Tech

will.i.am's beaming crotch is another mistake in a long line of bad tech ideas

The Black Eyed Peas' VMAs performance, replete with glowing crotches, had us reminiscing (for lack of a better word) about some of Will.i.am's most cringe-worthy inventions.

Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

It's 2020 and the surprises keep coming. In this week's edition of "why, God, is this happening?" the Black Eyed Peas, as promotion for their new album Translation, donned glowing codpieces and gyrated onstage during a performance of some new and old songs at the Video Music Awards.

Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

It's difficult to say exactly what the genesis of the flashy crotchwear is but the, ahem, bright idea, certainly fits the profile of Black Eyed Peas' most notorious inventor and self-proclaimed disruptor, Will.i.am.

Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

For better or worse (definitely the latter), we're going to take you on a tour of the performer's most notable creations.

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The Puls

In 2014, Will.i.am took a stab at making a smartwatch, an infuriatingly clumsy little wearable called The Puls. There were a lot of flaws (typing out a text required two taps for a single letter), but one of the most memorable failures was the inclusion of an app designed to read one's mood, called Vibe+. The app required users to speak for 20 seconds, about nothing in particular, and then gave them a rating on their mood.

Needless to say, Puls' voice recognition didn't always work as planned.

Pow-wear

Get it? Pow-wear? Like, power... that you wear. Think Portlandia's "put a bird on it" sketch but for batteries. Will.i.am's punny line of wearable batteries never really made it into the real world, which is a shame because we're personally dying for a jacket saddled with batteries that last for four days. Alas, we'll just have to stick with cheap and fairly small external batteries that fit in your pocket. Pictured here is a backpack with speakers that can charge your Puls smartwatch when it dies after four hours.

Long live the battery jacket.

Dial

Despite the enormous failure of Puls, Will.i.am introduced yet another smartwatch called the Dial in 2016. To no one's surprise, the device was met with an equally negative reception as its predecessor. Among the major foibles was the decision to use its own operating system and voice assistant dubbed, "AneedA." Reference previous voice recognition problems with the Puls if you want to know how adept Dial's assistant was. The watch went on sale exclusively in the UK and was not able to illuminate anyone's crotch (that we know of).

The Dial smartwatch from Will.I.Am.
The Dial smartwatch

Foto.sosho

What can we say about Will.i.am's line of gaudy smartphone camera cases, Foto.sosho? The accessory, let loose unto an uninterested market in 2012, was big, it was clunky, and boy was it expensive. The standard model went on sale in the UK for £199 while a premium model was priced at £299, which at the time was more than $400 USD. Forking over that hefty sum would secure you a camera case with multiple lenses, including a wide-angle and a fisheye, and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It would also secure you a spot in the unnecessary purchase hall of fame.

A very expensive camera case from Foto.sosho

Buttons

Buttons, Will.i.am's line of Bluetooth earbuds, are probably the least wacky gadget on the list, and in some ways that's what makes them even more annoying. The official site goes as far as to call them "true wireless" which is a phrase that we're not sure has much meaning behind it. The buds attempted to fuse fashion and function by making a product that could clasp together magnetically around your neck to form a kind of necklace but ended up looking mostly like earbuds that you dangle around your neck as opposed to jewelry.

Button earbud's by Will.I.Am

The newest iterations of Buttons are apparently not too bad soundwise, but considering all the other wireless bud offerings, you're left to ask yourself, Will.i.am or Will.i.not?

Where is the love?

We don't dredge up these failed products to be mean-spirited, but rather to point out just how hard it is to actually make a gadget that's worth buying. Besides, something tells me, despite criticism, Will.i.am will be back at it soon enough. And for that, you have to give credit where credit is due.

Aaron Rapoport/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

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