For its latest drop, internet collective MSCHF is releasing five famous startup failures as miniature toys for $40 each, or $160 for a set. The Dead Startup Toys drop is comprised of the Juicero juicer, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) rugged laptop, Theranos miniLab, Jibo social robot, and the Coolest Cooler, which MSCHF calls the “poster child for the pitfalls of crowdfunding.”
“This is not a memorialization,” MSCHF says, “but perhaps they are a form of necromancy: we celebrate their pale shadows, deprived of their original context.” Describing the toys as the equivalent to “a line of heads on stakes,” MSCHF invites us to “behold these beautiful mutants, hoisted on petards of their own solid-aluminum-unibody construction.”
The failures range from the overly ambitious and misguided One Laptop Per Child project — which attempted to build an open-source $100 laptop for use by children in the developing world — to the Juicero juicer, which squeezed proprietary bags of pre-prepared juice roughly as well as a pair of human hands. Then there’s the Coolest Cooler, a do-too-much cooler that went through a chaotically mismanaged crowdfunding campaign. Rounding out the collection are toys based on the Jibo social robot (which had “little to no practical functionality,” according to MSCHF) and the Theranos miniLab, a printer-sized blood-testing machine that the company fraudulently claimed would diagnose a range of illnesses.
Many of MSCHF’s previous projects have raised the ire of the companies they’ve parodied. It recently initiated a “voluntary recall” of its run of unofficially modified Satan-themed sneakers in response to a trademark dispute from Nike. It also received pushback from Boston Dynamics after it strapped a paintball gun to the back of one of the company’s Spot robot dogs and let members of the public control it in an art gallery. “We condemn the portrayal of our technology in any way that promotes violence, harm, or intimidation,” Boston Dynamics said at the time.
The limited edition toys are available now, direct from MSCHF.