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]


  1. John U says:

    At last a punchline for the phrase “You know where you can stick your Arduino…”

  2. Wyatt says:

    Finally … blinking something other than an LED.

  3. 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!

  4. ijg says:


  5. asheets says:

    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.

  6. dave says:

    electricity, penis, what could possibly go wrong?

  7. Aeva says:

    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.

  8. “Video (and baby) after the break.”

  9. Wyatt says:

    Looks like it’s designed to be used by the tongue, for some reason.

  10. omegacs says:

    The “personally tested” clip in the video is priceless…

  11. syntroniks says:

    This might make unenjoyable sex less boring… not a bad idea

  12. Figureitout says:

    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.

  13. Digitalzombie says:

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

  14. kommune78 says:

    Arduino dickslap?

  15. Jayson says:

    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.

  16. Mike Szczys says:

    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.

    • Greenaum says:

      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.

  17. Nerd that I am, I had hoped this article would be about a device for making it safe to charge USB devices in untrusted publicly-accessible ports. :-/

  18. Inb4: Europeans face-palming at the post image being censored…. well, except the ones in UK.

    • voxnulla says:

      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.

  19. Joseficus says:

    Ah! Teach this thing to cook and wash dishes and we will have officially outdated the female sex!

  20. Chris says:

    New meaning to “Screwing around with his Arduino again!”

  21. voxnulla says:

    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…..

  22. FooDooBaggins says:

    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. :(

  23. Some Guy says:

    From the looks of the picture, this was designed in Minecraft.

  24. cruster says:

    Is it the 1st April?

  25. Hirudinea says:

    A Condom that gives you electric shocks? Well it should sell well with the DBSM crowd.

  26. Chris says:

    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.

    • Greenaum says:

      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.

  27. Someone says:

    I have a better contraception method, and you just need a knife…

  28. 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 +

  29. Alex says:

    I don’t think that a condom filled with a cucumber fits on my boss definition of “safe for work”…

  30. I sure hope he tried that on his tongue BEFORE the *ahem* full test…

  31. Truth says:

    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.

  32. order of magnitude says:

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

  33. Greenaum says:

    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.

  34. JimBob says:

    Or just keep your pants zipped. 100% effective.

  35. r4k says:

  36. Etan Eniac says:

    (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?

  37. bfj says:

    The production model will be connected to twitter right.

  38. Whatnot says:

    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

  39. Tomaz Z. says:

    Taxpayers’ money well spent. *snerk*

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