Wearables have come a long way, but they’re not part of everyday life yet.
Before that happens, we’ll experiment. Some of the results will be more amusing than useful, like Pizza Hut’s pizza-ordering Pie-Tops.
Others will shoot for useful … and potentially be something else. Like the i.Con Smart Condom, which calls itself “the worlds [sic] first smart condom.”
Before you recoil in horror at the idea of a condom that is not only reusable but potentially even rechargeable (why, God?), the i.Con is actually a ring that slides over any old condom you like. It’ll then track a bunch of handy-dandy data points, like calories burned, and whether you’re at risk of contracting chlamydia or syphilis.
“So what is the customer expected to do when they get the STI push notification on their phone 5 minutes in? Does it fake a call from ‘Boss’?” wondered a friend on Facebook.
We can’t answer that question. Getting a “chlamydia” badge can’t be made fun, no matter what form it takes. But here’s i.Con’s fetching promotional copy:
Have you ever wondered how many calories you’re burning during intercourse? How many thrusts? Speed of your thrusts? The duration of your sessions? Frequency? How many different positions you use in the period of a week, month or year? Ever wondered how you stack up to other people from around the world?
Welcome to the future of wearable technology in the bedroom.
Welcome to i.Con.
Wow. We can’t wait to see the leaderboard.
Quantified sex is inevitable, given that we’ve come to quantify everything else—steps taken, books read, meals eaten. And the i.Con promises a full array of data points, ranging from thrust count and velocity (ouch…?), to your penis’s skin temperature, to girth.
But this raises another question: If you can know, should you?
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, titled “The Hidden Cost of Personal Quantification,” found that while people enjoy measuring stuff, the act decreases motivation and a sense of pleasure, especially when the task was considered pleasurable to begin with. (Positioning it as work at outset makes the effect less pronounced … but do you really want to do that with sex?)
Quantification also dooms us to a weird feedback loop: Once we’ve begun measuring, we pretty much have to keep doing it; otherwise, we engage in those activities less often than when we started—so you may well find yourself committed to the ring once you start. (On the other hand, our phones come to bed with us anyway, so maybe this doesn’t change much.)
Just something to keep in mind as we open this fun new Pandora’s box.
The i.Con was announced in July, and can be preordered for £59.99 (about $74), though it isn’t yet clear when the product will come out.
Like your Apple watch, Fitbit and other devices, you’ll be able to charge it via USB. Each charge should stand about six to eight hours of live use.
An accompanying app will let you visualize data and share with friends “or, indeed the world.” Oh, yeah: It’s one size fits all. (Sorry for the Magnum lovers.)