Portable Zebra Crossing

With the popularity of programmes such as Dragon’s Den, enough of us have sat goggling in wonderment at the TV screen to know that there is a very fine line between genuine innovation and sheer foolishness when it comes to the world of technology. The world is filled with inventions that make you sit and think either, “How the Hell did they come up with that?” or “WHY the Hell did they come up with that?”.

With this conundrum in mind, here are ten inventions that, after researching them to death, I can confirm are 100% genuine and a good 50-50 split of genius and madness. They have been pitched, developed and sold throughout the last century or so, and in some cases are still readily available over the Internet-which is handy if you’re struggling for a last minute gift for aunty Gertrude…

10. Segways


We Homo Sapiens have been walking on our hind legs ,like posh apes, for centuries now-this is the 21st century and we’re still at it! It’s about time somebody thought of a way to take the load off our feet, preferably at speeds of up to 12.5mph.

Luckily, somebody did. Dean Kamen unveiled his Segway Personal Transporter just in time for Christmas 2001. The premise was simple-use two wheels instead of two feet, perching on a little shelf and hanging onto a frame that looked like a skinny shopping cart, and the misery of trekking around the shops on a Saturday morning would be alleviated.

Kamen failed to take into account the fact that, well, you’d feel a bit daft, really. The Segway is yet to explode in popularity, but Brit entrepreneur Jimi Heselden bought the Segway company in 2009 with the hopes of putting one in every home. In 2010, he tragically fell to his death from a clifftop in one.

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This article was first posted on November 2, 2013