Body Hacks: Building An Open-Source, Theremin-Like Vibrator

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For your postprandial pleasure I present the an open-source vibrator that you (or your partner) can play like a theremin. The story of how it came to be is pretty amazing and involves FCC chip lookups, bit-tracing, and lots of assembly code. In short, it’s an amazing effort in DIY hardware hacking that serves the dual purpose of education and giving pleasure.

Built by Beth Scott and based on an off-the-shelf vibrator model called the Lyla, the device uses an Arduino board and sonic transducers to create an interactive, invisible cone of sound that you can move your hand through in order to control the vibrator. Writes Scott:

In fact, it does start to feel like there’s a palpable object in space above the remote’s sensors. Move your body close to it, and it reacts. Press into it lightly, or tease the edges. Flick your hand through it, or make graceful waves back and forth. You can use your whole body to touch it, almost like a big fuzzy vibrating cone floating in air.

Scott has included the plans she used to build the device as well as the 3D models for the case and battery holder. She used the aptly-named Anker battery case and programmed the firmware to interact with various body parts.

“There could be a lot more to electronic sex toys than just a battery and a motor. I want the future to be full of toys that know how to play,” wrote Scott. Amen.