Virtual Reality is ultimately going to change the sexual experience, and there’s a million conversations we could have about that, but for now, I’d like us to engage our skeptic penis-caps and look at the latest media frenzy surrounding this: the VirtuaDolls VR Sex Controller.
It’s a masturbator sleeve, with sensors to detect your movement, and translate that to in-game action. So far so good. It’s also an automated masturbator, so the girls in the game will move, and you’ll feel that movement. Sounds awesome. And it’s only $150. And it’s shipping in June 2016.
I call bullshit.
I really want this to succeed. I do. Trouble is, the VirtuaDolls VR controller is just too good to be true, which experience tells me, means it’s exactly that.
Here’s 3 reasons to be wary of this crowdfunding campaign.
UPDATE: Looks like I was right. The IndieGogo hardware campaign has now closed up and mysteriously morphed into a “Girls of Arcadia” game. The video of the device has been removed. All traces of this project as it was, are gone, and I feel very sorry for anyone suckered into it.
Expecting to go from prototype stage to mass production and then final shipping to backers in around 3 months would be a record for any hardware project. 6 months would be an absolute minimum if they were already geared up. And this is of course completely ignoring the software side of things: they’ve made some 3D models for the accompanying game, but still need an actual game coder to sort the rest of it out. Sure, we can chalk this up to ignorance of the manufacturing process and say “so what if it takes longer” – but the fact they would make such a wildly wrong assumption about the timescale speaks to how many other mistakes might be made along the way. When a project takes longer, the cash runs out – either requiring further investment, or just disappearing into the virtual ether.
It’s also worth noting that the project has already been cancelled, then relaunched, with some major design changes along the way. The original design included handles on the side with joysticks (pictured below), and an optional vacuum attachment; while the refreshed design has an optional attachment for your own Xbox controller, and pretty much looks like every other male masturbation device out there. So in the space of a month, their prototype has completely changed.
A regular masturbator sleeve made of TPR or other toxic materials can be found for as little as $30, but silicone isn’t cheap – $100 wouldn’t be unreasonable. The VirtuaDolls controller is not only a silicone sleeve, but a sensor to detect your position, an automatic stroker, some buttons and joysticks, and a fully fleshed out adult game. All for $150 ($99 for the early bird packages, which are now gone).
Even if they were already mass-producing ad had economies of scale (which the target $50k won’t get you), it just doesn’t add up. Which again, points to the money drying up, and the project disappearing.
Similar Devices Have Failed
There’s only so many ways you can wrap a dick in a plastic sleeve and attempt to masturbate automatically, and safely.
The A10 Cyclone spins around (and costs anywhere from $150-350), which by all accounts feels great, but is liable to desensitise you to anything much else, so we don’t advise that.
Lovense Max uses air bladders which slowly throb, presumably to replicate the feeling of vaginal muscles tightening, but that’s as far as the automation goes. Oh, it vibrates too. Fail.
The most mechanically similar device to the Virtuadolls, as far as we can tell, is the Autoblow (and the Autoblow 2, also crowdfunded on Indiegogo in June 2016 to the tune of $300k), which uses beads and a linear actuator, for that realistic feeling of a shitty hand job. Media puff pieces aside, actual user reviews rated the Autoblow as more dick-numbingly boring than mind-blowingly satisfying, ultimately unable to get them off. It’s possible that combining that kind of mechanism with some VR interactivity will be the connection needed to make something amazing, but we’re not sure that’s enough if the underlying mechanism is flawed.
One point of honesty worth noting from the Autoblow 2 campaign is that their development cycle was nearly 3 years until being ready for production (at which point they launched the campaign to get the final cash injection). That’s a long way from where the VirtuaDolls controller is, considering they only just redesigned the whole damn thing.
There’s a lot to be excited about for VR, but that doesn’t mean you should throw money at crowdfunding projects unlikely to ever see the light of day.
I wish the Virtuadolls team the best of luck, but I’m out. I’ll happily buy the game, which might be the only thing left when their cash runs out, but I remain skeptical about their unrealistic hardware project.
Great post! I just did a crowdfunding roundup over on metafetish (https://www.metafetish.com/2016/02/16/sex-tech-crowdfunding-roundup/) where I came to basically the same conclusion. Also, if you look at the team (or, well, guy) developing it, he has no game programming, hardware, embedded, manufacturing, etc experience listed. Seems to be mostly a web programmer. I would /assume/ he’s got other people on the team, but still, calling yourself a lead on a product this complicated with no relevant domain knowledge and then asking for the public’s cash seems super dicey.
BTW, this site is awesome! Please throw me some email, would love to talk to you more about some of your projects!
Hi qDot, thanks for stopping by. And thank you so much for featuring my sex toy cabinet on your blog. I’ve been a subscriber for a long time, and seeing that pop up in my RSS feed made me go all giggly 😉 Sorry it took so long to reply, I just found your comment marked as spam. I’d love to chat about projects some day, so I’ll mail you up when I’m working on something new! The Arduino projects are a bit outdated now 🙁