CES 2019 Has Potentially Biggest Tech Fail of the Year (And It’s Only January)
Startup Lora DiCarlo was banned from exhibiting Osé, a sex toy for women, at CES 2019. Photo: GLENN CHAPMAN / Contributor (Getty Images)
The judges were having way more fun than anyone else at CES 2019 in Las Vegas (and it’s not from the free buffet). Judges have just awarded a distinction in the Robots and Drone category to the best women’s sex toy ever conceived. Osé won the CES Robots Innovations Awards, claiming 10 for 10 orgasms every time.
Not surprisingly, people were buzzing to try it, until it became potentially the biggest tech fail of the year (and it’s only January). Here’s a quick rundown on the best thing to come out of CES 2019.
Binge your life away: LG Redefines Tube TV With Rollable Screen
An Anti-Climactic CES Debut
Tragedy often strikes in the most unlikely places. Before tech-savvy attendees could get their hands on one of these new devices, event organizers backpedaled on the award, then banned the device from showcasing at the event altogether, leaving huge crowds…er…unsatisfied, and the rest of us guessing at the unknown wonders of the debut product from Lora Dicarlo.
Photo: Klubovny (Getty Images)
Looking a bit like a futuristic Sherlock Holmes pipe, or an excited snail from the Tron universe, Osé—designed in partnership with Oregon State University—is the first sex toy of its kind to combine cutting edge design, biomimicry, and robotics engineering, into one neat little pleasure package.
So why is it being snubbed? Some say it boils down to sex.
“Men’s sexuality is allowed to be explicit, with a literal sex robot in the shape of an unrealistically proportioned woman and a VR porn in point of pride along the aisle,” Lora Haddock, CEO of Lora DiCarlo, said in a statement.
The culture of sex tech is nothing new for CES. A new AI sex robot for men, Solana, made headlines last year (think: Finally A Sex Doll With Brains!) with its stimulating, ball-breaking smart technology. And there really was a VR porn booth (remember the video of the guy testing a VR headset and falling over? Imagine what the guys in the porn booth were doing). And in 2016 a blowjob simulation device was unveiled in the hallowed halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Which begs the question: why is CES popping a bone of contention over Dicarlo’s new sex toy?
The Consumer Technology Association, organizers of CES, had this to say about Osé: “The product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted.”
Which sounds reasonable, except that the independent panel of industry judges (curiously consisting mainly of men) begged to differ, raising no qualms before welcoming the contentious product with open arms. “Osé clearly fits the robotics and drone category – and CTA’s own expert judges agree,” the panel said in response.
Clearly, the judges felt strongly in favor of the product, since they gave the damn thing an award.
Photo: ferrantraite (Getty Images)
Orgasms For All
Barring a new sex toy from going full monty plays like a bad joke, but the implications are huge. Not only does it promote an uneven playing field for women in tech, if consumer technology for women and other underrepresented groups continues to be flagged, those markets are going to be undervalued and under-stimulated. And a fully stimulated economy hitting all the economic erogenous zones is something we’ll need if we’re to avoid hooking up with the un-sexy recession.
Frankly, it could have been a win-win situation, but for some reason the big moment was brought under the yoke of CES gatekeepers. Wake up CES, you have egg on your O-face.
Photo: Dmytro Aksonov (Getty Images)