Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The art of chindogu

Mike Beversluis brings us news of this gloriously unnecessary innovation: the digital sundial.

Made in Germany, this is a valiant European attempt at chindogu: the Japanese art of 'unuseless' invention.

An 'unuseless' invention is one that does solve a 'problem' in a literal sense, but in practice only creates further problems of its own, usually extreme social embarrassment or excessive fiddliness.

Examples include a gluestick-like butter dispenser, and this noodle cooler:




And, from the the International Chindogu Society, this brilliant back-itch locator.

You are invited to boast below about your own chindogu innovations...

16 comments:

Neil Forsyth said...

The vast majority of newfangled, so-called labour-saving devices I have been foolish enough to buy down the years have turned out to be utterly useless. Labour-saving, my arse. I have a cupboard full of graters, slicers, choppers and salad-tossers. In fact, anything I have ever bought from a catalogue or from Argos has been a mistake.

monix said...

I too have a cupboard full of 'labour-saving' devices which take enormous time and effort to use. The latest is an onion chopper which only accepts already chopped onions!

martpol said...

A common one, this, but how about the electric tin opener? Takes longer than a manual one and nearly as much effort to ensure it does its job correctly. It's also considerably more awkward to clean.

Brit said...

We've got a beauty at work: an electric flip-top kitchen dustbin. Neatly solving a problem that doesn't exist, it's supposed to open automatically when it senses movement just above it, so when you hover your wet teabag over the lid it should handily pop open, then close itself after a suitable pause.

Naturally it does nothing of the sort. It either fails to open at all, forcing you to put down the bag-filled teaspoon and manually heave the whole lid off; or it craftily opens, then immediately shuts just as you drop the bag, sploshing soggy tea nastiness everywhere.

That bin is my mortal enemy. It sits like a dalek, observing me with silent malevolence.

erp said...

Has anyone watched Alton Brown's amusing and edifying cooking show, "Good Eats" ? I've had more laughs watching this than any dozen other TV shows. His philosophy for kitchen "hardware" is that it be multi-tasking and the only gadgets he uses are a food processor and an electric beater.

I agree about labor saving devices. We bought a new vacuum that does away with bags. No more trying to fit the bag into a cavity that clearly wasn't designed to accommodate it. No more running out of bags just before company is expected. The floors could be kept in pristine condition with the minimum of effort.

The idea is simplicity itself. Remove the plastic dust bucket and dump the contents into the trash. What they didn't tell you is that it's a messy job that requires the filter to be dismantled and cleaned as well. Vacuum bags were invented for a reason. Caveat emptor.

martpol said...

Erp:

Except of course, the wonderful Dyson cleaner. It's easy to empty and you need only clean the filter once a year. (So they claim, although we've only had ours for 3 months.)

It does, however, require quite considerable physical exertion to use, owing to its colossal, carpet-grabbing power.

Duck said...

What about the legendary Clapper? "Clap on, clap off, the Clapper!" We bought one and used it for the lights in the China cabinet, because the switch is hard to reach and opening the door lets in dust (this was my wife's idea, can you tell?) But it also operated whenever the dog barked.

Harry Eagar said...

My favorite, though I've seen it only in catalogues and don't know whether it 'works,' is the device that turns butter back into cream.

erp said...

martpol, glad you mentioned that about the Tyson vacuum. I was entertaining ideas about it. Do they make a self-propelled model I wonder?

Although we had a big clumsy self-propelled Hoover upright which wasn't easy to use either, especially if it got away from you and went on its own way. Actual quite amusing for the spectators.

monix said...

Turning butter back into cream is a must-have for me!

erp said...

Of course, I meant Dyson.

Brit said...

The Tyson one really packs a punch, too.

(I apologise.)

martpol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
martpol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
martpol said...

Erp:

Dyson have even made a robotic cleaner: see http://gizmag.com/go/1282/

Sorry about the 2 deleted posts. For some reason the system wouldn't let me post that link properly.

erp said...

martpol,

It wasn't your fault. The link failed. Here's what I got:

Your search - Dyson have even made a robotic cleaner: see http://gizmag.com/go/1282/ - did not match any documents.

Maybe it's off the market.

Blogger has caught the bug too. I can't stay logged in here and other blogs. Ditto Type-Key and Firefox can't access LGF