More World-Changing Inventions That Failed

4 min read
More World Changing Inventions That Failed

The graveyard of failed super-inventions is a lot more full than the ones we recently wrote about. There are enough that we can continue writing about them. Here are some more world-changing inventions that failed.

China’s Elevated Bus

China's Elevated Bus

G.I. Joe vehicles finally inspired some new engineering. China devised a unique bus that’s elevated so it can pass over cars.

If you watch the video of this strange new vehicle you will see it test driving on a read cleared of traffic. It looks a bit like something from a superhero movie. What drew our attention is that if the bus is meant to be able to pass over cars, why are they testing it on an empty road? Additionally, this bus can only accommodate small-sized cars. If it finds itself behind a large truck hauling merchandise from a factory there’s nothing it can do, not to mention if it finds itself at an underpass. Another problem is that it looks like it would probably cause an accident by sideswiping cars every time it had to turn. Finally, it runs on tracks like a streetcar.

It looks amazing when you’re skimming Facebook before your first coffee, but the problems become obvious and insurmountable. Some Chinese media sources have said that this bus is an obvious example of corruption since its funding came from the Chinese version of Kickstarter. But could it still work with some refinement? Well, when last seen, the “bus” had been abandoned in a garage, and the company behind it appears to have vanished. The fact that the section of road it was tested on was left unusable may be the reason for that. That’s right, the bus literally destroyed everything it touched.

A Utopian City Turned Ghost Town

A Utopian City Turned Ghost Town

Today’s cities are flawed and difficult to improve. Why not build a perfect city from scratch instead? Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates was supposed to be this, but, unfortunately, the project ended in disaster.

The idea behind this city was that it be completely carbon-neutral, powered by solar panels. The target population was 50,000 full-time residents and 40,000 more who would commute into the city on electric public transportation. It was an alluring idea, but, sadly, didn’t work out.

Constructor began work in 2006 with a deadline in 2016. To this day, only five percent of the city has been constructed. The worst part is that it has become a carbon factory rather than carbon-neutral. There are only 300 residents and 2,000 people working there right now. They gave up on the automatic electric transportation system and now there is a bike-sharing station, but no bike paths. And a bunch of regular old carbon-spitting cars.

The original vision of being sustainable is no longer part of the project so, when finished, this city will only be normal carbon-emitting dot on the map–albeit with more initial planning than most. Most people now point to it as what it is: a publicity stunt.

Even so, Masdar is still in the oven. Constructors say now that it will be finished by 2030. That’s great planning: missing your deadline by 14 years.

Customers Report Problems with Smart Devices

Customers Report Problems With Smart Devices

The development of technology, in part, has depended on humanity’s laziness. Today we have smart devices that can tell you about your energy use, control your locks and lights, and adjust your thermostat all while you snuggle under the covers of your bed reading the new best-selling thriller. On the other hand, some of these smart devices can have negative points.

Consider Revolv, which was acquired by rival Nest. Two years later, Nest quietly announced that they were eliminating all Revolv products. It was an ugly murder. People who had purchased Revolv products found that they no longer functioned. In one case, a man’s lighting and security features stopped functioning. It seems to the outside observer that Nest destroyed products that consumers had bought, forcing them to buy new similar products from Nest.

To be fair, only a few consumers were affected by this. What’s scary is the implication. Although the home features continued to work manually, they had been purchased at a much higher price. If you decide to install smart products in your home, you may risk the company going out of business after a few months. These new smart features will leave you with a useless thingy you’ll have to start saying is a piece of abstract art.

Revolv wasn’t an isolated case, either. Unfortunately, Quirky, the owner of Wink, went belly up after less than a year. The good news for consumers who used their product was that Flex incorporated Wink. All the same, Wink users worried that their purchases would be obsolete until Flex reassured them.

Alternatively, your smart home device can keep running but be so broken that it’s functionally useless. SmartThings by Samsung is a home security device with deep flaws. It often gives off false alarms and also glitches out. At times it turns the lights on in the middle of the night. The worst aspect of this device is that a hacker can easily gain access to it and unlock smart locks. This anti-theft device is useless against a simple laptop.

There is an allure in the idea of lights automatically turning on when you get home and locks that open by simply detecting your smartphone in your pocket. Imagine arriving home with your arms full of groceries and not having to fumble for the keys! And you won’t stumble over Jimmy’s robot in the middle of the living room floor because the lights are automatic! But our recommendation is that you wait until the companies that make these smart devices are more established and their products more trustworthy.