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10 Completely Useless Homemade Machines [Featured]

If you thought all of the world’s most useless machines were found in the pages of SkyMall or on As Seen On TV infomercials, think again. Those products represent the cream of the crop produced by tinkerers in their home workshops. The following devices, on the other hand, set technological progress back decades or more.

Taxidermied mouse USB drive

Here’s the thing. With all of the online file storage options out there right now the standard USB drive is on the brink of obsolesce. Clearly the future is in the cloud, not on USB drives – especially USB drives made out of dead mice. If that wasn’t enough, its eyes are actually LEDs that light up with each data transfer. The only memory this drive is truly useful for are the terrifying visions stuck in your brain that wake you up in the middle of the night. Zachaholic via Nerd Approved

Lego Facebook “Like” button lamp

This Facebook-themed lamp is made out of Lego and utilizes an Arduino microcontroller, some LEDs and some code to flash whenever you Like something on Facebook. So, it’s a Lego Like button that lights up when you like stuff. A machine that you spend hours building so it can alert you to something you know you’ve just consciously done. Brilliant. Redpepper via Nerd Approved

Cylon toilet paper holder

This wall-mounted toilet paper holder is made out of welded steel and features a scrolling LED light so it resembles a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica. Sure, it doesn’t have a body, but that LED eye trailing back and forth is unsettling. Is it thinking behind that metal shell? Watching you…judging you? Waiting to strike when you are most vulnerable? supertrone’s Etsy via Nerd Approved

The Electronic Instant Camera

Inventor Niklas Roy describes himself as an “inventor of useless things”. Based on that, I would have to say that this Electronic Instant Camera is the antithesis of the invention of the light bulb – a real masterstroke. He describes it as “combination of an analog b/w videocamera and a thermal receipt printer. The device is something in between a Polaroid camera and a digital camera.” Instead of storing pictures digitally, it prints out the image directly on a cheap roll of receipt paper. Subjects also have to stand still for three minutes in order for the process to capture a crappy, pixelated photo. Even Abraham Lincoln had an easier time getting his portrait taken. Niklas Roy


If you want your own double rainbow moment all the way, the Robo-Rainbow can oblige by automatically spray painting a cheerful bit of vandalism on just about any large wall. Of course, that euphoric feeling you get right afterwards is probably from huffing paint. Adafruit via Nerd Approved

ISS Notify Lamp

Space junkies might be interested in this bit of homemade machinery since it automatically alerts you when the International Space Station is looming overhead. The lamp uses an Arduino microcontroller and  bit of script that pulls data on the whereabouts of the ISS and lights up whenever the station passes over your location. It seems kind of pointless at first, but could it actually be an incredibly important warning system? I mean, you never know what they have cooking up there. Are they reading our minds from space? Get on that tinfoil hat whenever this thing lights up. Mechanical Integrator via Nerd Approved

USB-Powered Typewriter

Described as “new and groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence”, this DIY project brings back the feel of an old manual typewriter by using it as a keyboard for any USB-compatible computer. Interestingly enough, this product is actually for sale – and he even has versions that are compatible with the iPad. $749-$899. USB Typewriter via CubicleBot

Beer pouring robot

If only someone could build an awkward machine that takes a minute-and-a-half to pour a glass of beer! That would certainly make my life easier. I’m poking fun, but if version 2.0 could bring the beer to my lips I would buy it in a second. YouTube via That’s Nerdalicious

Fart-operated TV remote

Thanks to the obligatory Arduino and a CH4 methane sensor, this device will change the channel whenever it is placed in close proximity to a television and someone that just ate Taco Bell. The idea is to hide the device in the couch cushions as a joke. Imagine your victim’s surprise when they discover that their wind has some sort of magical power over machines. Perhaps they will briefly consider making a costume and becoming the worst superhero of all-time. Instructables via Nerd Approved

The world’s most useless machine

Finally, we arrive at the pinnacle of uselessness. The machine dubbed “the world’s most useless” first made waves on the internet a couple of years ago and was eventually sold as a kit so people with the right skills can enjoy all the heart-racing excitement at home. The functionality of that basic version was confined to a single action – it turned itself off whenever you try to turn it on. However, version 2.0 has been upgraded so that it will eventually grow tired of your insolence and flip out spinning in a fit of rage. YouTube via Nerd Approved

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