A Digital Condom a Reality Thanks to Arduino

[Bill Gates]’ foundation is currently offering up a ton of prizes for anyone who can improve the condom. It’s a laudable goal, and somewhat difficult; one of the main reasons why male condoms aren’t used as often as they should is the,  “male perspective… that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom.”

While most of the work inspired by the [Gates] foundation is work investigating a change in the geometry of the condom, [Firaz Peer] and [Andrew Quitmeyer] of Georgia Tech managed to solve this problem with an Arduino.

The basic idea of the Electric Eel – yes, that’s the name – is to deliver short electric impulses, “along the underside of the shaft for increased stimulation”. These impulses are delivered in response to different sensor inputs – in the video example (surprisingly safe for work) they’re using a force resistor wrapped around the chest for an electrical stimulation with every breath.

Although this is only a prototype, the hope is the conductors in the condom can eventually be implanted along the inside surface of a condom during manufacturing.

Video after the break.

[Thanks Steve]

85 thoughts on “A Digital Condom a Reality Thanks to Arduino

  1. The problem isn’t trying to convince men that it doesn’t decrease the feel and that you can be as intimate with a condom as without, because you simply can’t. It’s like trying to convince people that kissing is just as good through a thin plastic film, or touching your partner through latex gloves is just as good. They’ve done a good job at doing this so far, and are about as saturated as you can get by telling people it’s just as good if not better. They need to focus more on convincing women to use femidoms, convincing people to get diagnosed and treated for STD/STI’s as early as possible and promoting sexual health awareness and responsibility in general.

    The countries suffering from the most problems in convincing people to wear condoms are poor countries, typically african nations, and I doubt they could afford electronic rubbers, as they can’t afford normal ones!

    1. “They need to focus more on convincing women to use femidoms”

      Because there just isn’t enough pressure on women to take reponsibility for contraception

      1. While I agree with you, there is a flip side. In many countries, women don’t have anywhere near enough say in how they have sex.

    2. I have to say that i do _hate_ the things, i still feel (no pun intended :P) that it is the lesser evil. if layering 3 or more condoms lowered the risk to get an std or a child(different std in my opinion) i whould do it in a heartbeat.

      1. according to some study cited on the wiki article, double (or triple) bagging actually reduces the effectiveness, due to rubber on rubber friction.

  2. Reminds me of a friend who, being a selfish bastard, claimed that he would buy those “for the woman’s pleasure” ribbed condoms — and turn them inside out.

  3. I hope this goes without being said, but before you run and make your own folks:
    1) Sewing conductive thread into a condom to make your own DIY eel renders the condom pointless. “Now you have two problems”.
    2) There is nothing quite like the feeling of conductive thread against your skin. Flexible, yes, but also hard, chaffey, and sometimes sharp if it frays. I think you’ll need to double bag it lest you carve up his or her insides.

      1. Maybe add a couple of motors to it, make it automatic. Then create something similar for the female end. Put the two together, and nobody would ever have to bother with all that tedious sex again.

  4. Idk, seemed kind of awkward, the cucumber and him licking it. Giving a bad rep to arduino again kind of…

    If you want to shock your dongle, pee on an electric fence.

    1. peeing on an electric fence won’t give you a shock….mythbusters went through it and no shock…. i’m not trying it tho…

  5. Anyone noticed the Goldman Sachs logo listed as an example API to use? Yeeeeaaaah … nope. No stockmarket changes on my penis please

  6. I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable with this. Couldn’t they have just improve on the female condoms to where they are cheaper, just as effective as the male condom, and someone don’t have to hold in place when first inserting the penis? Ah who am I kidding, this is just a prototype at the moment and they will probably fix it to where it runs on a button cell battery and it being at reasonable size when they are finished.

  7. Yeah, it seems like sort of a shocker at first. But watch the entire presentation. This is a serious concept which seems to have been developed to the point at which you need a real boost to get the rest of the R&D done.

    Baring some huge advancement in biological engineer (figure out how to kill all the STDs) it seems a viable way to combat the bad name condoms have when thinking about enjoyable sex.

    1. If this is a serious concept, then the logical progression is a point where you don’t need anyone on the other end of it at all. And that takes the whole point out of bothering. I really don’t think this is something that people are gonna want. But if it starts to take off, buy shares in World of Warcraft.

