The World's Worst Wearable Tech Concepts (So Far)

From a wig that buzzes your head with notifications to a bra that tells you when you're overeating, these wearable tech concepts are wacky in all the wrong ways.

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When wearables go wrong

Wearable technology is all the rage these days, so it only makes sense that everyone and his mother would want a piece of the pie.

Every idea can't be a winner, though -- and for each life-enhancing gadget that makes its way into the mainstream market, we get something like a hat made for taking better selfies or pants designed to control electronics by way of carefully placed thigh slaps.

Think I'm joking? Read on -- and get ready to see some of the weirdest wearable tech concepts ever created.

See also:
- ITworld cartoons 2014: The year in geek humor
- Don’t trust that lamp! How 12 common devices can now be hacked
- And yet it moves: The early, awkward days of "portable" computing
- The ten worst people you meet working in IT

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Sony/U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

The SmartWig

If only I were making this up: Sony actually once filed a patent for something it calls the SmartWig -- a wig that puts all sorts of embedded sensors right atop your noggin. Yeah, I'm scratching my head about it, too.

 So what's this fuzzy cranium crap -- er, sorry, cap -- all about? Well, first you should know that the SmartWig could be made from human hair, horse hair, buffalo hair, or yak hair, according to Sony's patent. (I'm calling it now: The yak model is gonna be the one all the kids line up to get next Christmas.) Tucked deep within its curls is a high-tech circuit board that connects to your phone along with a series of actuators (defined by Webster as "things that buzz the bejesus out of your scalp").

 The actuators let the wig stimulate your brain cave whenever you get a new LinkedIn invite from your cousin in Yonkers or half-legible text message from your mother. Beyond that, the wig's sensors could let you control PowerPoint presentations and even deploy a hidden hair-based laser pointer (yes, really) -- presumably for all those times you need to point out just how ridiculous you look with this thing on your head.

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The DrumPants

If you want to be sure no one ever wants to get into your pants, pick up the new DrumPants -- a wearable tech concept launched on KickStarter and now on presale for the price of $130 (and any remaining dignity you may still possess).

The DrumPants do just what you'd think: They allow you to make drum sounds by slapping your thighs, using a series of Velcro-attached sensors and a special companion app. You can also program the pants to do things like controlling presentations, silencing your phone, and stunning strangers with your utter lack of shame.

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Microsoft Research

The Smart Bra

Pop quiz: What's the best way to get your wife or girlfriend to slap you immediately? If you answered "by suggesting she wear a bra covered in electrical wires that alert her whenever she might be engaging in emotional overeating," DING DING DING! You're correct! (And also a twisted weirdo. Seriously. Go seek counseling.)

Believe it or not, the concept is real -- and it's spectacular: Researchers from Microsoft and a couple of universities teamed up to create a female support garment laced with "psychological sensors." The sensors supposedly detect the wearer's emotions and then assess if she eats more when she's stressed. At least, that's what the boobs behind the project told their bosses in order to get the study approved.

Side note: Why didn't I think of this "experiment" when I was in college?

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The Selfie Hat

Ready to see everything that's wrong with the world in one simple photo? Behold: the Selfie Hat, a cringe-worthy wearable created by Acer as a "limited edition" (thank goodness) item for this year's London Fashion Week.

 How does the Selfie Hat work, you might wonder? Why, you just slide your tablet into the hat's shimmering Idiot-Slot (I think that's what it's called, anyway) and then spin it around to get photos of your best sparrow face from every possible angle. The hat actually rotates a full 360 degrees so you can show off your self-contented smirk in zillions of different configurations that'll look identical to everyone but you.

And best of all? All those lovely pics practically guarantee your fleeting foolishness will live on in infamy.

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The Headflat phone holder

Let's say you want to look like a clown but for some reason don't want to strap a tablet onto a bright pink sombrero (crazy, I know). Well, fear not, for some of the Internet's most promising minds have found just the solution for you.

It's called Headflat, and it's a visor-based apparatus that looks kind of like the headgear from your dental-themed nightmares. Instead of fixing your teeth, though, this contraption holds your phone in front of your face. Which, in a fitting twist, might result in your walking into a metal pole and then needing actual orthodontic headgear as a result.

Headflat's creators say the device could solve the oh-so-pressing problem of having your smartphone in your hand and getting fingerprint smudges on your screen. Instead, you can just strut around with this giant thing strapped to your head. Benissimo!

Not surprisingly, Headflat didn't reach its funding goal on Kickstarter -- though we do have to give credit to the morons of the world: The project managed to raise a whopping $78,000 from a total of 172 backers. Keep dreaming, you crazy kids. One day, you'll find a way to attach your phones to your heads and show your friends and family just how awesome you are.

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Sony Ericsson

The Bluetooth dress

What woman wouldn't want a dress that flashes and lights up every time she gets a phone call? Every woman, you say? You're probably right. But Sony made this prototype Bluetooth dress, anyway. I'm no fashion expert, but I suspect it'd pair well with a bright pink Selfie Hat.

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The Axent Wear cat-ears headphones

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Help me look like an idiotic doll." If that's your secret wish, good news: It's been granted! Check out the Axent Wear headphones, which have built-in cat ears that light up along with the cans themselves. The hipstertastic gadgets are on presale now for $170.

Be sure to pick up your ironic T-shirt and lens-free eyeglasses in advance.

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The QR Tie

Simply telling someone your Twitter handle or website address is, like, so 2012. That's why a group of bros got together to create the QR Tie, a neck accessory that has a QR code built into its back. That way, you can ask strangers to awkwardly scan your tie with their phones to pull up your profile or personal site. That's networking!

Alas, what could have been: The QR Tie crew raised only five percent of the funding it needed to launch on Kickstarter, so I guess we'll have to live with the archaic practice of speaking, emailing, tweeting, beaming, or doing any number of other things preferable to QR scanning for now.

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The InCync wearable Bluetooth speaker

Hmm...what else could we possibly attach to our persons? How about Bluetooth speakers? Yeah, those seem like just the ticket. Because why look like a dork with a Bluetooth earpiece when you can look like a dork and also force everyone else to listen to your phone calls?

Meet InCync, a portable Bluetooth speaker that attaches to places like your hat, backpack, or shirt pocket so you can annoy everyone around you in style. Sadly -- for those of us who want to live in an actual society -- InCync reached its funding goal on Kickstarter and might actually show up in the world at some point in the foreseeable future.

Just think: One day we'll look back fondly on the days of the Bluetooth headset guy and chuckle at how obnoxious he once seemed.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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