Robotic Dildo Stripped of Award at CES Raises Questions About Gender Bias

CES organizers stripped the robotic dildo of its innovation award.

Controversy has engulfed the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas after a robot dildo was stripped of its innovation award. CES even went as far as to prohibit the dildo’s company from exhibiting its product. 

The Osé personal massager is the first product from sex tech company Lora DiCarlo, it was initially selected as the winner of the CES 2019 Innovation Awards in the robotics and drone product category.

However, according to the company's CEO, Lora Haddock, a month after being informed of the win, CES rescinded the award and then banned the company from displaying the product at the event. 

World's first hands-free robotic dildo

The Osé personal massager is described by Haddock as the world's first ‘hands-free device for the holy grail of orgasms — the blended orgasm.’ The robotic dildo ‘ mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, for an experience that feels just like a real partner. The product even adjusts to each body's unique physiology for a personal fit that hits all the right spots, leaving the hands free for better uses.’ 

CES have not been able to respond clearly to the claims. Initially, LoraDiCarlo was told that the award was retracted due to an infringment of this rule:

“Entries deemed by CTA in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified. CTA reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any entry at any time which, in CTA’s opinion, endangers the safety or well being of any person, or fails to comply with these Official Rules.” 

CES can't explain the reason for removal of award

While it makes sense for CES to reserve the right to change their mind,  inciting that a dildo intended for use by women is somehow immoral doesn’t reflect very well at all.

It is also important to note that CES has a history of showing sex toys and dolls as part of their annual exhibition. 

So clearly CES isn’t squeamish about sex. Unfortunately, this decision by CES officials brings out some questions about gender bias.

In an open letter written by Haddock on the company website, she describes a letter from Gary Shapiro (CTA president and CEO) and Karen Chupka (Executive VP) that claims the dildo was actually ineligible for the Robotics and Drone category which is why the award was stripped.

Award controversy reveals deep gender bias

This is despite the fact the product was designed by a team of world-class robotics engineers and has eight pending patents for robotics, biomimicry, and engineering feats.

Innovation

Has CES Finally Fixed its Diversity Problem?

The Osé personal massager is a product made by women for women. It’s exclusion from the awards and banned from an exhibition created controversy around the male-centricity of the tech industry. 

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CES have made attempts to level the playing field with an increased number of female speakers on panels this year but this incident might cause some people to question their sincerity.

Haddock said it was important to call CTA out because “these biases smother innovation by blocking access to funding, exposure, and consumers that could take brands and products to the next level."

“You never know how technology can be used, the future of healthcare might well be in the patent for a sex toy,” she wrote. “But if CES and CTA are so intent on keeping women and sex tech out, we’ll never find out.”

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