CES, the annual conference showcasing the cutting-edge in consumer tech, is facing allegations of gender-bias after revoking a reward from a women-led sex toy company, and banning it from exhibiting. the banned sex toy in question is a hands-free device developed by an almost entirely female team of engineers using micro-robotic technology that mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, for an experience that feels just like a real partner.

 

according to the company’s founder, lora haddock, the osé robotic massager won the ‘honoree’ designation in the robotics and drones category of the CES innovation awards. my team rejoiced and celebrated,’ haddock wrote in an open letter on the company’s website. ‘a month later our excitement and preparations were cut short.’

 

the organization behind the annual las vegas-based trade show apparently told the company that its product didn’t comply with the rules. the show and award’s organizer, the consumer technology association, allegedly cited rules saying products that are ‘immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.’ the show has previously spotlighted male-focused sex tech, most notoriously the AI-powered sex dolls.

CES banned this robotic sex toy from show after rewarding it for innovation

images courtesy of lora dicarlo

 

 

the administrators then backtracked and said the product simply didn’t fit in the robotics and drones category. in her open letter, haddock calls this an ‘insulting and frankly ridiculous assertion’ noting that her team of engineers designed the osé in partnership with oregon state university, whose robotics lab is ranked as one of the best in the nation.

 

CES has come under fire before for its failure to represent women, in particular for its condoning the use of booth babes. as reported by the verge, female guest numbers a very few with just one-fifth of 2018’s attendees were women. in the last few years keynote speakers have rarely been female, although CES did add two in 2018 after criticism.

 

CTA spokesperson sarah brown said in an email that the award was revoked because ‘the product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the innovation awards program.’ brown cites the same problem as to why it wasn’t allowed to exhibit, telling techcrunch that the company isn’t allowed to exhibit ‘because they don’t fit a product category.’

  • This is a shame – everyone knows sex sells and discluding this device only serves to marginalize the CE industry. Advances in robotics could well follow the example many years ago when Beta and VHS were battling for supremacy – the fledgling porn industry adopted VHS and the rest is history. Sex can be a powerful marketing vehicle and this, as sex sans the sordidness of porn, is benign and could actually be described as tasteful.

    dbkii says:
  • on the other hand, look at the press it has garnered already

    dbkii says:
  • Looks likes CES couldn’t get their hands on this one
    Or maybe it was out of reach
    I’m sure they didn’t get any pleasure from it

    Charlie says:
  • What a ridiculous joke…an exhibition about technical innovations refuses a new product because it doesn’t fit into any existing category. What a lough. This explanation is reason enough to get the administrators fired.

    Dirk says:

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