Sex at CES

Yes, there is still sex at CES, and yes, it is still controversial. I used to cover the Consumer Electronics Show every year for tech journals. That is a grueling job, where you walk literally miles of exhibit floors and talk to many more people than you can possibly remember. Then the adult show sort of slipped in, and I began covering it. This year I will only be covering the Adult Entertainment Expo. These shows along with Internext this month and you could spend an entire month in Vegas just covering shows and writing about sex.  My coverage here is based on the press releases and the reports of others who walked those many miles.

The problem with the exclusion of women and sexual harassment in tech has been gaining a lot of attention lately. It is so pervasive that many women are driven out of STEM studies where the boys club mentality makes them feel unwelcome and constantly under assault. CES did nothing to move the ball forward, with not a single woman keynote speaker.

The National Center for Women and Information Technology did a 2016 study and found that women held 57 percent of all professional occupations but only 25 percent of all computing jobs. For black, latina and Asian women, there numbers are barely a blip. That is not because of a lack of skill or desire. I have read many accounts how how hostile and sexually harassing this environment is, and of how many women get fed up and leave the entire IT industry. CES had promised there would be women speakers and totally failed. They need to do better next year. Of course, we say that every year, just like after the Oscars.

At science fiction and tech conventions and conferences, they are developing rules of conduct to decrease an ever growing problem with sexual harassment and even rape. The problem is very serious, where women attendees simply do not feel safe at these events. They are also not there to be constantly hit on. CES had said that it would develop rules of conduct, but again they failed. Fortunately, the show itself was less disappointing than the show management.

One of the most unique things on the floor was a new exhibitor called Psychasec. Inside display cases were standing attractive barely clothed male and female bodies, ready to slip your consciousness inside of. Inside the booth there were nude bodies sealed in bags with a lot of condensation on them, carefully arranged to not reveal the naughty bits. The booth was hosted by extremely attractive attendants. As with so many of the technologies shown at CES, this was not ready for market. You’ll have to wait around 300 years, which is the setting for the new Netflix series Altered Carbon. This is a product that will never ship (the same can be said about many things shown at CES), because the entire booth was a clever way to promote the new series. Everyone in the booth played it for real, and you could even touch the shrink wrapped bodies.

Ready to wear pre-made bodies at the Psychasec booth


We regularly cover VR on Sex in Review, and it was quite a surprise that Occulus did not have a booth. The HTC Vive was there with an interesting new entry. It is called the Vive Pro, and offers a resolution of 3K. That is mostly marketing to show it is better than the ones being promoted as full HD, which are not actually HD but 1080×1200. It has two OLED panels with 1440 x 1600 per display with a combined resolution of 2880 x 1600. That is a not insignificant resolution increase of 78 %. I still believe that 4k is the target we need to hit (and retinal resolution is 16k for absolutely realistic VR, but that is very far off). While not completely eliminating the screen door effect where the pixels are still visible, this does reduce it dramatically, making for a much more realistic view. How much better I do not know, as I have not had one on my face yet. It also has integrated audio. It also has dual passthrough camera sensors for AR. It should ship later this year.

Vive Pro

Pimax was also showing what they called their 8K headset, although technically it is a 4K headset. There is a bit of trickiness going on to get that resolution, and things get a bit technically complicated to explain, so we will hold off until next month to discuss that in Sex in Review.

Samsung did show off a 12 foot wide television. At that size you should be able to see everything life size. Imagine an orgy right in front of you. I still think VR is a better way to go, since the price has not been announced (probably just shy of a gazillion dollars), but you can’t walk into the scene.

Real Doll was showing off his latest sex doll technology in a private suite. What he was showing off was a realistic mechanical head with replaceable faces and swappable personalities. There is AI built-in and the tech is more impressive than I would have thought. Still, there is a long ways to go to get to what we think of as a sex robot. Even with a fully animated head you are still having sex with a quadriplegic. The head is supposed to ship at the end of January at a price point of about ten grand. She goes by the name Solana. She looks very Westworldish without her face on. The technology was developed by Matt McMullen, and you can learn more from their RealBotix site. I did not see them listed as an exhibitor at AEE, but either way we will write more about this once she ships.

The Solana head with replaceable faces

There were also pole dancing robots, but they were at the Sapphire Strip Club, not on the show floor. They were neither all that realistic or sexy, with a serious case of butter face. They were intended more as an art exhibit, the creation of British artist Giles Walker, created as a social commentary on British surveillance, and they have heads made from surveillance cameras (and the rest from mannequins and car parts).

Stripper Robots at the Sapphire Club

Project Artgasm was not a really a consumer product, but it was definitely unique. It is a promotion for the Lioness vibrator and uses data it captures to create animated art from actual orgasms. Check it out on their site.

Another not yet actually shipping (this is CES after all) is called LegalFling. It supposedly allows you to create a consensual contractual agreement for sex. It is under development and features are subject to change, and you can check it out on their site.

OhmiBod has been doing CES for the past eight years, even as almost all the other sex toy developers have moved on to the AEE show. According to Suki Dunham, OhMiBod founder: “Through our partnership with Kiiroo, we have created two of the world’s most sophisticated massagers. The technology underlying the Fuse and Esca massagers is the future of intimacy, unlocking new levels of interactivity—no matter where you are in the world.” OhMiBod’s Fuse is a dual-stimulating, touch-sensitive vibrator with first-of-its kind, bi-directional controls of the Fleshlight Launch (the male masturbator). This is the latest in remote sex, dubbed teledildonics many years ago when it was still a twinkle in technology’s eye.

Fuse and Esca

Next week, it is off to AEE, so we’ll have tons of new stuff to report on.