But, as with 3D printing, the big reveal never seemed to really arrive. Sure, Libre could technically open MS Word files, but boy, it sure did suck in every other respect.
Consumer open source had promised us the moon and failed to deliver. But maybe open source’s redemption could come from an unexpected place? An unexpectedly sexy place?
We’re terrible at smutty double entendres at Idealog, so let’s just say it: Attention sexed-up hackers, you can now build and program your own open source dildos.
Now that we have your attention, let’s continue.
Open source software lets users access, study and change the code in pretty much any way they want to. Users can hack open-source software based devices, build on others' work and generally make stuff up (and better) as they go along. This has pretty awesome ramifications for a lot of things, sex toys included. With your sex toy connected to the internet, and with the code malleable to your slightest whim, you can build and design devices to suit any taste, and modify them in any way you want.
Furthermore, using easy-to-use open source code, you can control these devices in a range of ways never dreamed of. Want to control a partner’s device from across town? Doable. Want to control it with a motion sensor? Done. Wii Nunchucks? Geiger counters? The neighbour’s doorbell? Done, done, done. You’re limited only by your imagination and interests.
The Orgasmatron itself looks like a pretty standard vibrating sex toy, albeit with a few exotic and terrifying twists. Let’s let the pictures do the talking for a moment:
But things get really interesting when you purchase a US$14 Hack Off kit, which lets you become a master DIY orgasm controller, no engineering or electronics experience required.
Following the easy step-by-step instructions, you can custom-program your Orgasmatron (and most other vibrators for that matter) in as little as 10 minutes.
Are you experienced?
If that’s too pedestrian for your programming skills, or, perhaps, your unique tastes, get yourself serious with the Master Beta Kit.
The kit, also available from Orgasmatronics, was successfully crowdfunded in mid-2015 (more than doubling its funding goal in the process). Unfortunately, the kit is currently only available in bulk orders so someone do that please.
But it's actually very (*ahem*) hard
If, however, you’re assuming that the floodgates are ready to open on a crowdfunded, open-source future where we’re all controlling each other’s loins via an iPhone app, it’s time for a figurative cold shower.
Case in point: The Mod.
Though their crowdfunding project went gangbusters, raising US$60k, the project has since gone sideways and been abandoned, thanks to the work of a patent troll by the name of Warren Sandvick, former president of a Texas company called HasSex, who, in (perhaps) cahoots with a (perhaps) shell company named TZU Technologies, put an uninvited spanner in the internet-connected sex-toy industry. Long story short, Sandvick, who appears to have been issued a wildly over-reaching patent, sued Comingle, as well as five other internet-connect sex-toy companies for infringing his patent on such-devices. Read the full, sad tale at Comingle’s site.
Sandvick even tried to sue Kickstarter, but, faced with a well-funded opponent, backed-down.
Then he died.
It’s unclear what the ramifications are for the other companies being sued, however, as mentioned, production on the Mod has been abandoned, which is a pity because it looked damned good:
The patent expires in 2018, so whether Comingle, or the other affected companies, will have the fortitude to pick up where they left off remains to be seen.
So where does that leave the industry? Has it fallen into a unsatisfied, post-coital slumber?
Not yet. Case in point:
You’re invited to adjust your lust with Dildo Generator, an online sex toy customisation app that does exactly what it says on the box. Users can adjust the length, girth, bend, knobbly bits and colour, among other things, easily, using a simple point-and-click interface.
For example, I made this anatomy-defying monstrosity in mere moments.
Once you’ve designed your toy, simply click to buy and your hideous creation will be shipped to your door, plain brown packaging and all.
Note: You may be wondering if it’s safe to insert a 3D printed device into yourself. No, not really. If you’ve read this far and are planning on experimenting in this area, it might be a good idea to watch this safety video. Essentially, it’s sand, silicon, then sexy-time.
Cybersecurity experts are now warning that sex-tech and other internet-connected sex toys may be at risk of being hacked. This March, Trend Micro gave a demonstration at CeBIT 2016 demonstrating just how vulnerable the devices are, and how we are all apparently at risk of malicious, internet-borne orgasms.
Idealog’s sexy-tech round up
Still not satisfied? Fine. Here's round up of some of the other sex-tech we stumbled across while 'researching' the above article.
1. Some perv built a Scarlett Johansson robot. (Johansson wasn’t impressed).
2. VR sex has now become a thing, marrying sex and sadness in a way only dreamed about in the nineties. Following hot on the heels of sexy VR video, the package has now grown (zing!) to include a masturbation aid, Tenga and one of those creepy Japanese sex games.
3. Finally, let your sex drive fuel your work drive with the Open Source Sex Podcast (Link NSFW in any way, shape or form).