SXSW NSFW The computational dildo liberation army (CDLA) has called out device makers for creating boring old kit that just doesn't get the job done. The dildo patrol want to see more creative devices and an influx of open source effort around sex toys.
Attendees at the SXSW conference here listened for over an hour on Sunday as so-called teledildonics experts went on a journey through "Sex and Computational Technology". A couple of the panelists reckoned that a company akin to the Microsoft of Dildos exists, which closed off its teledildonics patent stash from competitors. The end result is a bunch of clunky, latex filled gear that leaves the operator and her virtual partner feel like they're mating with an outboard motor through a fax machine.
"It's like trying to fuck your printer driver," said Kyle Machulis, a teledildonics expert, employee of Linden Lab, and editor of Slashdong.org, about the state of computerized dildos' software interfaces.
Machulis proved the most entertaining panelist by some margin, as he waved around a bowling pin-sized vibrator and then later tossed out disposable vaginas with "tight" and "tighter" settings to members of the audience. He also stood out as the most aggressive critic of current devices.
For example, Machulis went after the Talking Head Vibrator from My Little Secret, which plants an MP3 player inside of the vibrator. You can make your own sound recordings for the device or pick from My Little Secret's rather sad list of MP3s.
Cleary, not the stuff of which dreams are made.
Thankfully, open source types have cracked into the teledildonics field with new entries such as the Drmn' Trance Vibrator. This is an almost, er, pocket-sized device with an open software interface. "The Drmn' Trance Vibrator is a USB-controlled vibrator designed for use with Rez, an audiovisual shooter game for the PlayStation 2," you're told. " If you have some experience with C/C++ (or any computer language you can use to access a computer's USB port), you can write your own vibrator control application."
Machulis has some curious and frankly near incomprehensible ideas about other avenues for open source masturbation. At the moment, he's exploring the idea that you can "use waves to get patterns to get you off". Horny programmers would then also create "obfuscated macros" of sounds that satisfy them. They could upload these sounds onto their inhouse teledildonics gear and then a remote user could trigger the sounds.
"Then you can get off with the other person without them knowing what you like," Machulis said.
People could also combine their sounds to try and find some manner of erotic, musical middle ground.
Bowling for Teledildonics
On a more clinical note, panelist and sex educator Cory Silverberg hopes that sex technology will advance to the point where scientists can study intercourse remotely with the help of sensors and feedback systems.
"Everything we know about how sex works is from a very small group of people who have sex in a lab," he said. "While this is good, it's also highly problematic."
The union of two people inside a MRI machine is a bit too forced for Silverberg's tastes. So, he's looking for people to go home, smack sensors all over their genitals and then go at it underneath the humming comfort of a wireless network.
"I can't even conceive of how much richer that information would be," he said.
The low point of came near the end of the panel when an audience member asked if we'll soon be banging our PCs. People love their cars and iPods, so why not cram your taco spreader into a USB drive, the fella wondered.
"Yes, it's going to happen," Machulis said.
Machulis should know, as he's on the frontlines of the Sadville sex scene.
"Anything you can think of, some of the things you can't and some of the things you don't want to think of are all happening in Second Life right now," he said.
Researcher Johanna Brewer, while seemingly bright enough, pushed the creepiest, flimsiest ideas about using devices such as cell phones to create "more meaningful" relationships with strangers. For example, she touted a bullet-sized vibrator that women or men can insert in an orifice. They can then go about their daily business and receive a buzz whenever someone text messages them or they come near an approved contact with a Bluetooth device in range of the panty pounder.
Apparently, this is all part of the "continuum of intimacy."
Brewer also advocated the idea of following cute people you see on the subway, if that helps you build a lasting fantasy. With any luck, your lustful gaze will turn into a vibrating text message one day.
Do we hold out hope that the open source crew can develop new and improved ways of masturbating with Hello Kitty USB storage sticks? Sure, why not. Your gratification is just one massive, overdone KDE versus GNOME debate away. ®