaner!
Oh Scotch-Gard, what would we do without you? It cleans everything from chairs and carpets, to the stains on your new Converse, which is actually how it came to be. 3M chemist Patsy Sherman was attempting to develop a rubber material that would not deteriorate from exposure to jet aircraft fuels, and she accidentally dropped a mixture on her shoe.
The shoe became miraculously cleaner than it was before, leading to the popularity of Scotchgard. You’ve gotta love when clumsiness leads to new discoveries.
This is one of those ironic twists of life. Inventor Walter Hunt was sitting at his desk trying to think of innovative ways to pay off his mounting debts when he unintentionally came up with the safety pin: the discovery that likely made him super rich. Can that happen to us, please?
He invented the safety pin as he was playing around with a wire and scrap of metal, realizing that when the latter coiled, it could clasp and unclasp itself again. It’s a simple concept, but it’s so effective!
The Color Mauve
He may not have come up with a cure for malaria like he wanted, but teenage chemist William Perkin was able to create the world’s first synthetic dye and a truly beautiful color. The year was 1856, and a science experiment gone wrong didn’t seem so bad after all when Perkin noticed the stunning color overflowing from his petri dish.
Mauve is a beautiful color that can be found in anybody’s closet, so Perkin shouldn’t feel so bad about inventing it by accident and taking the fashion world by storm!
A visit to an oil field led to an unbelievable medical discovery. Robert Chesebrough noticed that workers were complaining about “rod wax,” which is as unpleasant as it sounds. This waxy substance was continuously clogging up pumps and had to be regularly removed, but it had a much better use.
When workers told Chesebrough that they had been using it to treat their wounds, he spent over a decade perfecting his process before modern Vaseline was introduced to the world.