Futurama: The Professor's 10 dumbest inventions

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Good news, everyone! Futurama comes to SYFY on November 11. And to celebrate the latest mission of Planet Express, I have sifted through over 100 episodes to dig out some of Professor Farnsworth's dumbest inventions.

For those of you who have been living under a rock (or in a cryogenic state) for the last decade or so, Futurama comes to us from the team behind The Simpsons. Philip J. Fry, a pizza delivery boy from 1999, is sent on a New Year's Eve delivery to a cryogenics lab. An accident locks him in a freezer for 1,000 years. When he is thawed out, it is the year 3000. He finds out he has a great-great-great-etc. nephew, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, a 150+-year-old inventor who runs an interplanetary delivery company, Planet Express. Along the way, he meets Turanga Leela, a one-eyed alien (who turns out to be a mutant) who becomes the Planet Express pilot; Bender Bending Rodriguez, a robot with the catch phrase, "Bite my shiny metal ass"; Amy Wong, the Professor's grad student and a millionaire from Mars; Hermes Conrad, a Level 34 bureaucrat; and Dr. Zoidberg, a lobster-humanoid creature who is the butt of most jokes.

The Professor has been quite a prolific inventor. I have selected ten of the dumbest, silliest, most ridiculous inventions for this list. Useful stuff (whether or not it is realistic) was left out, like the Flabo Dynamic Suit (a sports suit that redistributes weight) or the Clone-O-Mat (a cloning machine).

Honorable Mention: The Reverse Scuba Suit

First seen in: "A Big Piece of Garbage"

Technically, this one was invented by the Professor's mortal enemy, Professor Wernstrom, but it is one of my favorite inventions on this show. The Reverse Scuba Suit is a scuba suit for fish, filled with water, that allows them to breathe on land. The suit even has motorized legs so the fish can walk around.

The Relative Box

First seen in: "Space Pilot 3000"

This quick n' easy version of a DNA test requires that two people insert a finger into the bone-shaped machine. If the lightbulb turns on, then those two are related. It's not really a dumb invention, but it has a silly name and a silly presentation.

Bacterial Spew Chamber

First seen in: "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles"

When the crew falls into an anti-aging tar pit, they come out as teenagers. Most of the crew (except Leela, who is looking forward to enjoying the normal teenage experience) wants to return to their natural ages, so the Professor puts them into the Bacterial Spew Chamber (perhaps the greatest, non-scientific name for an invention). Unfortunately, it doesn't work the way it is supposed to, and it makes the crew even younger, and their age decreases by the minute.

Maternifuge

First seen in: "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch"

In the future, pregnancy is no longer as simple as one sperm and one egg. The Professor invented the Maternifuge to help sort it all out. When Kif turns up pregnant (his species can reproduce via touch), everyone goes into the Maternifuge. It spins like a centrifuge (hence the name) and spits out those who are not the biological parent of the baby. Whoever is left is the biological parent. In this case, it is Leela.

Smell-O-Scope

First seen in: "A Big Piece of Garbage"

This seemingly pointless invention - which allows you to smell into distant corners of the galaxy - turns out to be very helpful when the Professor detects a giant ball of trash that is on a crash course with the Earth.

What-If Machine

First seen in: "Anthology of Interest I"

A very simple device: when posed with a "what if" question, the machine displays the scenario on its display screen. This is a clever device to bring the "Treehouse of Horrors"-style anthology show to Futurama. The Professor even builds a caveat into it: it can only answer three "what if" questions per year.

Nose Machine

First seen in: "Leela's Homeworld"

This enormous machine makes glow-in-the-dark noses you can wear over your regular nose. Other than allowing Bender to punch you in the nose in the dark, it has no other purpose, but it does emit a ridiculous amount of toxic waste.

Everyone's always in favor of saving Hitler's brain...

Adolf Hitler shark

First seen in: "A Clone of My Own"

We never get to see the Adolf Hitler shark, but it's so stupidly brilliant, I just had to include it. I'll have the Professor explain it to you: "Everyone was in favor of saving Hitler's brain. But when you put it in the body of a great white shark, oooh, suddenly you go too far!" We get no further information about the Hitler shark, but can't you just imagine a great white trying desperately to give the Nazi salute?

First robot capable of applying for a boat loan

First seen in: "A Clone of My Own"

The Professor created the first robot capable of applying for a boat loan while working at Mom's Friendly Robot Company. There is nothing else said about this invention, but really, I think the title says it all.

Fing-Longer

First seen in: "Anthology of Interest I"

This one always sticks out to me because it's basically just a glove with one rigid, really long finger. The Professor uses it to turn on his What-If machine. It later turns out that the entire episode was a scenario from the What-If machine, when the Professor asks "What if I had made the Fing-Longer?" The invention shows up in future episodes, proving that the Professor did, indeed, create it.

Who-Ask Machine

First seen in: "Anthology of Interest I"

The most wonderfully stupid invention ever, it has one purpose, and one purpose only: to determine who gets to ask the next question of the What-If machine.