LAS VEGAS—RealTouch wants to bring teledildonics to Afghanistan. Company manager Scott Rinaldo, appearing at a CES party sponsored by porn firm Pink Visual, said he's working on distributing "a thousand dildos for the military wives"—in this case, Internet-connected sex toys that can let families thousands of miles apart get intimate.
I'm not sure if he's being skeezy or sweet here. Let me start with the technology. RealTouch is a slightly terrifying, synthetic orifice that lives in a plastic tube and connects to a computer.
Based on data from an Internet connection, the unit warms up, lubes up, pulses and grips any item stuck into it. On the other end of a connection, a "performer"—who could be a paid "cam girl," or the aforementioned military wife—hand-operates a sensor-covered rod to run the motors in the RealTouch.
I really hope I didn't just freak out anyone reading this story.
Rinaldo's core audience, at least so far, is men who buy his device to sync it with porn videos in the privacy of their own homes. But Rinaldo sees a genuine social benefit in his tech, so he said he's trying to get in touch with the U.S. military to have RealTouch approved as a method for a sort of virtual conjugal visit. (Presumably, female soldiers could operate the rod while deployed and send the main unit home.) Given the lack of privacy on military bases, I'm not sure how that would work, exactly. But it's a thought.
RealTouch is the latest stab at teledildonics, the science of remote-controlled sex. The term was coined in 1975 by a science-fiction author, according to Wikipedia. The gadget's appearance here at CES was part of a sex-tech party organized by Pink Visual, a porn company which specializes in technology-forward content delivery.
As an intrepid reporter, I stuck my finger into a RealTouch unit while performer Kirsten Price hand-rubbed a nearby, Internet-connected dildo. The sensation was very strange; what felt like a whirring, rotating, feathery object made of a moist latex-like material was almost polishing my finger. Afterwards, my finger smelled like lube. I'm not going to judge.