Ziger/Snead | Ziger/Snead

35 Crazy Ideas That Actually Worked Out Well

Sometimes, absolutely genius ideas can come from the most unexpected places. Everything from Post-It Notes to Silly Putty to the humble Slinky came about because of unorthodox thinking.

The innovation continues to this day. There's a whole world of unorthodox ideas that wind up working out perfectly.

1. Outlet with built-in extension cord

Reddit | asimaphore

Extension cords are super handy, and it seems like you never have enough. But they're also unsightly and a pain to keep stored away, but still accessible.

This prototype power outlet allows the user to unscrew the plug, unwinding a hidden extension cord. When not in use, it coils right back into the wall.

2. City lights blackout curtains

Reddit | drumma516

Putting a bunch of tiny holes into blackout curtains doesn't sound like a good idea, but the end result can be genius.

These curtains block out most of the bright sunlight, but their creative design allows just enough in to provide a bit of light — along with a pretty cool cityscape.

3. Shelter, Ikea-style.

Dezeen | Dezeen

Yeah, Ikea is good for stuff on the inside of your house, but you probably wouldn't want a house that was straight-up made by Ikea.

Well, the Swedish furniture behemoth has won awards for these innovative shelters. They pack flat and assemble easily, but most importantly, they make life in a refugee camp a little more bearable.

4. A never-wet bench

Pinterest | Pinterest

There's nothing worse than sitting down on a bench, only to find out it's still wet from the rain.

These benches take their queue from paper towel dispensers and include a simple crank in the side. With a little bit of turning, the sitter can find a dry patch of bench to sit on.

5. Skygarden, South Korea

Reddit | ManiaforBeatles

Projects like this show that the idea started with New York's High Line has started to spread around the world.

The Skygarden repurposes a stretch of abandoned expressway and turns it into a beautiful garden and walking path. It provides a welcome splash of greenery in busy downtown Seoul.

6. Coffee table with built-in fridge

Reddit | Panda_911

What, your coffee table doesn't plug in? Get with the times!

Rather than a bunch of dead space for magazines and coffee table books you'll never read again, this table's lower shelves feature something that's actually useful: a mini-fridge that allows you to pull out your favorite beverage without making a trip to the kitchen.

7. Fog-proof bathroom mirror

Reddit | mdengler10

If you like hot, luxurious showers, you know that your bathroom mirror will become impossibly foggy whether you turn the fan on or not.

Well, it doesn't have to! It is possible to have a bathroom mirror that never, ever fogs up. All you need is a heated section on part of the mirror.

8. Camper/boat hybrid

Reddit | luthan

A towable camper that's also a boat is the kind of thing that sounds silly until you see it and decide you absolutely must have it.

Well, here it is.

The compact, streamlined camper contains a functional living space, and as a bonus, the roof turns into a boat! It's like the most useful Transformer ever.

9. Light-up bike path

YouTube | Dezeen

In the Netherlands, where biking everywhere is a way of life, a clever invention has made cycling at night much easier.

Called Smart Highway, these bike paths have thousands of tiny, twinkly stones embedded in the surface. They're solar-powered, so they spend all day charging, then provide a pleasant glow after dark.

10. Compact smart telescope

Core77 | Core77

The idea of a telescope is appealing, but unless you're a space nerd, it can get overwhelming fast.

This little telescope solves a couple of standard telescope problems: It's small and also provides a foolproof way to explore the cosmos. By connecting to a smartphone app, you can learn about the area of sky you're checking out.

11. Avocado with built-in ripeness label

Reddit | ShirtShanks

I'm terrible at figuring out if an avocado is ripe or not. No amount of careful squeezing ever guarantees that I get one that's just right.

If you're a food idiot like me, a simple label like this does a lot of heavy lifting. Rather than relying on feel, the label tells you what's up.

12. Best. Uber. Ever.

Reddit | okdiv

It's not too different from something I dreamed up on one of many crazy-long road trips as a kid, but props to this Uber driver for making it a reality.

That's an actual Nintendo rig that backseat passengers are free to play. I'd say anyone that lets me play Zelda in the cab deserves a good tip.

13. These informative road signs

Reddit | google700

Most cities contract private companies to repair and upgrade infrastructure. Then, signs are put up and the projects are completed way late.

In Rhode Island, taxpayers get the full scoop on how their local projects are turning out. That's government in action!

...even if it was five months late and a tad over budget...

14. One Central Park, Australia

Wikipedia | bobarc

This crazy-cool mixed-use building in Sydney combines vertical gardens, cantilevered penthouse suites, and adjustable motorized mirrors to give the greenery optimal sunlight.

Needless to say, it's been a hot commodity since it opened in 2013. It's won a slew of awards, and is about the most eco-friendly highrise in town.

15. Origami Canoe

Core77 | Core77

Origami canoe? Origami canoe!

Canoes are a great way to get out and experience nature, but they're bulky, heavy, and expensive.

So long as you're not taking on any serious rapids, a folding canoe like this should do the trick. The fully-featured canoe folds down to the size of a duffle bag.

