Top five weird gadgets ever seen at IFA
IFA 2010 is fast approaching and, ahead of this year's show, Pocket-lint has been taking a look back through our IFA archives to find some of the very best moments from this giant Berlin consumer technology event. We've already brought you the greatest launches in recent history as well as the cream of the crop, which sadly failed to materialise.
One of the great pleasures of visiting this event is that once you're done with all the big press conferences, bigger stands and all their headline products, you can head off into the depths of the Messe Berlin and find the smaller halls full of the bizarre, the eccentric and the down right crazy. So, here are the IFA gadgets filed under weird in our dusty drawers - the finest we've ever seen.
Frog-shaped bug zapper
At IFA 2009, on a stall from a Chinese company called Gleecon, we found more bug-zappers in one place than ever seen before. Most were industrial models - all grey plastic and steel - but poking out from behind them all was this little fella. That's right, your bug zapping needs can now be met by a smiling frog. The only possible way this could be better was if it had an elastic tongue that whipped out to catch its prey.
We haven't seen them in the shops anywhere since, but they do exist online if you're happy to buy 1000 of them at a time. The best part is that, apparently, they're frog shaped to appeal to kids. So, those looking to electrify children have just struck gold.
Self-cleaning toilet seat
A Korean company called Moolsarang was getting a lot of attention at IFA 2009, so we took a closer look at its stand to see what the fuss was about. Turns out that Moolsarang makes all manner of toilet seats.
Its flagship product is the MS-3100, which is pictured above. The spec sheet was in slightly broken English, so we couldn't tell exactly what it does - we just guessed at the functionality based on diagrams. It seems to have self-cleaning features, as well as bidet functionality and the ability to heat both the seat and the water jetting at your nether regions.
One feature labelled "Magnetization Water" puzzled us - the company's website solely says: "Fransform water structure to sixangle fomation to help your health". There's also the option of "massage cleansing" and a "Kids' mode", if you don't want to startle your sprogs with unexpected spurts of water.
Sadly, they're not available in the UK yet, but here's hoping. If we hear anything more on that subject, then we'll let you know.
Biodegradable USB drive
For those gadget fiends with a sensitive eco-conscience, we managed to dig up a USB flash drive from Chinese company Hoshino, believed to be the world's first biodegradable memory stick. Once you've taken the metal bits out - which we hope isn't the larger part of it - 90 per cent of the plastic outer should degrade in 140 days after finding its way to landfill. Fortunately, the same won't occur while sticking out of your computer or sitting in your drawer. Like the design, it's cased in corn but, as of the time of writing, it's not available in the shops. It probably never will be.
There was a large amount of hype surrounding the mysterious Sony Rolly before it finally turned up at IFA 2008. When it did arrive, there was a decidedly large hmmm from most onlookers. It was an MP3 player speaker with 2GB of memory, built-in lights, 4-5 hours of battery life, Bluetooth connectivity and sound sensitivity components which allowed it to move to the beat of whatever music was playing. It was actually a rather well put together and clever bit of kit; using accelerometers to make sure that no matter what movements it made as it rolled about, the control panel was always accessible on top.
Given that not many people need a dancing music player, we have to chalk this creation down as one of Sony's statements about what it can do rather than what it should. The Rolly did go in sale in October 2008 for $400, but it's currently out of stock and all items and accessories associated with it are marked as clearance.
It's not for us to say whether selling TVs shaped like animals is a good idea or not. That's just part of HANNSpree's business model and it obviously works for the company. What we can say is that they're quite funny and, yes, a little bit weird. They're probably cute if you happen to be 7 years old and have a polar bear themed room, but otherwise a touch on the doolally. IFA 2009 saw the launch of the Zoo collection featuring giraffes, pandas, camels, elephants and zebras and no doubt the company will be breaking new flora and fauna boundaries in 2010 as well.
Stay tuned for our IFA 2010 coverage or have a dig in the archives to see what else came out in the years gone by.