The idea is a turn on, but the product might not.
Sexy tech company OhMiBod announced today at the 2014 International CES show in Las Vegas that they are about to release the latest in wearable technology: Bluetooth-enabled wearable vibrator panties. That's right, smartunderwear. The OhMiBod blueMotion, set to hit the market in March 2014, is a wearable massager that can sit in underwear while it's controlled by Android and iOS smartphones remotely.
The slimline vibrator has a powerful motor that works in tandem with built-in smartphone technology like the accelerometer, touch screen, and volume controls. For a customizable experience, OhMiBod's blueMotion also allows the smartphone-controller to record ambient sounds for 60 seconds. Any phrase, from "I love you" to "My nipples are so hard," is translated into personalized vibrations, much like OhMiBod's most popular toy, the music vibrator, did with iPod songs. The massager controls the sensations via OhMiBod remote, an interface that allows for the creation of unlimited vibration patterns. Essentially, you could be sitting in your office chair, happily getting off while your partner taps their phone innocuously. It's the next step in a sex toy market driven to reconnect us through the very tech that can isolate us.
Since the retail price of these buzzing undies will be $129, we have to ask: Will this actually work?
The one snag in the marketing campaign so far is that the app has to be within Bluetooth range for it to connect with the vibrator in real time, though the company hopes to improve upon this drawback by summer.
Kyle Machulis, of the erotic tech blog SlashDong.org, says this is far from the first sex toy to employ Bluetooth technology, citing 2005's The Toy as the pioneer of erotic Bluetooth vibes. "Of course, we never got any confirmation that the toy actually worked because Bluetooth was so violently flakey back then, and still is now," Machulis told me. If you're unfamiliar, Bluetooth range is probably only about 10 yards for an average device. That's a tight leash for couples hoping to tease one another from greater distances.
Machulis, however, doesn't worry about the Bluetooth range limitation for the OhMiBod yet, because you can use the internet to to "jump big gaps." The real problem with these seemingly wonderful Bluetooth-enabled undies is that there could be a reliability issue. "Bluetooth can require a lot of setup. The big question will be, does it 'just work' enough to be usable at the point where someone wants to use a sex toy, or will it take too much setup and possibly not work with all phones?" What seems like an orgasm in a box could mean minutes or hours of setting up devices, downloading, and troubleshooting.
If you're having vibrating panty dejá vu, it's because this isn't the first company that has attempted to strap a bullet to your bloomers. But the wearable market often suffers from a failure to launch. Just earlier this year, Durex had promised us Fundawear, vibrating panties for men and women controlled by their partners' phones. After all the media hype, these foreplay panties are still in the experimental stage.
We also have yet to see what could very well be OhMiBod's largest competitor, Vibease, hit the market. On their production page, even Vibease admits that there are still a lot of kinks to work out with app-driven tech. Vibease, set to ship out on January 16th, allows you to connect a hands-free vibrator to your iPhone or Android that perfectly synchs with audio erotica. Vibease also has an Intimacy app which allows a partner to send custom vibrations from anywhere in the world. If these two products sound very comparable to OhMiBod blueMotion, it's because they are. But none of them have ever reached our shelves.
Before we go out in droves to purchase wearable tech at a premium, we need to ask ourselves how many interfaces, setups, and apps we're willing to deal with in order to stick a Bluetooth down our pants. The idea might be a turn on, but the product might not.
Image via BusinessWire.