16. Simulated night sky on airplane

Reddit | samii1010

This plane projects a pleasing image of the night sky onto the roof of the cabin, providing a splash of color to an otherwise drab space.

It's actually similar to an idea that's been considered for planes that have projections of the night sky rather than windows along the fuselage.

17. Public (hammock) seating

Trend Hunter | Trend Hunter

You can find park benches just about everywhere. They're nice, sure, but why don't we see more innovation when it comes to public lounging?

This urban project brings a sense of fun (not to mention a sense of comfort) with its hanging, hammock-like seating. Could there be a comfier place to spend an afternoon?

18. Water-shading "bird balls"

Ziger/Snead | Ziger/Snead

There are big reservoirs of water — often a city's drinking water — all over the place.

Sunshine creates all kinds of contamination problems, so how to keep these big bodies of water in the shade?

The answer is simple and ingenious: at LA's Ivanhoe Reservoir, three million non-toxic balls are added to shade the water beneath.

19. Rotating bridge

Wikipedia | J.-H. Janßen

A downright beautiful merger of form and function, the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin is designed to look like a harp, one of Ireland's national symbols. Neat!

What's even cooler is the bridge's way of letting ship traffic through. Rather than raising, the whole span simply rotates 90 degrees.

20. Table with perfectly tucked-in chairs

Reddit | santiboa

Other than using the same color, pattern or wood, tables and their matching chairs often don't go together that well.

A table like this makes you wonder why tables and chairs are always clashing. If they were designed to fit into each other in perfect harmony, the world would be a better place.

21. Eco Nuts is an organic laundry detergent that contains berries from the Himalayas.

Instagram | @econuts

They tried to get a deal on Shark Tank, but sadly it didn't work out. The sharks declined the offer because they thought that the pitch was incomplete, even though they were very interested in the business. This company is now worth more than a million dollars.

Not too shabby for some berries.

22. Coffee Meets Bagel is a dating site with an interesting twist.

Instagram | @coffeemeetsbagel

Each day at noon, guys will receive up to 21 quality matches, which are known as "bagels." They then like or pass, and then the women will get the matches and can choose to connect after.

It beats having to swipe left or right on Tinder all day long!

23. Proof Eyewear is a really cool company that sells handcrafted eyewear made from wooden frames. 

Instagram | @proofeyewear

They pride themselves in using sustainable materials including FSC-certified wood, cotton-based acetate, and even repurposed skateboard decks.

24. CoatChex is a company that aims to replace the paper coat check system with an electronic database. 

Facebook | CoatChex

I'm not sure why this system isn't used everywhere yet. The company appeared on Shark Tank but left without accepting an offer. Since then, they've been used for events like New York Fashion Week.

25. Ring is basically a caller Id for your door. 

Ring | Ring

The device allows the homeowner to see who is at their door, right from their smartphone. It even allows them to talk to whoever is at the door, and is great for security because intruders tend to ring the doorbell to make sure nobody's home before they break in.

26. The Smart Baker creates cooking utensils that makes a chef's life easier.

Instagram | @thesmartbaker

Their Perfect Parchment is pre-cut parchment paper ready to fit into any pan without wasting or having too much excess. Who would have thought that an idea so simple could be so successful?

27. Hy-Conn LLC is a product that reduces the time that it takes to connect a fire hose to a fire hydrant.

Facebook | HyConn

In an emergency situation like a fire, every second matters, and this product is literally saving lives.

28. Cellhelmet is a company that sells iPhone cases that protect your phone from damage.

Instagram | @cellhelmet

What makes this company so unique that if their phone does break while the case is on, they'll be the ones to foot the bill. Not a bad trade off!

29. Depending who you ask, this fish eye doorknob is either a really good, or really bad invention.

Imgur | MRWabbit

Parents might like it for young kids, but they'll get to an age where it becomes an invasion of privacy.

30. While this invention is a bit low-tech, it's still pretty brilliant.

Facebook | Jerry Baker

Never again will you spend hours wondering where to eat for dinner, and instead you'll let the See 'n Say decide for you.

31. The Luna Light can be hung or placed on the floor.

Indiegogo | Indiegogo

It provides some serious cosmic glow with customization light settings. Each one is hand made by the The ACORN Studio team using glass fiber and non-toxic latex. I want one!

32. This gas stations has the pumps hanging from the roof. It's genius I tell you! 

Reddit | [deleted]

This way, it doesn't matter which side your gas cap is on. No more looking foolish at the pump.

33. This is a tie that also helps to keep your phone screen clean.

Reddit | [deleted]

I'm kicking myself for not thinking this one up on my own. Now if only it were more acceptable for women to wear ties.

34. Musical roads that play a melody when you drive over them.

Yusuke Japan Blog | Yusuke Japan Blog

These roads are located in Japan and have grooves cut at very specific intervals along the road surface. Depending on how far apart the grooves are and how deep they are, a car moving over them will produce a series of high or low notes thus making a melody. Sounds like fun!

35. A biker jacket with indicators and brake lights. 

Reddit | joat217

This would make it a little safer to ride at night. This is a great invention for both the motorcyclists and those driving cars or trucks.