Teledildonics has a problem: someone patented the f ** k.
This morning, vibrator maker OhMiBod launched a Indiegogo campaign for its latest pleasure innovation, an Android and iPhone application that allows lovers to control vibrators remotely via the Internet. “You just log in, select who you want to play with, and you’ll have in-app sexting capabilities,” said OhMiBod founder Brian Dunham.
The OhMiBod Remote app works with OhMiBod’s range of audio-sensitive vibrators, which translate sound into vibrations. I saw the latest, the BlueMotion, at this year’s CES (see video below). It’s basically set up as a bluetooth speaker connected to your phone and can be worn for long periods in a woman’s panties.
What’s really shocking about OhMiBod’s remote-controlled sexytimes is the legal hurdles the company had to go through to get there.
Two years ago I wrote about a company called RealTouch with a similar idea – a “joystick” that can control a sex toy on the Internet. While the company touted her as a kind of marital helper, her real market was camgirls, internet sex workers who bill by the minute.
What I didn’t know was that RealTouch had to settle a patent case to get its joystick to work. Patent 6,368,268, owned by the hilarious “Hassex Inc.” (understood?) covers a “Method and device for interactive and virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks” and patent owners continued RealTouch in 2010. RealTouch and the patent owners agreed to a license, but that deal fell apart and RealTouch has since had to abandon its device.
So that’s one of the reasons you don’t see teledildonics as the next big thing in sex, even though the word and concept has been around since 1975.
“There are some pretty strict patents out there regarding the control of sex toys on the Internet,” Dunham said. “The patents have passed. The people who control the patent now, I work pretty closely with them.”
With the patent issue resolved, Dunham is back to work on the remote control application. It uses Google authentication services to log in (and identifies itself to Google as a generic “health and wellness” application) and can be used anywhere in the world with a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. Yes, both sides of a conversation need to get along for a vibrator to be controlled remotely.
It looks like OhMiBod doesn’t actually need Indiegogo’s money to build its new app, but the campaign is a handy way to create pre-orders and generate a buzz. Pre-orders will receive a $ 129 wireless vibrator for $ 89, plus a free t-shirt; the app will arrive in June.