Last week the University of Denver students gave their final presentation on the Bionic Deluxe*, a touch sensing, electronically actuated penile prosthetic that aims to mimic the human penis as closely as possible.
Though still far from a completed prototype, they have made some amazing progress. I can’t give tooo much away on exact specifics, but what I can tell you, is that we now definitely have a solid proof of concept for the following elements:
A touch sensitive shaft that relays signals to the unit to actuate an erection when stimulated and also gives responsive feedback to the vibe at the base of the shaft when stroked and during penetration.
A hand-held or wrist mounted remote controller that actuates an erection through a simple up/down button push. This remote controller can either be strapped to the index finger and middle finger and operated with the thumb, or the strap can be switched out for a wrist strap and it can be worn like a regular watch.
We are also still wanting to incorporate a heart rate monitor response system, much like a fitness tracker, where an elevated heart rate would actuate an erection. However this will be through integrating an existing device such as an Apple Watch to speak to the Bionic via a custom app and would require a separate purchase of such an item to utilise this functionality. This would then essentially replace the custom device.
Then we also have a functional insertable controller, the size and shape of a tampon, that reads pelvic floor contractions and relays this information to the unit to actuate an erection and shift intensity settings on the vibe. This is essentially the same thing as the hand-held remote but rather than pushing an up and down button using your hand, it recognizes one pelvic floor squeeze as up and two squeezes within a four second period as down. There are definitely still a lot of noise and interference issues to be worked out and it’s not a hundred percent certain that we will be able to program it to ensure it’s not reading false positives, but I’m still very hopeful that with further refinement and programming this is achievable.
We’ve also found a bluetooth/wifi chip and rechargeable battery that are all small enough to be able to be contained in two average sized testicles. The battery is capable of powering the unit for a minimum of two hours with all functions operational ie vibe on, touch sensors on, erectile activation on.
The majority of the time, the unit will be dormant, ie the master switch will be OFF. This means it consumes no power at all, but still functions as a stand to pee packer. Only once the master switch is turned ON, does the unit start to “listen” for input signals. This master switch can be very discretely accessed on the side of the pubic plate by sliding a hand into a pant pocket.
The biggest question mark actually lingers around the erectile activation. The current solution is to use micro CO2 cartridges like the one below.
This cartridge is loaded into a small puncture canister with an electronic switch that allows the air in the pressurised cartridge to slowly release into the shaft when actuated, until a full erection is achieved. However the big down side to this is that the cartridge needs to be changed between uses, seeing each cartridge only contains a small amount of air.
I’d still really LOVE to be able to find an alternative solution to this pneumatic system, like a material that expands and hardens when a small electric current or magnet is applied, but alas, no such thing seems to currently be in existence… If anyone out there has any ideas on alternatives to a pneumatic or hydraulic system, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! All electro active systems that we explored unfortunately required very high amounts of current to actuate.
Finally, as far as the attachment system goes, this is something we’re leaving with Cochlea. We know penile prosthetics have been successfully attached in the past using their Vistafix system and this can be incorporated into the Bionic Deluxe as an optional feature through an integration plate.
But the long and short of it, is that with this being such an ambitious project, it’s going to still take quite some time to get to a finished product. I will submit this as a university project again this year, so that a new group of students can pick up where this group left off and I’m confident that with further refinement, this product CAN become a reality.
Like with any ambitious project, it’s all a case of dedication, time, resources and money. In light of being fairly tight on the later two, this project is just going to need more time to complete, but as we have plenty of dedication, we WILL eventually get there!
And finally, thank you so much to all of you who have donated to this project so far! We couldn’t have come this far without you!
To donate to stage 2, use the button below. Then please spread your donation link far and wide!
…and yes that does say WIN! Raise more than $1000 by spreading the word and you WIN any existing Transthetics product of your choice as a thank you!*
*After you donate, you will be issued a unique URL to share in your social circle. Anyone who donates through your URL will count towards your total fundraising tally.