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SXSW Interactive 2013

Open Source Sex Science and the PSIgasm Project

Our leading scientific institutions are failing to address sexuality with candor or rigor due to pressure from funding sources, journals, and cultural stigma. The resulting gaps in our collective understanding of human sexuality effect each of us, but are especially harmful to marginalized communities.

The PSIgasm Project is an open source hardware project aiming to create sophisticated, inexpensive DIY tools to record physiological data about the human sexual response. We cast custom silicone inserts embedded with sensors to monitor pressure, temperature, heat flow, and blood volume density. This data is streamed wirelessly to a computer and displayed in real time.

By taking the systematic investigation of sexuality out of academia and industry, we gain access to larger and more varied datasets and reduce our dependence on politically motivated funding sources. Crowd funding and DIY communities are now making this plausible on a large scale for the first time.

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  1. How is the scientific community discouraged from addressing some of the most important topics in sex and sexuality?
  2. What are the concrete effects of the gaps in our scientific understanding of sex on marginalized communities?
  3. Could a scientific community capable of addressing these shortcomings grow independently, outside of industry or academia?
  4. How do you make a sex toy that monitors your sexual response cycle and records your orgasm for under $200?
  5. What basic facts could we learn from this type of device about human sexuality that has never previously been recorded?



Ned Mayhem, Co-founder, Mayhem Multimedia

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: DIY, Hacker and Maker
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced
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