Another overdue update
There’s been a lot of activity over the past several months, though that activity hasn’t involved updating the Web site.
We’ve designed and built a custom insertable with a large number of electrodes, which we have been using on a number of different volunteers to map the sensitivity and neural density of the inside of the vagina. This research will guide the design of the insertable portion of the bionic dildo, and will help us understand how to arrange the electrodes that are responsible for the stimulation of the wearer. It’s also important so we can understand the needs of the software.
We’ve learned some really interesting things in the past few months. Some of what we’ve learned flies in the face of conventional wisdom about how vaginas work.
For one thing, we’ve learned that the sensory resolution inside the vagina isn’t terribly high. Part of the testing we’ve been doing has been to stimulate two or three different points within the vagina and determine at what point a person can no longer distinguish between one point of sensation and two. This tells us how many sensors and how many stimulation points our finished design needs, as there’s little to be gained from e=resolution higher than people can feel.
It turns out the vagina is remarkably coarse in its spatial resolution. This is an interesting find, because it means our finished device can be simpler than if that were not the case.
We’ve also discovered that there’s a great deal of variability in how sensitive different people are in different places within the vagina. But what’s been most interesting is that this variation is quite different from person to person!
Conventional wisdom holds that the vagina is most sensitive near the entrance, and becomes less sensitive farther up. This is something that’s taught by many sex educators.
But as we’ve been making quantitative measurements of the sensory threshold of different points in the vagina on different people, we’ve learned that this conventional wisdom is not true for most people; only about 40% of the people we’ve tested exhibit this pattern. About half the remaining people are equally sensitive at the entrance and further inside the vagina, and about half are more sensitive further in!
We’ve also discovered that different people exhibit much different sensitivity in the front of the vagina vs. the back, and some people are more sensitive on the left than the right, or vice versa.
This tells us that our software will need to be highly customizable, to provide the proper level of stimulation consistently when the sensors on the external portion of the device are touched. So what is good news for hardware design with the relatively low number of sensors and stimulation points we will need, becomes bad news for the software design, which will have to be fairly sophisticated.
With the research phase wrapping up, we’re moving into design of a full-featured prototype for testing and refinement. We’ve designed and built the silicone molds for the full-featured prototype, and we’re working on the electronics for it now.