The future of relationships
At Witsense we love challenges, unexplored paths make our life … more exciting! That’s why we enter in a new chapter called Lovewear, which is a smart underwear that helps people of all abilities to self-explore and enhances their own intimacy and sexuality. Inflatable inserts will activate in the underwear when a connected pillow receives pressure through a hug. The project sees the collaboration with Wear It Berlin, Fraunhofer and Empa thanks to the Re-FREAM program.
Unsurprisingly Lovewear opened up a totally unknown world to us!
One of the first activities besides the exploration of the literature on sexuality and disability has been the interview with Max Ulivieri, activist for the rights of people with disabilities and founder of LoveGiver – NGO that promotes the surrogate partners ‘practice in Italy. (www.lovegiver.it) On their website you can find a short movie called “Il tempo del Desiderio” (The Time of Desire); unfortunately, it’s in Italian but it’s easy to follow the story and engage with the contents: Giovanni, twenty-six years old, is affected by spastic quadriparesis, he moves on a wheelchair and can’t talk. Despite all limits and difficulties, he tries to have a ‘normal’ life. Art is his passion and he paints with a brush fixed on a cycling helmet. During a class, he observes the model he has to portray and he dreams about having a love affair with her. Giovanni knows nothing about love. He never had an emotional experience, an intimate or sexual relationship.
We have been learning a lot from Max’s words; during our chat, he asked us to point out that Lovewear does not replace human contact! And we strongly believe it!
We are involving Max and his organization in the development of the project and the testing.
On another perspective, to understand the use, mechanism, interaction and functionality of sex toys, we mapped a variety of products; this helps us defining some directions and technicalities to apply to our products. Still, we want to point out that the aim of our research and practice is not about the sexual enjoinment but rather the dignity of the person promoting independence and self-fulfilment for all. Nevertheless, we have some very interesting insights into the market now!
Things got even more interesting when we started to learn about teledildonics, haptic bodysuits and gynoids!
It’s interesting to see how technology is changing the way how we interact and develop relationships. The followings are a few of the findings that sparkle curiosity from our perspective.
If you’re still wondering, a gynoid is anything that resembles the female human form; often referred to as fembot, a feminine humanoid robot. Though the term android refers to robotic humanoids regardless of apparent gender, the Greek prefix “andr-” refers to man in the masculine gendered sense.
After Barcelona, Moscow and Turin, LumiDolls the brand of sex dolls, opens its fourth “houses for appointments” in Nagoya, Japan.
Maurizio Balistreri, researcher of moral philosophy at the University of Turin, in his book “Sex Robot. Love at the time of machines”, speaks about love with humanoids in depth. Balistreri explain all ethical and moral questions of the sex of the future without taboos; many questions are raised: what’s love if our sexual relations are consummated with a machine? Which will be the effect on the world of sex workers? Will sex robots increase or decrease sexual violence? In Balistreri opinion, sex tech scares us with its new approach but with the time we’ll become familiar with it. Nevertheless, it will bring a positive impact on many aspects of our lives.
There’s a very interesting report on the future of sex on www.futureofsex.net; it’s founders Jenna Owsianik, Ross Dawson and Bryony Cole predict that in the near future, people suffering from loneliness or sexual dysfunction will use sex robots as aids to teach themselves about sex and to use for companionship.
We have many doubts about the role of androids in our sentiments, but we believe the fact that technology can support and improve the quality of our relationships!
The co-creation with Fraunhofer within Re-Fream is a great chance to explore further the potential of technology and creativity side by side! We are lucky enough to work with highly skilled scientists like Christian, Max, Robin and Tapani in their amazing facilities.
Experimenting with samples of lamination and ultrasound welding on fabric, miniaturized pumps and tubing, hands-on work in a super equipped Lab. We are testing patterns and inflatable structures to fully understand their dynamic behaviour and select the most beneficial feedback.