Every once in a while, you’ll turn a corner on the CES show floor and see crowds flocking around a high-tech sex toy. This year, the one that caught my eye was The Handy, an automated masturbator — mainly because it was moving in a way I don’t expect to see in polite company, let alone a public show floor. But right next to it was the Oh!, a $149.95 toy coming later this spring that had me also saying “Oh?”
Both sex toys are made by Norwegian sex tech company Ohdoki. The Handy, a motorized device that moves up and down to mimic masturbation for people with penises, is certainly the flashier of the two. At a glance, the Oh! is unassuming as far as vibrators go. What makes it different is how it vibrates.
Most vibrators are simple unbalanced motors attached to circuit boards and batteries, encased in a cylinder. Instead, the Oh! uses the same linear resonant actuator (LRA) motor as a PlayStation controller. LRA motors work similarly to how speakers create sound waves and are ideal for creating haptic feedback. That enables the user to control both the frequency and amplitude of the vibrations. Frequency refers to how fast the Oh! vibrates, while amplitude controls the intensity. That means instead of preset patterns, you can create your own custom vibrations along these two dimensions. (You can visualize how this works more clearly in the video below.)
Another unique thing about Oh! is that it can be used with various content platforms. At the booth, the Oh! vibrators were paired to Spotify and if you held it up to your ear, you could hear the song that was playing and feel the Oh! vibrate in sync with the music. During my demo, I could both hear a thumpy Kylie Minogue dance track and can confirm the Oh! was buzzing along to the bass. When the beat dropped, the Oh! buzzed with everything it had. Basically, the Oh! is a vibrator powered by sound waves.
As for why you might want to do that, well, one suggestion from Ohdoki CEO and co-founder J.P. Wilhelmsen was creating your very own bow chicka wow wow playlist. Another use case might be for a more immersive experience for those who like to view adult content in VR.
This is part of Ohdoki’s attempts to build out its very own Handyverse, says Wilhemsen. “What we do is we sell the hardware and accessories, and then we provide the platform and IoT infrastructure for partners to connect through our APIs.” He then pointed to the company’s partnership with Naughty America, an adult content site. Naughty America can make content, then through the API, make that content interactive by syncing it with either The Handy or Oh!.
Oh! can also work interactively with The Handy. Both devices can also be controlled remotely to help long-distance couples stay connected, or help someone with limited dexterity or mobility use the devices.
But all of this raises the eternal question with the Internet of Dongs: privacy.
“We don’t gather any personal data and we’re bound by the European GDPR regulations,” Wilhemsen told me. “The only thing we track is basically the connections. So for example, last month, we had over one and a half million online sessions.”
Wilhemsen further clarified that both The Handy and Oh! connect to your phone via Bluetooth but claims that no personal data is collected or sent to any servers. You’re not required to create any sort of account to use the device, either. However, if you want to use either sex toy in the Handyverse, you must then also agree to that third party’s terms and services. Those partners might collect your personal information, but this is par for the course with any health tech gadget and API integration.
Perhaps the thing I appreciated most was how visiting Ohdoki’s booth felt like any other on the show floor. (Well, maybe a bit more lively.) Sex tech has had a rocky history at CES, particularly in 2019 when the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) gave then rescinded an innovation award from Lora DiCarlo for its Osé sex toy. The CTA later reversed its decision after significant backlash, and the following year made a point of creating an entire section dedicated to sex tech on the show floor. Sex tech’s presence at the show in the years since has waxed and waned, especially during the virtual years. But all anyone in the sex tech industry was asking for was to be treated like any other tech company. At least at Ohdoki’s booth, that felt broadly true.