Wikipedia calls chindogu (珍道具–literally, chin dogu, unusual tool)) the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that, on the face of it, seem like an ideal solution to a certain problem.
Anyone using these gadgets, however, would find even more problems. So chindogu are sometimes called un-useless.
Since the coining of the word in 1997 by Kenji Kawakami (a Japanese inventor and publisher of the magazine Mail Order Life), it’s taken off like a . . . . well, like a funny, pseudo-useful, frivolous thing.
A few finer points of Chindogu–
People can’t actually use them. If they do, the gadgets are not chindogu.
They can’t be sold or patented.
They are not meant just to be funny, though they usually are. The humor is incidental.
They are something of an antidote to practical consumerism and an ode to the spirit of anarchy.
These are some of my favorite chindogu. What are your faves?