Technologists Absolutely Fascinated By Vibrator

Jul 09, 2013 • Technology, teh inetrwebz, Toys

Steve Jobs' vibrator

In April, I wrote about the Revel Body, a Seattle start-up looking to revolutionize the world of sex toys by using the same technology that brings the buzz to your sonic toothbrush to a clitoral stimulator. They got a boost from TechCrunch and ended up raising $162,140 — more than three times their intended goal.

And now, the Revel Body has landed. Right between my legs, like the naughty cousin of the Google Nexus Q (admit it, that’s the first thing you thought when you saw this thing). The ergonomic roundness isn’t what’s hot about this vibe (NS Novelties’ Muse, anyone?), though. This toy raises the bar because of its technology — you see, when Revel Body founder Robin Elenga was consulting at Philips Sonicare (oh, yes, the dental care arm of the electronics giant is indirectly responsible for all this. I didn’t bring up your toothbrush just for kicks), he discovered that consumers considered the vibrating electronic brushes a top-notch pervertable.

Why were people getting off with toothbrushes? For one, a toothbrush is discreet. No one says anything when they discover it in your bag. But there was something else, too: almost every vibe that Elenga encountered on the market was using the same rotary motor for vibration that had been introduced in 1966. They were noisy, had poor battery life, and they generally weren’t very well designed. The last two things have changed a lot in recent years (Elenga founded Revel Body in 2001), but the matter of the motor evaded the industry.

Vibrators should be competing on vibration, Elenga decided. Using a sonic toothbrush as inspiration, Revel Body spent the next few years developing the technology that would take orgasm to the next level. The end result is an adjustable linear motor that has two settings, with ten speeds per setting.

Most multi-speed vibes offer adjustable levels of speed and power delivering around 60 to 120 hertz (Hz). The Revel Body brings you 241Hz and 90 percent less noise, 50 percent more power. Because the vibration originates in the protruding core, holding the piece itself doesn’t put the hand in contact with the vibrating parts, meaning less discomfort. (This is a big one for me.)

The removable core can also be replaced to accommodate other sensation tips, which are sold separately (for a suggested retail price of $19.00). The Revel Body comes with “Rose,” the base core. “Fawn” is a tickler, “Cona” is a small suction cup, “Ever” is concave, featuring tiny bulbs, and “Niko” is a smaller version of “Rose” — all the power, smaller surface area.

This toy is all the joys, few of the pains — unless you have a pacemaker. I have never encountered so many warnings while unboxing a sex toy. “WARNING,” reads the instruction guide, like, 18 times. “Device contains very strong magnets. It should NOT be used by or handled by persons with pacemakers, metallic implants or electromagnetic implants. DO NOT store or use device near cell phones, computers, credit cards, or other item which contains magnetically stored data. The strong magnets in the device can harm or destroy magnetic media. Magnets are attracted to each other and to other metal objects. They will move rapidly and violently toward other magnets and other metal objects potentially causing smashed fingers, pinches, injury and death or damage to core or other objects.”

It’s a good thing that tech talking head Robert Scoble doesn’t work at Verge, because his plan of tossing the vibe around to test durability for a review could result in an epic fail to the gender bits. (“Discontinue use if case is broken, if device over heats, if it is dropped and becomes cracked or any parts can be heard rattling,” the guide warns. “DO NOT attempt to operate the product if it is broken or appears to be broken.”)

Why do I bring up Robert Scoble? True to its promise to encourage a more open conversation about sexuality, Revel Body sent him a vibe today.

“This is a vibrating sex toy,” he wrote on the social network Google+, attaching an image. “Some PR company sent it to me. I guess I’m on a list of journalists who review technology-based hardware and/or startups. Is there anything weirder than getting asked to review a sex toy? I hope not.”

In a response to me in the comment section, however, he didn’t just review it, he endorsed it: “It is pretty well designed, as such things go. I’m pretty impressed. If Steve Jobs made a vibrator, this would be it!” A few moments later, he added: “The NexusQ team could learn a lot about hardware design from this. The NexusQ was totally over designed. This is not. The NexusQ was way too heavy. Way too large. Was way too complex. The Revel is none of those things.”

Sexual aids just got a little more mainstream today.

Body-safe, waterproof, USB-rechargeable — and coming to a retailer near you on July 15 for a suggested $179.00 (though you can also pre-order it through their site).