The Strangest Failed Electrical Gadgets

Technology constantly marches on, and the goal of an electrical installer is to provide the wiring and infrastructure to ensure that any new gadget, complex or simple, can be easily installed.

Over the years, however, there have been some particularly strange pieces of technology that looked like they would be the future, but within months they were discounted, unsupported and largely ignored, for various reasons.



Nothing about the CueCat made much sense, even if its underlying concept eventually became popular and successful via other means.

Essentially a barcode reader shaped like a cat, the CueCat was meant to be a way to link print media, advertisements and television to the internet, by swiping barcodes and having the CueCat convert the results into web pages.

It was given away for free, which meant that when the system was hacked and became incredibly useful as a standard barcode reader, CueCat’s parent company failed to benefit and promptly went out of business.



In 2009, Twitter had become the new hot social media platform, and Peek, creators of an email-only smart device, created a portable gadget that could be used to interact with Twitter and only Twitter in the form of the TwitterPeek.

It has gone down as one of the most bizarre and useless pieces of electronics ever made, in no small part because Twitter was initially designed to be used with SMS text messages and therefore anyone invested enough in the platform to buy such a gadget already had several usable devices on hand.


Cisco Umi

In 2010, the Cisco Umi created a living room video-conferencing camera that in the 2020s seems outright inspired and well ahead of its time.

The problem was that it cost £20 per month to use and the device itself initially shipped for over £500, far more than the free cost of using Skype with a computer at the time, and laughably expensive given how many people use smartphones to call friends, family and colleagues.