Review of vibrator development boards

Designing your own sex toys with advanced technology is becoming popular. Although the community is still very small the interest is rising. In this article we will introduce for open source vibrator development boards including our body interaction 1. We will see how the design of the development boards determines the design space – the possibilities of sex toys which can be realized.

Comingle may be the most successful open source sex toy company. They invented the Mod – an Arduino based vibrator with 3 vibration motors. They also offer the Dilduino – a development board based on the Atmel ATmega342U4 (similar to the Arduino Micro). The board can drive 3 vibration motors. They have developed a great library for programming vibration pattern (“OS sex“). You can use arbitrary function like sinus or cosinus to define pattern. You can upload programs via the USB connection, but there is no wireless radio or WiFi connection on board. The board lacks battery charging support, so you need external power. As the board is quite large it is only suitable for larger toys. Available at Tindie.
Pro: supports 3 motors, full Arduino compatible, great library, superb tutorials
Cons: no wireless connectivity, no battery charger, quite large for being part of a sex toy

pen15_smallPen 15 shield is a shield for the Arduino Uno.  So you need an Arduino Uno in addition to the shield. The shield must be connected to the Arduino board. It has one driver for a vibration motor. This pioneer work was announced in 2011, but it is probably not available any more. The price is quite low. There is no battery charging option and it is very large compared to the other boards.
Pro: full Arduino compatible
Cons: no wireless connectivity, no battery charger, too large to be part of a sex toy

Master Beta Kit from Orgasmatronic Inc. is another shield for the Arduino Uno. It can control two vibration motors. The power source for the vibration motors could be different though you may control motors with different input voltages. Easy assembling and support with online tutorials.

Pro: full Arduino compatible, different motor input voltage
Cons: no wireless connectivity, no battery charger, too large to be part of a sex toy

Assembled boardThe body interaction development board can drive one motor. It has a LiPo battery charging option. It can be controlled by motion – a 3-axis accelerometer is build in. Using motion you can control the vibrator – no need for further peripherals like switches or slider for controlling the vibration speed. The main advantage is the wireless radio especially if you like to use more than one sex toy at once. You can transmit data between your toys, control your toys or even synchronize them. The form factor is very small, though it can be part of a small toy. As the board is only 20x36mm there is not much space for further functionalities: It has no serial interface. To upload a program you need an ISP programmer (eg USBtinyISP). And it uses a microcontroller from the ATMEL ATtiny series. Although the tiny microcontrollers are getting more and more popular they have some disadvantage compared to the standard ATmega328p: There is not much memory on the chip (8K instead 32K), some libraries may not work, less I/O ports. Available at Tindie.
Pro: small form factor, LiPo battery charger included, wireless radio, motion tracking
Cons: some libraries don’t work, programmer needed for uploading programs

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From Gideon, Paris, City of Love, https://flic.kr/p/pjoAL License: CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Most probably we will see more boards arrive and we hope that there are Open Source, too. But for a breakthrough for open source DIY sex toys an open standard would be helpful like the Arduino helped physical computing becoming popular for nerds, SIGs,  artists, scientists, hobbyist, industry!
But open source sex toys are not only a technical endeavour. It is about our relation to love, sex, partnership, about taking responsibility. Open sex toys are about getting a deep and well-founded understanding of our personal sexuality and the sexuality of our loved ones.

 

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