50 Clever Innovations That Aren’t Available in the United States
The United States of America has one of the largest markets in the world, but that doesn’t automatically mean that it has everything you’d ever need. There are so many wonderful gadgets, designs, and products in other nations that have yet to be found or implemented in the US.
Whether we Americans like to admit it or not, sometimes other countries just do it better. For the curious amongst you, we’ve rounded up 50 of the most insanely genius products, services, or designs that are not (yet) available here in the United States.
Automated Car Parking Ferris Wheel
Have you ever had trouble finding somewhere to park in a busy city? We feel you. Not only does it take time, but also it takes energy to keep on circling around trying to find one. That’s not such a big problem in Japan, a place that values creative solutions to everyday problems.
A car’s owner may come to pick up their vehicle through the means of a vertical conveyor belt, which rotates the vehicle and brings it to them at the push of a button. How cool is that? And it takes less space than a typical parking spot.
A Coconut Can
Plastic is one of mother nature’s mortal enemies. Why? Because it is so resilient. Plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces of microplastic, contaminating the oceans, covering beaches, and even making its way into your fish and seafood.
Since coconut water already has a natural container, why not just use that? A pull tap and cover are installed inside coconuts at this supermarket. It’s like you’re out on the beach sipping some coconut water right from the source. Who wouldn’t want that?
3D Paintings for the Visually-Impaired
Where: Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain
Everyone deserves to see art. For those who are blind or visually impaired, this might be impossible, but The Prado Museum in Madrid has taken steps to allow everyone to experience art in their own way. Although you can’t touch a traditional oil painting, the Prado Museum has constructed 3D copies of important works of art, such as the Mona Lisa and more.
Now everyone can feel what they might not be able to see. Art helps us realize the beauty of the world, and it should be a human right to experience. This kind of invention gives us hope, and we’d love to see this experience appear in more museums in the future.
A Pad For Homeless People
Where: Ulm, Germany
Winter is the greatest hurdle for most homeless people. At this cold time of the year, they are constantly at risk of getting frostbite or freezing to death. If they’re lucky, some shelters and churches open their doors. In Ulm, Germany, these useful pods have been made available for homeless people.
These pods are called “Ulmer Nests.” These pods are frequently used during adverse weather, safeguarding the most vulnerable members of society during the coldest months. Of course, it doesn’t solve the problem of homelessness, but it’s at least a humane way to help our fellow human beings instead of simply letting them suffer a cruel fate.
Automatic Road Cleaner
Where: South Korea
We’re used to seeing street sweepers clean our roads manually. But in South Korea, they don’t just have street sweepers—they have automatic road cleaners. It would be incredible to have these in America, right? It ensures that the roads are always neat and clean.
It sprays saltwater at any time of day, as often as the road needs. The road cleaners help maintain a clutter-free street, as well as keeping the roads ice-free throughout the winter months. If our roads ever get maintenance, it would be nice to see them implemented here!
Besides having a fascinating culture, cherry blossoms, scenic views, and fantastic food, Japan also has an insane number of vending machines. We’re not just talking about your typical vending machines that offer sodas and snacks. We mean vending machines that have all kinds of products.
Take this as an example. This is an egg vending machine. Who would have thought that you would be able to buy eggs from a vending machine? You might see this type of vending machine near chicken farms. Makes sense, right?
Two Seat Playground Swing
This is perfect for parent-baby bonding. Instead of pushing your children on the swing, you can now sit with them and swing together. This makes it fun for both you and your child. We’d like to see this in a few more parks, please!
As you can see in the picture, a U-shaped pole connects the two swings. The bottom swing is suitable for a child (or an adult), while the harness is suitable for a toddler or a baby. When one swing is pushed, the other will follow.
A Remote Control Mop
Yes, please! Take our money. One of the chores we really hate doing is mopping the floor. It’s exhausting, and the back pain just isn’t worth it. This floor mop may not be one of the most sophisticated technologies, but it is nonetheless useful.
