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Sex Toy Stripped of CES 2019 Award Because Vaginas

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Sex tech made great strides at the Consumer Electronics Show … until it didn’t.

Pleasure product start-up Lora DiCarlo was selected as a CES 2019 Innovation Awards honoree in the robotics and drone category for its Osé “personal massager.”

It uses micro-robotics to provide “blended orgasms”—a combination of the two different ways women can climax.

“We’re doing something that has never been done before,” company founder and CEO Lora Haddock wrote in a statement. “We’re making the world’s first hands-free device for the holy grail of orgasms.”

Vetted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA, which owns and produces the annual CES event) and a panel of independent judges, Osé joined a handful of other award-winning inventions.

“This feather in our collective cap made years of research and engineering even more worthwhile and further validated our vision for creating innovative, inclusive products that change lives,” Haddock said.

The almost exclusively female team rejoiced, celebrating their win and looking toward a future of envelope-pushing ideas. For a little while.

A month later, Lora DiCarlo was “unexpectedly informed” that CTA was rescinding the award—as well as the firm’s invitation to CES 2019.

Administrators initially cited a certain rule, saying entries deemed to be “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane, or not keeping with” the organization’s image will be disqualified.

As Haddock pointed out, not only does this imply that women’s sexual wellness products are somehow indecent or salacious, but it begs the question of how Osé made it past the first round of inspections by CTA staff.

(Which has, in the past, authorized the launch of a sex doll for men, among other sex toys, and welcomes a recurring VR porn exhibit that lets folks view erotica while consumers wander by.)

CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro and Executive Vice President Karen Chupka reportedly followed up with a memo stating that Lora DiCarlo’s product—designed with university robotics engineering labs and a team of engineers—was “actually ineligible” for the robotics and drone category.

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

In an open letter to Shapiro, et al., Haddock encouraged followers to share her words on social media using the hashtag #CESGenderBias.

Interested shoppers can also sign up for the Lora DiCarlo newsletter for updates on the fight for sexual equality and the Osé launch.

The Consumer Technology Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Jeff Bezos Shows Off ‘Nerdy’ Innovations at Annual Mars Conference

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Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, is hosting his annual Mars Conference again, an invite-only event that showcases many “nerdy” innovations, including flying robots, electric multicopters, and rocket engines.

The conference, which is taking place in Palm Springs, California this week, celebrates quirky technology in the sectors of machine learning, automation, robotics, and space (MARS), CNBC reported. The aim of the Mars Conference is to advance new technology ideas, enable attendees to engage with high-tech gadgets, and discuss how these four fields will impact the future.

This year, Bezos opened the Mars Conference by taking “my new dog,” Boston Dynamics’ latest electric quadruped SpotMini robot dog, out for a quick stroll on the grounds, TechCrunch noted.

However, this wasn’t all: The Mars Conference, which doesn’t allow press in, only gives fans a sneak peek of what’s happening via tweets. Attendees shared some cool insights from the invite-only event on Twitter.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill discussed robot sidekicks.

Bezos went for a ride in Hexa’s electric, single-passenger multicoptor.

Attendees experienced an “out of this world” feeling with NASA’s Orion spacecraft simulator.

Meet Centauro, the robot that can be your next yoga buddy.

Blue Origin’s massive rocket engine was on display outside.

Even though the “secret” Mars Conference is in session, it will be interesting to see which “geeky” devices will be advancing machine learning, automation, robotics, and space in coming years.

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World’s First 5G-Powered Remote Brain Surgery Performed in China

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A surgeon in China has performed the world’s first remote brain surgery using 5G technology while the patient was more than 1,800 miles away, according to local media.

The patient, who has Parkinson’s disease, received a deep brain stimulation (DBD) implant in Beijing on Saturday during a procedure that last three hours, Chinese state-run CGTN reported.

The surgeon, Dr. Ling Zhipei, manipulated the instruments in Beijing from Sanya City, in Hainan, located about 1,864 miles (3,000 kilometers) away, with a computer using a 5G network powered by China Mobile and Huawei.

“I take turns working in Beijing and Hainan, and the operation took place during my Hainan rotation. A patient with Parkinson’s in Beijing needed surgery and couldn’t fly to Hainan,” Ling told CGTN. “The 5G network has solved problems like video lag and remote control delay experienced under the 4G network, ensuring a nearly real-time operation. And you barely feel that the patient is 3,000 kilometers away.”

The patient is reportedly “feeling good.”

The landmark surgery is a big step toward surgeons from premier hospitals conducting more remote surgeries on patients located in far-flung areas or in disaster situations, and completing operations which were previously difficult to finish at the grassroots-level hospitals, said Ling.

In January, China also performed the first 5G remote surgery. It was, however, on a laboratory animal, and involved removing the animal’s liver, which was completed successfully.

The big advantage of using a 5G network for remote surgery is the reduced latency it offers, according to PCMag. The lower the latency, the more responsive the surgery robot will be to the surgeon’s actions tens or hundreds of miles away.

It then reduces the chances of mistakes being made and allows the surgeon to work as if they are actually present in the same room — or as Ling described “barely feel that the patient is 3,000 kilometers away.”

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World’s First Genderless Voice Assistant Needs Your Help

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Voice assistants have a gender problem.

Whether Siri is reciting a recipe, Alexa is describing the weather, or Cortana is outlining your schedule, artificial intelligence is everyone’s Girl Friday.

But that may soon change.

Meet Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant.

“Think of me like Siri or Alexa, but neither male nor female,” the disembodied voice said.

Developed to end gender bias in AI assistants, Q was recorded by non-binary people, then altered to fall into the gender neutral sound parameters of 145 Hz to 175 Hz—a range defined by audio researchers.

“I’m created for a future where we are no longer defined by gender, but rather how we define ourselves,” according to Q.

[embedded content]

It’s no coincidence that most voice assistants are given female names and inflections. Several studies suggest that while folks favor a man’s voice when the situation calls for authority, they prefer a female voice when in need of assistance.

“Technology companies often choose to gender technology, believing it will make people more comfortable adopting it,” the Q website said. “Unfortunately, this reinforces a binary perception of gender, and perpetuates stereotypes that many have fought hard to progress.

“As society continues to break down the gender binary, recognizing those who neither identify as male nor female, the technology we create should follow,” it continued, citing Q as an “example of what we hope the future holds.”

“A future of ideas, inclusion, positions, and diverse representation in technology,” the makers wrote.

Before we can celebrate that future, though, Q needs your help in the present.

“For me to become a third option for voice assistants,” the online recording said, “I need [you to] share my voice with Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. And together we can ensure that technology recognizes us all.”

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