Sweden’s Museum of Failure celebrates tech’s biggest flops

Everyone remembers history’s most successful products, but sometimes its flops can be fondly remembered, too. That can be especially true in tech, where a failure can mean a product was ahead-of-its-time, or a bad implementation of a good idea.

Those ideas — ranging from the noble flops to the “who on earth thought this was a good idea” down-and-outs — form the basis of the newly opened Museum of Failure in the Swedish town of Helsingborg.

“I’m not sure failure should be celebrated, but it should be given more attention,” curator Samuel West, a licensed clinical psychologist, told Digital Trends. “Success might be good for inspiration, but it is through failure that we learn. Eighty to 90 percent of all innovation projects fail, yet we seldom see or read about these failures. Also, organizations need to improve their ability to learn from failure. Even the coolest Silicon Valley ‘Fail Forward’ companies may be good at accepting failure, but they suck at learning from failure.”

As you might imagine, given that the pace of innovation is much higher in the tech sector, there are plenty of tech gadgets in the museum’s 70-plus item permanent collection. In fact, West says he had to work hard to avoid having an exhibition that was entirely tech-focused.

“There are so many failed smartphones that it would have been easy to have too many,” he said. “We’ve got the uninteresting and short-lived Microsoft Kin to the highly interesting — from a failure perspective — TwitterPeek.”

You’ll also find a motley crew of everything from the Segway (remember when it was going to change transportation as we know it?) to the Apple Newton MessagePad, which laid the groundwork for the later iPhone and iPad, but never sold more than a couple of hundred thousand units over its five-year lifespan.

To see the museum’s collection, there are a few possible options. A traveling collection will go on tour later this year, although no dates have yet been set. For conferences and events, a small miniature pop-up version of the museum is available for hire. In addition, Google has offered to help create a virtual version of the museum, although West doesn’t know when this will be made available.

The best option, though? “Fly to Copenhagen, Denmark,” he said. “Have a beer. Get on a train to Helsingborg, Sweden, which takes one hour.” That way you get to witness the failure in all its glory.

And if you happen to have anything to donate to the collection, bring it along! “I am always looking for interesting additions,” West finished. “They don’t always have to be consumer products or big brands. The criteria is that the item, service, or product must a) be an innovation in someway, and b) be a failure.”

We’ll get thinking.

Computing

In the age of Alexa and Siri, Cortana’s halo has grown dim

In a sea of voice assistants, Cortana has become almost irrelevant. The nearly five-year-old voice assistant is seeing little love from consumers, and here’s why it is dead.
Smart Home

Your office is a mess, and it’s making Marie Kondo cry. Here’s how to tidy it up

Here's how to "Marie Kondo" your office. If you've been inspired to remove clutter and create a minimalistic workspace that makes you happy and helps you focus on what matters, then we have ideas that you'll want to try.
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Gaming

A beginner’s guide to Far Cry New Dawn’s postapocalyptic Hope County

Far Cry New Dawn is yet another entry in Ubisoft's popular open world shooter franchise. But while it may feel quite similar in motion, the progression system is changed in a lot of ways. Our beginner's guide is here to help.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…