This remote-control floor mop by Kyosho, a Japanese business, can be controlled with a video game controller. It’s possible to mop stuff without having to get up from your armchair. What’s even better is that this mop is actually now available on Amazon. Grab one before they’re gone!
A Laundry and Detergent Refilling Station
Where: Prague, Czech Republic
This is one of the most highly praised inventions to have come out of Prague, Czech Republic. The idea is to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment. Refilling a detergent container is significantly less wasteful than buying a whole new bottle or packet.
It’s beautiful to see that there are a lot of people who are now aware that their surroundings are being destroyed and are trying to do something about it, even if it’s a small effort. The sign above the machine says, “Beautiful is Saving Nature Together.”
Slippers With Lights
This invention would be pretty helpful during the nighttime or through a blackout. How many times have you hit the wall or bumped into something because you can’t see what’s in front of you at night? For us, hundreds of times. It’s usually followed by a loud curse or a cry.
With these slippers, you will no longer be left in the dark. It offers just enough light to see immediately in front of you without waking anybody else up in your home, thanks to small LEDs attached at the tip of the slippers. The only question is: when will they come to the US?
Bread Without a Crust?!
Where: Hong Kong & Spain
Well, it’s true. You could just buy normal bread and then cut off the crust yourself. However, there are times when you’re so stretched for that that even the job of cutting crust cuts into that precious personal time. But, yes, we are also lazy.
That’s what this company thought when they decided to go into the “crustless” bread business. Homebaked, a Chinese brand, allows consumers to save time while preparing sandwiches by removing the crusts off the bread for you. We think this is the best thing since sliced bread.
Where: Dubai, UAE
Okay, this one might be a little bit out of your budget unless you happen to be loaded. We all know that islands are formed through natural occurrences. But now, with the help of cutting-edge technology, people can now create their own artificial islands. This involves dredging tons of sand from the ocean floor and transporting it along the coastline to build these islands.
While it looks stunning, these artificial islands still face many threats from mother nature. Global warming and other climate disasters are long-term issues that these artificial islands will have to contend with someday soon.
Baby Onesie Mop?
Have you ever looked at your newborn and thought: “I wish I could put you to use somehow.” Well, not us—but it looks like someone out there did. This baby onesie doubles as a mop. That’s right, a mop—a cleaning tool used to wipe the floor.
Many parents probably wouldn’t want to put their children in a dirty area where they know it isn’t clean, but then again, maybe it would be good to put all that random crawling around to good use. That way, they could start earning their keep from a young age. Thoughts?
A Frosty Rail to Keep Your Drinks Cool
Most of us enjoy going out with friends at the bar once in a while. It’s a relief after a long week of tireless work. But sometimes, while enthralled in a good conversation, we forget to drink our drinks while it’s still cold and the ice melts away.
This bar in Europe has come up with the ultimate solution for this problem. In this bar, you will find a rail covered with frosty strips. It’s like an inverted fridge! Simply place your glass on the rail, and your drink will keep cold while you chat with your friends.
Public Bathroom Indicator
Where: Asia & Europe
Have you ever walked into a public restroom and had no idea which cubicle was free? Oftentimes, there’s no indication on the cubicle door to suggest whether it’s free or not. In such cases, knocking is the only option, but knocking can feel a little cringeworthy at times. What if you’re disturbing them midway through their business?
On a busy day, finding a vacant cubicle might eat up those valuable few seconds before a disaster occurs—and if the cubicle’s current occupant forgot to lock the door, that would be a total disaster. What better way to fix this problem than installing traffic-like light indicators in every cubicle? Genius, right?
A Scream Jar
We’ve all come to a point where we feel so mad about something that we just want to scream our lungs out. But, if we did that, we would—at the very least—disturb the people around us. And if your house has thin walls, your neighbors would be able to hear everything you say.
Japan has invented a “scream jar” that perfectly fits around the mouth for this very purpose. When you use it, you can shout your heart out without making a sound. Isn’t that great? We don’t know about you, but we’re going to look for this on the internet—we could use one.
