A piece of technology doesn’t have to be a hit for it to be a milestone. In fact, some of the most important gadgets flopped, as it takes years of refinement for any given product category to resonate with mainstream consumers. For pioneering companies, it’s about pointing the way for an industry through innovation and risk taking. Remember the first stab at a smartphone, or the first mass-market digital camera? Did you know the first video call was placed while Lyndon Johnson was in office? Although these 12 gadgets enjoyed various degrees of commercial success, they all should be remembered for being ahead of their time.
Nintendo took gaming in an exciting new direction in 2006 with the Wii and its motion-sensing remote, but the technology didn't exactly come from nowhere. The company likely took inspiration from the failed Mattel Power Glove, which debuted in 1989.
This geek-chic accessory was a controller for the Nintendo Entertainment System that used hand gestures for gameplay. Unfortunately, the Power Glove wasn't half as precise as the Wii remote, but it represented an important first step on the path to motion-based gaming. Now, it's the Xbox One's turn to take this category to the next level.