The world’s most pointless inventions

From a motorised ice-cream cone to the electronic skipping rope
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The Independent Tech

Ever wore yourself out eating an ice-cream? The constant movement of the wrist to catch melting drops and ensure the ice-cream gets in your mouth and not the floor? Well help is at hand with the first ever motorised ice-cream cone – which has just been judged the most wasteful consumer product made last year.

The annual Landfill Prize is a brainchild of the environmental writer John Naish, who invited members of the public to nominate products for the “most pointless, frivolous and wasteful consumer objects” of the year. Entries submitted were then judged by a panel of Mr Naish, and the environmentalists Anna Shepard, Carl Honore and Ben Davis.

While the final winner was the bright plastic motorised ice-cream cone, available in three colours, the competition was tight. In second place was the “Plane Sheet”, a cover that can be placed over airline seats to, “transform a tired, overused airline seat into a cozy, happy place… while keeping at bay germs, crumbs and spills from previous passengers”.

Mr Naish said the prize was a celebration of the “stupendous creativity of the people tasked with inventing constantly inflated new wants for us to want. It’s a monument to perverse imagination and needless consumption.”

Previous winners nominees have included the £179 toothbrush which comes with it’s own ultraviolet-light sanitising equipment, Gillette’s six-bladed, battery powered, wet razor, and the Ambi Pur 3volution air freshener that contains three vials of perfume which it emits in rotation every 45 minutes, so your nose never gets tired of the smell.

In his book, Enough: Breaking free from the world of more, Mr Naish suggests strategies for avoiding the mental pressure to acquire more needless consumer goods. “We’re beset with messages that tell us that the stuff we’ve got now isn’t good enough – that we need more stuff, that we need stuff that’s somehow improved, with ever more extras and options.

“It’s all got to be new, too, rather than, ugh, so last year.

“We’ve got fixated on producing and consuming stuff that has no future. It’s only there to take our money on its brief trip from factory to landfill.”

The only downside with all this: that garish motorised ice-cream cone appears to have completely sold out.

The Sat Nag

At £6.99 mocks the Sat Nav device, blasting its owner with 24 annoying comments. Typical phrases include: “You have reached your destination – you may now throttle your passenger.” Sat nav is wasteful enough but this is ridiculous.

Motorised Ice-Cream Cone

For those too lazy to twist their wrists when eating an ice-cream. You pop your cone in it, stick your tongue out and it does all the hard work for you, ensuring no drips get on to your hand. You can even put it in the dishwasher – no need to tire yourself out washing up.

Nintendo Wii Fit

Why go outside and exercise for free when you can pay hundreds of pounds to do it in front of the TV? The Wii has taken Britain by storm as parents buy it in the hope of getting children to exercise – but they end up playing the bowling game.

The Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius, the so-called eco-friendly car, is so wasteful it actually comes with two engines. Not so much environmentally friendly, more an overblown status symbol. How much energy does it take to make, use, and dispose of?

Plane Sheet

As if flying wasn’t bad enough for the environment, now you can step up your wasteful footprint with a plane seat cover. It is designed to “transform a tired, overused airline seat into a cozy, happy place”. You can even have it monogrammed.

Folding Fishing Camping Chair (with speakers)

Just what every angler needs. No peace and quiet, but a folding fishing camping chair with four speakers so you can irritate everyone around you. For those people who’ve never heard of headphones.

Digital Electronic Jumping Rope

Bored with your ropy old skipping rope? How about an electronic version with batteries in the handles that counts the number of jumps and “calculates” how many calories you’ve burnt? Of course, you could help to save the world by counting the number of times you skip before collapsing in a sweaty heap.

Motorised fork

A motorised spinning fork that twirls your noodles or spaghetti, ideal for those people who can’t be bothered to do it themselves. The only trouble, apart from the waste and the fact that you’ll look like an idiot, is that it’s much slower than using your own hand.

USB Chameleon

Plug him into your computer and sit him somewhere on your desk or screen. Watch as he rolls his eyes at you and sticks out his tongue. The only problem with this utterly useless executive toy: the chameleon doesn’t even change colour.

Guitar Hero

Rather than learn to play an actual instrument, you can now make a virtual cacophony on virtual instruments by pressing primary coloured buttons on a plastic guitar. For a couple of hundred pounds you can complete the set, and get some friends over to play the plastic drums and plastic bass.

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