A moveable bench!? Heck yes. It’s like magic, like something straight out of Hogwarts, or at least our dreams. Imagine having this in your local park. You wouldn’t have to worry about the heat because, with a little kick, this movable seat will give you a nice breeze.
We think this rail-like bench in Russia was a fantastic idea. Visitors to the park can move the seats anywhere they want. How amazing is that? It’s like you’re riding a roller coaster but without the death-defying terror.
Elevator Buttons Placed Down The Hall
You’ll usually find elevator buttons near the elevator. You press it, step back, and wait for the elevator doors to open. While it’s not that much of a hassle—you just have to wait. But someone in this world believes that we can make the elevator experience slightly more efficient.
The people from this hotel believe that elevator buttons should be placed slightly further away than the doors, roughly twenty feet away. You press the buttons from the exact distance it takes you to get to the door. The doors will then be open and ready for you to walk through. Smart!
Foot Operated Elevator Button
When you just think about it, bacteria must be covering almost every elevator button in the world. Why? Because so many people use an elevator every day. You can never be sure that everyone washes their hands regularly (or even at all).
These elevator buttons can be found in several countries. The buttons are placed near the floor so that users can tap them with their toes. This one is for all of you who are paranoid about getting your hands dirty. It’s also very useful if you have your hands full. We hope other parts of the world will adopt this invention.
Fitting Rooms 2.0
Have you ever imagined standing in an automatic fitting room, where you would stand in front of a screen and be shown an image of yourself wearing the clothes you might want to buy? Sounds like science fiction, right?
Mitsukoshi observed that its employees would dash back and forth between the store area and the changing rooms to assist customers—something which is time and energy-consuming. So, the store owner invented this automated system for customers to check out clothes and other items on their own, without causing any inconvenience to the personnel.
A Robot That Shines Your Shoes
Where: South Korea
As technology advances, tasks that were traditionally done by people, such as polishing shoes, can now be performed by robots. Yes, a robot has been invented in South Korea to polish your shoes. If you ever find yourself in Korea, be sure to pay a visit to Seoul Station, where you can get your shoes looking brand new courtesy of a machine
The price for the service is only $1, so it’s fairly inexpensive. To get your shoes polished, simply place them in the machine and watch it go. Once the work is done, your shoes will be shinier and more comfortable to walk in than ever. Not bad.
Internet crime and fraud are rampant nowadays. It seems like there’s news about thieves coming up with new ways to steal from people using new technologies. PIN theft is one of the most common. It’s nice to see that companies are starting to fight back on this front.
Imagine just withdrawing money from an ATM without realizing the person behind you is memorizing your PIN by watching your hand movements. With this new invention, criminals will at least have a much harder time. This randomized keypad uniquely places its numbers on the screen. The numerals on the keypad appear in different spaces each time, preventing would-be burglars from guessing your PIN.
Smart Car Vending Machine
There’s a disclaimer with this one: you can’t actually buy smart cars from this vending machine. It’s only for show. But just the thought of a “smart car vending machine” is crazy. Japan proves that there is no limit to the power of vending machines once again.
Imagine a smart car shuffling through a massive, robotic vending machine and appearing for the customer to inspect at the touch of a button. In Japan, you just need to open your mind to the possibilities of the future. It’s truly inspiring!
Air Conditioned Dog Dens
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
In Copenhagen, Denmark, there’s a grocery store that has air-conditioned dog dens outside of the store. These dens ensure that our furry friends enjoy their time away from us comfortably while we’re out buying stuff. They can sleep or nibble on a toy in a relaxing environment.
This is not only more convenient for pet owners, but it is also safer for dogs because they are not imprisoned in cars, which can overheat and cause serious harm to dogs. We hope this innovation will spread out worldwide because every fur parent and their fur baby deserve this kind of treatment.
