Ah…the 90s. What an awesome cultural decade. This was a decade when technology shot forward in many ways. Looking back on the gadgets in this list, it’s easy to laugh at how primitive and crazy they look today, but back then, they were cutting edge and…well, cool. See if you spot the ancestors of your current favorite gadgets today.
Here are 25 Crazy Gadgets From The 90s.
Imagine a USB drive but with weaker and bulkier construction. However, it was how you saved your work from the computer at school and took it home or to class to turn it in. They might be obsolete today, but they were standard data storage and transfer for a while.
Apple eMate 300
Dream Phone Board Game
This high-tech board game allowed girls to call fake people to find out which boys had a crush on them. Cringe.
Easy Bake Oven
Do you know those toaster ovens with the conveyer belt that toasts your bagels for you when you are at a self-serve hotel or college cafeteria? Take that, but on a smaller scale, with purple and pink marketing schemes and you’ve got the Easy Bake Oven.
Since cell phones were saved for the business owners and elite, the best way to get in touch with people was to page them to let them know you wanted them to call you. If you paged your number followed by a 911, they knew it was important. And if your parents paged you…you better call back super quick, or else…
I can positively say that the Sony Walkman saved my sanity on more than one occasion…way back when cassettes and CDs were the thing but before MP3s and iPods. How else could you walk down the street jamming out without having to carry around a big bulky stereo on your shoulder?
My Password Journal
This diary makes more sense. For this journal, you were able to set up voice recognition to gain access to your diary. Once set, this diary would open only for your voice, ensuring your little brother was safe from knowing that you kissed Johnny during a game of spin the bottle at that party you snuck out to.
Don’t let the term “diary” mislead you. These were basically fancy address books that were difficult to read and clunky to use. You were better off going the old paper and pen route until you could afford a Palm Pilot.
Sound Bites Lollipop
Imagine biting down on a candy and hearing music in your head. No, it’s not drug infused candy, kids, it’s the Sound Bites Lollipop. The tech is kind of cool as it would send sound vibrations into your brain when you bit down on it. Not sure why it didn’t fully catch on.
Conair Quick Braid
I mean, in concept I get it. Braiding your own hair is a learned skill. Doing complex braids on someone else’s hair, same. Conair came out with this electronic tool to make the braiding process simpler. Sadly, it resulted in a lot of knots and pain.
Speaking of manipulating voices, the movie Home Alone 2 made the TalkBoy a huge hit. It did only a little more than the Yak Bak, as it was a simple voice recorder and manipulator, but as we saw earlier with the Clueless phone, all it takes is a popular movie…
Imagine the fun times had by recording your voice…and then playing it backwards.
Hours of entertainment…one simple gadget.
Let’s face it, keeping all your things organized while taking multiple classes is a challenge. Trapper Keepers were folder systems on steroids. There were pockets, folders, calendars, places for notes, blank paper…basically anything you could need to get through a class, outside of textbooks, could be put in your Trapper Keeper. You can still buy them today, although they aren’t the rad fad they once were.
This Polaroid camera was all the rage for one main reason – you could turn your photographs into sticker strips. What’s not to love?
Another 90s gadget that’s still around today, the Tamagotchi was the best pet ever. Sure, you can’t cuddle with it, but it has unlimited lives, and you can still clean up its poop, feed it, and play games with it.
This “handsfree” phone gained popularity because of the movie it was named after. What young girl in the 90s didn’t want the cool gadgets of Cher and her besties? Honestly, I’d rather have her closet.
Speaking of robotics, here was a dog you could get that sang and barked at you in robotic bleeps and bloops. Its LED display had eyes that would convey emotion, and there were a few special editions, including a Christmas version that had only 100 units made. Some collectors sold their boxed Christmas Poo-chi units for $30,000.
Lego Mindstorm RIS
Lego + Robotics = what’s not to love? If you think your 3rd grader’s Lego set is expensive, you should check out eBay for some of these older sets. RIS stands for Robotics Invention System, by the way. The Mindstorm series has recently been discontinued as of 2022, but you have to admit that’s quite a long run for a toy series.
Speak and Spell
Made by Texas Instruments, the same people that brought you the TI-83 Graphing Calculator, this toy was a great asset to all the kiddos who wanted to learn to spell. This gadget used a speech synthesyzer to teach kids how to spell over 200 commonly misspelled words.
This crazy toy was a silly way to play a game where you would pull, crank, spin, press, and flick various parts of the toy…and it would get progressively quicker and more challenging. You can still buy it today. It’s just as silly now as it was then, but we won’t fault you for having some good ol’ 90s-sytle fun.
This handy gadget was great for sending and taking notes, but it couldn’t make calls or browse the internet. It had a stylus and was considered a “Personal Digital Assistant.” Useful for the time, but too limited in function for today.
TI-83 Graphing Calculator
You never went to math class without it. These complicated calculators were the only way to make it through any physics or advanced math classes.
These little gadgets were keychains with audio bites of songs on replay. They only played 60 seconds of the song, but you could listen over and over and over again…so almost like getting the whole song. Luckily, MP3 players and the iPod didn’t come too long after.
Speaking of Very Important and Special Business Person – having a phone in your car was like, woah! Some of these car phones were built into the car dash or consul. Some of them were in a nifty briefcase you could carry around with you.
There are nearly 7 billion smart phone users in the world today, and that had to start somewhere. While it certainly wasn’t the first smart phone, Blackberry phones were all the rage, and they were one of the first to have a lot of the tech you use today. It was one of the few with a keyboard for easier texting. Before, you had to push the number button several times to get the letter you were looking for. Blackberries were the “cool and important business person” status symbol.
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Did you have any of these crazy gadgets from the 90’s? Which ones made you laugh? Do you have any 90’s things that we forgot to mention?