Many infomercial products promise the world, or at least a cleaner house, more beautiful hair and smoother skin, with virtually no effort whatsoever.
Do the products seen on TV live up to their claims? "Good Morning America" technology contributor Becky Worley has put dozens of them to the test to find out if they're worth the money.
Here are five of them: the 30 Second Smile, Kangaroo Keeper, Cami Secret, TV Hat and Forearm Forklift, with her grades awarded according to how well they lived up to their claims.
Forearm Forklift, by AAC Forearm Forklift Inc.: B
The Forearm Forklift is two canvas straps that have multiple places to put your arms in. You put the straps under a heavy object you want to move and the premise is that you can leverage the power of your legs to lift more easily.
In our testing, we found that the Forearm Forklift did make heavy things easier to lift. It was great when people of different heights were trying to lift something, because the straps equalized the height differential. The straps go under the heavy object so you aren't reliant on your fingers and hands to get a grip on the object.
The downsides of the Forearm Forklift center on stability and going up and down stairs.
Lifting a heavy cabinet with the straps we found that it was unsteady and felt like it might tip over. As the directions indicated, we crossed the straps in an x pattern under the cabinet, but it still felt like it would tip over. Going up and down stairs also was a challenge. The weight distribution became uneven between the two people lifting and the object being lifted got even more unsteady when one person was above the other.
In summary, it seems like a good tool to help move heavy, unwieldy objects on flat surfaces.
30 Second Smile, by 30 Second Smile, LLC: B
The 30 Second Smile is an electric toothbrush that looks like two venus flytraps. The brushes envelop your teeth -- top and bottom at the same time -- and brush back and forth.
You have to open your mouth really wide to get the brushes over your teeth and it's a little bit of a learning curve to get your back molars fully covered, but once you get the hang of it, the 30 Second Smile quickly covers all your teeth.
Upside: Speed! You basically get four times the brushes with this toothbrush, so you cover all the tooth surfaces faster -- four times faster.
I took the 30 Second Smile brush to the dentist with me and asked him if he saw any issues with it. He said it looked a little gimmicky, but that there was nothing wrong with it and it should be able to clean your teeth properly.
Downside: You put toothpaste in the middle of each set of bristles, and after a while it starts to get really caked into the base of the bristles. It's a challenge to get all of the residual toothpaste out of the bristles after you brush. Also, the device isn't rechargeable, so you have to replace the batteries. Finally, it can't brush your tongue because there is no flat surface of bristles to place against your tongue.
Overall, I like the 30 Second Smile toothbrush and think that if you hate brushing your teeth so much that speed is critical for getting you through the process, this is a good solution. But I also own a Sonicare Toothbrush, and over the long haul I reverted back to my Sonicare because it was easier to keep clean, I like brushing my tongue, my teeth felt cleaner afterwards and my Sonicare is rechargeable.
The 30 Second Smile is better than a standard toothbrush, but I prefer my existing electric toothbrush.
Kangaroo Keeper, Global TV Concepts LLC: B+
The Kangaroo Keeper is good for people who use multiple purses and crave more compartments for their purse contents. You can lift it out of one bag and put it in the other. It has many compartments and pockets, and a handy clip for hooking your key into and avoiding the inevitable fishing expedition for your keys.
My only complaint is that I would have liked the compartments in the bags to have had different color lining so I could see the objects better.
If you have the discipline to keep all your purse contents in the pockets of the Kangaroo Keeper, it's a great tool. But if your purse is a LaBrea tar pit of brushes, phone, wallet and gum, then this could help, but won't do the tidying for you.
Cami Secret, Ontel Products Corporation : C-
Cami Secret is a modesty panel that clips to your bra straps and covers the lower portion of your cleavage. It seems like a nice alternative to wearing a camisole all the time under sweaters and blouses that are low-cut, but Cami Secret doesn't deliver in the way it actually works when you are wearing it.
The garter clips fasten well, but they aren't adjustable, and because the bottom portion of the dickey doesn't fasten to anything, it rides up and gathers in an unnatural way.
The fabric hangs loosely and just looked weird. Maybe it didn't fit me well, but I'm not petite. A couple of times I looked down and the bottom of the Cami Secret was outside of my sweater and hanging out like I was wearing a bib at Red Lobster -- not a good look.
I can see how this might work better if you worked in a profession like teaching where you just wanted one more barrier to accidental exposure or if you feel like you are being downbloused regularly. But for me, it was just weird looking and I was constantly fidgeting with it to get it to lay flat.
TV Hat iPod Viewer, SKM Industries Inc.: D
Even though the whole point of the hat was to minimize glare, I found that the magnifying glass in the hat really exacerbated the glare issues of the clear plastic screen that holds the iPod in the pouch. If the whole point of the hat is to minimize glare outside, this was a significant failing, in my assessment.
Also the weight of the iPod I put in the hat's pocket pulled the hat down. I had to hold it with my hand at the back of my head to keep it on.
And, oh yeah: Did I mention you look ridiculous wearing it?