    1. That’s easy, just make an extension cable where you cut off the data lines, unless you have one of those phones sporting a half eaten fruit as the logo, then you will also need to add some resistors.

      1. The usb specification states that only a small amount of current (don’t remember off the top of my head) will be supplied unless the device asks for more over the data lines.

        It will work, it will just charge VERY slowly.

        1. Most phones will assume that a port that doesn’t respond to commands is a dumb charger, then it will draw about 500mA.

          The ports in a computer are just connected to the 5V rail through a resetting thermal fuse so you can always draw the full current, you are just not supposed to without negotiation.

        2. P.S. I just connected my Samsung S3 mini to the computer using a cable without the data lines, connecting through a current measurement device. It’s happily drawing 550mA without negotiation.

    1. Actually, I think the pixelated images looks more like a phallus than the actual image. I mean, this shape in this particularly shape really looks like an amputates erect black cock, whereas the original picture just looks like an odd device meant to heat certain vegetables for some undisclosed reason.

  8. The answer to STD’s has always been education and information, not trying to trick stubbornness and stupidity into making the right decision with gimmicks.
    I am vehemently against this type of suggested solution. It only bolsters the claim that protected sex is inferior and it will provide nothing of real world value or solutions.

    Instead why isn’t this socalled lessened effect of condoms touted as a sure shot method to last longer? Instead of being a minute man? I’m sure “You don’t want to be a minute man” will get brainless irresponsible assholes to wear rubber quicker than wiring them up with gimmicks.

    Also, how good of an idea is it to let Bill Gates front an effort in order to reduce virus infections? Considering his track record…..

  9. that inidiegogo is going NOWHERE. just one option – 350$ for a handmade one. $10k goal… math… math… math… 29 hand-made electric eels to meet goal. $0 raised so far. :(

  10. As many others have already commented, the solution to STDs is education, just like it is for reducing the spread of things like the flu or common cold (e.g., education the general public to wash their hands). Furthermore, this is a really bad idea, if only for the reason that it makes every used condom a piece of e-waste.

    1. Making condoms better is really a materials science project. It’s only Bill Gates who’d be turned on strapping an Arduino to his dong. Thinner and stronger is most of the issue.

  11. Zapping genitalia has been around since the 18th century, I have a reasonable collection of vintage electro therapy devices and some of the probes would make your pecker shrivel up. I often take these units to shows allowing people to try them out and see what it was like to have your nerve endings stimulated however this is done in a partly non sexual manner.

    Yes the BDSM community loves something a little different and all thought some may freak a little thinking it is all whips and chains and torture there are more facets to the community than there are on a well cut diamond. Electro stimulation fits well with a thing called Sensation Play.

    A company that is well worth looking at for conductive and electro stuff is http://www.currentpleasures.com. They have a wide range of toys for him and her.

    One of my clients is one of the more well known dominatrices in New Zealand, I was commissioned to make her an electro sound. Made my eyes water contemplating how it was to be used but in reality the customer it was made for thought it was brilliant. It essentially is a shaft with an insulator half way down and it slides down the males urethra. the top part is – the bottom is pulsed +

  12. Bringing data privacy issues to a whole new level, I can just imagine the NSA loving taps into these new data API’s. And I’m laughing thinking about Tempest (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempest_%28codename%29). I wonder what ads google/bing would push.
    Anyhow, if I ignore all privacy issues, multiple electrodes and the right electronics would allow for some interesting biofeedback. In between shocks the electrodes could monitor both heart rates, execute some cross correlation and execute timed shocks. Of course a Ménage à trois could throw a spanner in the works.

  13. Easy way coat the inside with a small dose of nicotine. Make wearing it slightly addictive.
    Other way -fleshlight like condom loader.

  14. You misspelled “a laughable goal”.

    Typical thing you’d expect of Bill Gates though. Gets bored of his wife after a while so he takes the covers off and starts tinkering.

  15. (1) Wasn’t this e-stim covered in the movie “Brainstorm” about 30 years ago? …and with disasterous, addictive results.

    (2) With a Google API controlling this, I can put custom stimulation values next to friends friends pictures in my Google Contacts page. Or better yet embedded in the QR-codes in ads.

    (3) I assume this operates directly off of 120VAC, but didn’t spot the line cord. Do we need a travel adapter for Europe?

  16. This does seem to make the women (or other partner) become a secondary replaceable irrelevant factor though. I’ll leave you to decide if that’s good or bad or neutral

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