Tech Trends for 2016: Intelligent sex toys

From virtual coupling to vibrators that beat in time with music, adult sex toys are becoming a lot more advanced with the help of pioneering technology...

The recent boom in mobile apps, virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) has stimulated advancements and developments in traditional industries.

And where there’s a financial opportunity, you can be sure one industry in particular will be at the forefront: the sex or porn industry. And so it’s proving with the adult sex toy market.

Worth an estimated $20bn globally, the adult sex toy market might not seem like an obvious area for tech innovation but a wave of canny entrepreneurs, ‘sex scientists’ and physicists are doing just that. These pioneers are creating intelligent vibrators, strap-ons and ‘love eggs’ that offer bespoke orgasms, music syncing, and even virtual sex with virtually (excuse the pun) anyone you want.

In 2016, your sex life, and how you ‘get off’, will be tech-enabled. You can set your vibrator via your mobile phone or charge it via WiFi, and you can even ‘code-it-yourself’ and programme it to buzz to your liking.

Techpreneurs are even going so far as to “invent a new kind of sex”. US start-up Hum, one of the most advanced players in this space, has created the word’s first robotic, AI sex toy. Backed by a $53,000 Indiegogo round, Hum – a “complete reimagining of what a sex toy could be” –  is made from a 3D printed structure and uses computer code and pressure sensors to feel how the user moves to which it will ‘hum’ back, reacting automatically. Dubbed a “sex toy of the future”, Hum and others like it are primed to take off over the next 12 months.

Get ready for the rise of sex tech…

How it works

Alongside Hum, there are a range of innovations entering the market which utilise tech in a number of ways. Mysteryvibe’s Crescendo, launching next month, is a silicon vibrator device with six motors which can hold any shape the user chooses and can be manipulated via smartphone – giving a new meaning to power in the palm of your hand.


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From smartphone-powered vibrators, we then move to music-enabled and do-it-yourself vibrators. Lelo’s Siri 2 is a ‘sound-responsive’ vibrator which vibrates in time to music or to the sound of your lover’s voice – referred to as a “vibrator beat box”. Meanwhile, Atlanta-based Comingle has created a completely programmable vibrator which enables the user to write code and design their own vibration patterns.

Other relevant players include Orgasmatronic, a strap-on which buzzes to give the person wearing it the same kind of stimulation as the partner receiving it. And UK start-up Chiaro’s Elvie vibrator incorporates technology that aims to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, flatten the user’s stomach and provide better orgasms.

Arguably one of the most interesting and shocking developments in intelligent sex toys is the way they could be merged with emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR). With VR headset Oculus Rift officially going on sale next year, there has been mass speculation that users will be able to pair their toy – male or female – with the ‘virtual world’. This would mean that users could ‘virtually couple’ or have ‘virtual sex” with a long-distance partner, favourite porn star or even an anime character; as demonstrated here.

This evolution of sex toy robotics will be one to watch in 2016.

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