A Runaway Alarm Clock
Where: United Kingdom
Some people wake up right away once their alarm starts ringing. Other people, however, tend to hit the snooze button and return to sleep right away, which can make them late for work or appointments. Has this ever happened to you? There’s a solution for this, somewhere in the world, at least.
With this runaway alarm clock, you’ll never sleep in again. As soon as the first alarm rings, this intelligent little device drives away, preventing you from pressing the snooze button and going back to sleep. Now you’ll have to get out of bed and get some exercise in the morning! Great, right?….
A Self-Sufficient Supermarket
Where: Middle East
This supermarket located in The Middle East is ahead of everyone with this innovation. They aren’t just selling vegetables, but they’re also growing them at the same time. This is a good idea because although we have to go green before the planet shrugs us off, we still have to meet people’s needs.
This self-sufficient supermarket runs soil-free, has a reduced carbon footprint, and consumes 90% less water than typical greenhouses. Also, they don’t put any pesticides out into the environment, which have historically been a disaster for the environment. These veggies are among the most environmentally friendly in the Middle East.
Smart Washing Machines
Japan is home to many unique inventions. One of these is the Aqua Washing Machine. Sanyo, a Japanese company, invented a new technique to clean clothes in 2006. It cleans clothing using ozone, a special chemical process that helps break away dirt and eliminate bacteria.
It costs $2,155, which is quite expensive. Its “air wash” feature does the job of cleaning dirty laundry in just half an hour. Its technological advances make it unique from the typical washing machines used in the United States and other nations.
A Portable Salon
A portable Salon? Is that even possible? Well, yes. In England’s Heathrow Airport, you’ll see HairPOD. It claims to be a “new concept in hairdressing.” Their “hair whisking system” is a self-contained, mobile booth that resembles a space capsule.
Travel can be a tiring, sweaty experience, so this sounds like a dream come true for jet setters or those who have to travel often for business. Imagine having one of these in every airport! You’ll never have another bad hair day, even if you’re hopping from one part of the world to the other.
A Mat for your Grand Entrance
Where: Cobourg, Victoria, Canada
While it’s nice to hit the beach, it isn’t an experience without hindrances. Walking on the sand in the middle of the day can be painful on your feet. That’s the case in Victoria Beach—while it’s a beautiful place, the sand can also scold your feet.
To prevent everyone from getting scorched soles, they installed a beach accessibility mat that stretches from the town’s boardwalk to the water’s edge. This accessibility mat isn’t only for people who don’t want their feet roasted but also for people who have kids in strollers or even people in wheelchairs who want to enjoy the beach.
Vending Machine Restaurant
We already know that Japan’s vending machines are the best. They usually include a variety of both fascinating and strange items for convenient consumption. It should therefore be no surprise that they have a vending machine-themed restaurant.
Using it is as simple as reading a menu—if you know how to read Japanese, that is. You make your choice, pay for it, and the machine prints a ticket for you. You then hand the ticket over to the staff, who then start working on your meal.
A Senior Citizen Card Used For Crossing
We all love our grandparents, and we want them to be safe wherever they go. Unfortunately, even though automatic systems make crossing the street considerably safer, older people can have difficulty getting across in the ten or so seconds that the walk signal gives them.
In Singapore, they have a senior citizen card that helps elderly people pause the traffic just a little longer when they need to cross the street. Elderly people or those with disabilities can get an extra 3-13 seconds to cross the street by swiping the card at an intersection sensor.
The Sencion Scanner
Where: Japan & Other Countries
Airports have been on red alert now for over two decades, and they show no sign of easing up. Airport security implements stringent procedures, which can be distressing and inconvenient for travelers. One example is that passengers are not allowed to take liquids on board the plane.
Enter Sellex International. They created the “Sencion scanner” to make traveling safe and convenient for passengers once again. It can identify the contents of passengers’ drink bottles and determine whether they are a threat or just a plain old beverage.
Get Cat Food for Recycling
Imagine having a machine that exchanges your recyclables for free cat food. What an idea. This machine is heaven-sent for animal lovers as well as the environmentally conscious. You’re not only getting food for cats and dogs—you’re also helping the environment.
