The new i.Con “smart condom” from British Condoms has been creating quite a buzz as of late. And it’s not shocking that it is because its makers claim that it is the first of its kind to tell men just how well (or how poorly) they’re doing in bed. But is it really worth the hype? Some skeptics have spoken out and opined that it may be more of an overpriced gimmick than anything else.
For a brief backgrounder on the i.Con, the Huffington Post reported yesterday that it is a condom ring that promises to be the “World’s First Smart Condom,” as well as the “future of wearable technology in the bedroom.” As such, it is more of a device, a ring that can be used together with an ordinary condom during sexual intercourse. But unlike those rings mainly designed to increase sexual pleasure, the i.Con supposedly does much more than that, tracking all sorts of intercourse-related stats, including speed, duration, skin temperature, average thrust velocity, girth, and even the number of calories burned.
These stats are tracked through a companion app, and making things even more interesting, the i.Con mobile app comes with leaderboards of sorts, much like mobile games often do. These allow men to see how they compare with average and “best” performers per stat, and likewise, their partners can also view this information. Additionally, British Condoms claims that the i.Con should be able to “sense” sexually transmitted infections – a separate report from Mashable notes that this feature is still in the final stages of testing.
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) March 2, 2017
That’s a lot of features for a “smart” condom ring, but some believe that it might not be all that it’s cracked up to be and that it comes with a lot of unanswered questions. According to Business Insider, the “Fitbit of fornicating,” as writer Melia Robinson calls it, is “more like a gimmick than a useful tool,” and has a fair amount of potential issues, on top of its rather premium list price of $74.
One of the main issues is the lack of photos of the smart condom, which leaves one to wonder whether it will be comfortable, may it be for the male user or his sexual partner. Robinson added that the connected condom ring doesn’t address certain pitfalls, such as the possibility of condom breakage or the lack of information on whether it improves sexual pleasure or not – sure, the device can track a good number of stats, but does it actually help men improve on those stats?
Here's A 'Smart Condom Ring' That Tries To Track Your Sexual Performance https://t.co/0p2Ew8ucYf
— سلطان الشعالي (@SultanAlshaali) March 3, 2017
Another potential catch relates to one of the i.Con’s most important features – the ability to detect STIs, chlamydia and syphilis included. Business Insider’s Robinson said that British Condoms made no mention of how its device will be doing this, while Forbes wrote that the smart condom ring shouldn’t be used as an alternative to medical testing as a means to detect STIs.
The Forbes report also stated a few other issues – one, the lack of scientific testing, and two, the potential accuracy, or lack thereof, of the figures i.Con users can compare their own stats to.
“Such anonymous stats will also heavily depend on how many people are actually using the device and whether the measurements are accurate. Someone putting the device on a dog’s nose may generate some interesting but also misleading data.”
Talking about the supposed anonymity users can enjoy with the i.Con smart condom ring, Forbes‘ Bruce Y. Lee questioned the usefulness of the feature where users can also opt to share their stats with other people.
“Do you want your buddy to send you the following text: ‘Hey, here’s the score of the Ravens versus Steelers game, the directions to the party, and, by the way, here is some more information…’?”
At the moment, the i.Con smart condom ring is not available for purchase, but British Condoms has a pre-registration page where users can get email updates on when the product will be released. The device is scheduled to be released later this year, though an exact timeframe has yet to be announced.
[Featured Image by CatLane/iStock]