10 Chindogu: The Art Of Intentionally Making A Useless Invention
The Japanese say they invented it, but maybe they were just the first to name it. The name, Chindogu, is becoming universally known and used to describe inventions that are useless. Well, I don't know about Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson or the prolific inventor Leonardo da Vinci, but haven't most inventors created some useless stuff? In fact, mostly useless stuff?
But, let me make this right. There are tenets of Chindogu; it is not usually accidental. And it is not an invention that was turned down for a patent. It is the conscious effort to make something that works but has no worth. Like these examples of Chindogu, below:
1. Chopstraws Chindogu
These hollow chopsticks let you eat your noodles and sip your soup.
2. Chew Counter or Auto Masticalculator Chindogu
3. Magnetic Slippers Chindogu
For the very anal, the click together magnets make your shoes line up straight in your closet. (This looks like a poorly photo-shopped image, but you get the idea.)
4. Manicurium or Hand Care Tank Chindogu
A hypoallergenically-sealed manicure environment, so fingernails won't fly out and dust won't land on your newly polished nails.
At this writing, the Dunedin, New Zealand Fringe Festival is still alive and kicking, in Dunedin, of course. For the second year, Chindogu is one of the events. Here, for example, is one of the Chindogus from this year's Festival.
5. The Carrot-Grating Ukulele Chindogu
For the easily distracted cook, I suppose. By Jane Venus.
Other Chindogu inventions of note at the 2010 Dunedin Fringe Festival are...
* an anxiety prevention device for public speakers that includes opaque shaded sunglasses, white noise headphones and lavender scented nose plugs.
* a tuba-like instrument with a long spiral tube; when you blow into it comes out of the horn, which is facing your own ear.
* a post nasal drip preventer in the form of a trough placed under the nose.
* and pants with a seat attached to them, so you can sit down wherever and whenever you want.
The 2009 Dunedin Fringe Festival had some cool Chindogu too....
6. The Chewing Gum Holder Chindogu
Gabriela Vinte Marinescu made the holder so you can chew it again later.
7. Gamers' Workstation Chindogu
The work of Doug Hall, so you can game all night, of course!
8. Blasterboard Chindogu
Last year's contribution by Jane Venis (see the carrot-grating ukelele above). Blasterboard blows the heck out of approaching traffic if they dare get near your skateboard.
9. Rolling Pin Skirt Tucker Chindogu
Ruby Parker and Billie Osbourne submitted this Chindoku and it's not a bad idea, actually. It smooths out your skirt so it doesn't crease when you sit down.
10. Don't Fly Off The Handle Chindogu
Guess what this contraption, by Taranaki Smith, does.... It washes your hands when you open the door. What?
Check out the list of cities with Fringe Festivals. Learn more about Chindogu. And about the 2010 Dunedin Fringe Festival. Get a good peek at this years Dunedin Chindogu event on this Channel 3, New Zealand news video.
Inventors, what can you contribute to this clever art?