This machine is available in Turkey and is a product of “Pugedon.” When you put an empty water bottle into the Pugedon recycling bin, food is given to stray dogs and cats all across Turkey in exchange. Pugedon plans to construct more of these recycling containers as soon as possible.
A Public Bike With GPS
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
Riding a bicycle is a great, eco-friendly way to get around. It’s also one of the best exercises a person can do. However, not everyone can afford a bike. In Denmark, cities are increasingly implementing public bike-sharing programs to encourage people to cycle.
If you visit Denmark, particularly Copenhagen, you can try this model for only $0.11 per minute. You’ll be able to tour the area while keeping yourself fit. Also, don’t worry. You won’t get lost. Each new bike in the system includes a touchscreen GPS to assist users in navigating the city.
Vending Machine For Warm Drinks
It’s impressive seeing so many vending machines from Japan with different items inside. Hot or cold, food or toys, they have it all. It’s fascinating to see what they come up with next. As well as cold drinks, Japan also offers its citizens hot drinks from a vending machine.
Even in the middle of the night, you’ll still be able to get a warm drink from this vending machine. We’re just waiting for it to be available here in the United States since many people could do with a warm drink past the hour of midnight.
Airless Tires for Bike
Asian countries sure have some strange innovations. But, this one impressed us a whole lot. Airless tires for bikes—what an improvement! No more having to pump air into a flat as these Chinese-made tires are made of a rigid foam that eliminates the need to pump tires completely.
We hope to see this innovation spread around the world and reach the States. You’d no longer have to be concerned about flat tires when riding your bicycle. As fans of cycling, we can’t wait to see them being implemented everywhere.
Shopping Cart Calculator
Where: United Kingdom
Let’s face it—it’s hard to keep track of how much you’re spending when you go out shopping, especially after a long day at work. Items can fill your cart, and the price can skyrocket without you noticing. It’s a common problem, we know.
With this shopping cart with a built-in calculator, you can have the freedom to shop without accidentally breaking the bank. Simply add the price as you add things to your cart, and you’ll be able to get a feel for what you’re spending. We like this consumer-friendly innovation.
After chewing for so long, some people spit their gum out anywhere or stick it to a nearby surface. In many cities, it’s not uncommon to find gum stuck on walls, pavements, and bus stops. It is gross—but it doesn’t have to be this way!
One company in Asia found a solution to this problem. Besides gum, you’ll also get paper for disposal inside the packaging. Simply spit the gum onto the paper and stuff it into your pocket until you come across a trash can—no mess, no littering.
These days, it seems like our eyes are glued to our gadgets, predominantly our phones. It’s as if we can no longer function without them. It’s understandable—these things are designed to attract and hold our attention. It’s how we’re able to stay connected with the world.
This phone jail can hold up to 6 phones at once. It allows you to set a timer for when they should be released. This might be advantageous in various social situations or for people who work from home who also struggle with technological distractions.
Screens in Movie Theater Bathrooms
Let’s face it; this has happened to everyone at least once. You’re watching movies in the theater, but all of a sudden, nature calls. Now just because you drank too much soda, you have to miss out on what might be a crucial part of the movie.
However, people in Switzerland don’t have to face the same dilemma. The answer can be found in this Swiss theater: there are screens in the restroom stalls! Now you can go to the bathroom without missing a story beat—you just have to make it to the bathroom as quickly as possible!
We prefer these to a mop you attach to your own dang baby as a onesie. They can be casually used whenever you’re home and can actually save time on cleaning. For some reason, many people think they don’t have the time to spare for mopping their floors. This, of course, is wrong. Floors should be cleaned at least once a week.
Imagine being able to walk casually from your bedroom to the kitchen while also completing a tedious but necessary chore. That’s what we call killing two birds with one stone. It is just a genius product that everyone should have. Why don’t we have it here?
Flushing Paddle on the Floor
Where: Across Europe
Let’s face it; it’s unhygienic that we have to touch the flusher with our hands whenever we use the bathroom. There’s a lot of bacteria growing on those things, which isn’t good for your health. For that reason, this floor flusher is a brilliant way to keep your hands clean while answering nature’s call.
In many parts of Europe, the flushing mechanism is positioned below the toilet instead of on top of the toilet itself. You can use the sole of your shoe to flush the toilet, leaving your hands clean. We’d still wash our hands afterwards, of course.
Recycling Bottle Machine
In Japan, they have machines that recycle your used bottles. Taking good care of our environment is important, and one way to do it is by making sure that plastic is off the street and being reused whenever possible.
Our environment is currently in bad shape, so it’s about time for us to do something about it. With this machine, you’ll be able to recycle all of your plastic bottles. We’re just waiting for other countries to follow Japan’s initiative on this one.
Pizza Vending Machine
It’s official: the future is here. At least it is in Croatia, where they have a famous vending machine that sells and produces pizza on demand. While it might not be the most important item on this list, it’s certainly the most exciting for us.
Simply choose a base, a topping, and a sauce, then place your order and wait for a delicious piece of Italian cuisine to arrive. We don’t know about the quality of its pizza, but we can’t take away the fact that this concept is a great one.
We all need motivation to keep going when trying to lose weight. For those of you trying to do so, these stair stickers might be perfect for you. This is not common in America, but in some countries in the world, it’s not an uncommon sight to have these to motivate people to walk and lose weight.
You can see a count of how many calories you burned with each step, and you can get a sense of achievement at the end of the climb. Who wouldn’t like that extra push? Maybe it’s what we all need to start our weight loss project.
Color-Coded Baskets For Your Needs
Where: Japan & China
Disclaimer: we love sales assistants. They help us a lot in so many ways. Sales assistants are trained to help consumers by asking them what they are looking for to help them with their needs. But, some people prefer to just stroll alone and want to shop in peace.
These color-coded baskets are a lifesaver for the introverted among us. This practice is common in Asian countries like Japan and China. We think the whole world would benefit from this kind of color-coding. It would help shop assistants know who wants attention and who wants to be left alone.
Grocery Store Map Installed in the Cart
Even though there are signs overhead, navigating unfamiliar grocery shops in search of the pickle or freezer department might be difficult. Fortunately, grocery shopping can be made more efficient with the use of a store map installed on the front of the cart.
This is popular in Sweden. Instead of wandering around searching for a product, you can use the map to help guide you to the appropriate aisle. This simple addition wouldn’t cost much for a retailer, but it would help save their customers a lot of time.
A Plug Socket with a USB Port Built-in
Where: Various Countries
It’s no secret that a lot of products these days feature USB ports. Many manufacturers are adopting them as standard features. But if you lose the plug that it connects to, you’ll have to look for a replacement. If you had a USB port directly from the wall, then you’d be good to go.
It’s a brilliant idea that is only starting to gain traction in the US. We use so many wireless devices these days that it just makes sense. We just hope to see this practice becoming more widespread across the world.
A Slide in the Staircase
Let your inner child enjoy this image. The slide is the ideal place to reconnect with our younger selves, let go, and have fun. It would make traveling around town much more fun, that’s for sure. Kids and adults alike could enjoy this.
Using the stairs is good for your health, and if you’re more motivated to take the stairs, you’ll be able to lose more weight than ever. After reaching the top, you can either choose to take the stairs again or embrace your inner child and take the slide. We know what we’d choose every time.
Escalator for Cyclists
Where: Trondheim, Norway
There’s one disadvantage to cycling, and that’s cycling uphill. In Norway, this isn’t as much of a problem, at least where a bike escalator can be found. This device helps bikers overcome challenges of a vertical nature.
We wish other countries could give the same kind of treatment to bikers as they do in Norway. The cost of each track is quite expensive, however. It ranges between $2,000 and $3,000. That being said, it could help so many cyclists avoid a strenuous upward climb.