Tech Bytes: Still Single? Here's Why

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 17 February 2014
Category: Features Comments View Comments


Sexual performance tracking, plotting sexcapades on a map, chastity bras - the world's obviously drunk on the 21st century's technologies and has gone mad! If you've been a little too eager with your apps and hardware (so to speak) here are some of the reasons why you may still be single.

Two years ago we wrote about how technology is being used to bring people who are physically separated by distance closer together. Unfortunately technology is also being used in ways that will perturb some of us, horrify more of us, and delight the rest (narcissists, naturally).

With Valentine's Day having once again come and (mercifully) gone, you may be feeling that you need to take stock of your life. We're here to help. If you've ever tried to engage anyone in any of the following conversations there's a good reason why you may still be single.

"Let's Fall In Love."*
Tech Bytes: Still Single? Here's Why - Ravijour chastity bra*"(Because I'm a bit trapped in this bra right now and need help.)"

It's a great song and a wonderful concept but sometimes ideas go very awry, usually courtesy of mad scientists. News of an absolutely absurd piece of hardware, a chastity bra, manifested online last month, courtesy of Japan (most frightening phrase ever). We can't even make jokes about it because they've all been done to death but the product is so bizarre that it deserved a mention to kick off this roundup.

The bra was developed by Japanese lingerie brand Ravijour and works via Bluetooth (a danger in itself) that talks to an app (naturally). When you encounter that someone truly special the brain activates a chemical called catecholamine, which increases your heart rate to a specific level - for the purposes of this technology, it's been named the True Love Rate. The bra constantly monitors and sends your heart rate to the app and when the rate hits the True Love Rate the app tells the bra to release.

Simple, supposedly.

Also, weird and unnecessarily complicated.

Unfortunately, in South Africa you're more likely to experience an elevated heart rate running from a mugger than accidentally stumbling upon The One although, if the bra's researchers are to believed, "jogging" and "watching horror movie" (about the most comparable scenarios from the chart - there's a "science" chart - when combined) have heart rates that are too high and low, respectively.

YouTube link

(By the way, there's no mention of how you get the bra off if you never find your true love, so buyers beware.)

Ravijour Chastity Bra: Official Site

"Let's Cruise For Sex With An App*."
Tech Bytes: Still Single? Here's Why - PureHook-up apps such as Grindr and Whisper have been around for a while but they have been offputting for women due to the spammy, horny, misogynistic men who use them. In turn, the very unsubtle apps Bang With Friends (in which users could find nearby hookups using Facebook) and Bang With Professionals (ditto, via LinkedIn) debuted last year ...with a bang... and then went out with a whimper (obligatory bad joke). Bang With Friends is actually still around, now under the name Down, but its heyday is likely over. "Down" isn't quite as catchy a word as "Bang" for the kinds of people who flock to these sorts of apps.

All the drama hasn't stopped more enterprising individuals from developing gentler apps, however, that they hope will appeal to women.

Pure, an "instant companion finder", is one such product. Its founders, Roman Sidorenko and Alexander Kukhtenko, seem to be of the philosophy that sexuality might be fluid and that no one person can be everything for someone else, which are progressive ideas that resonate with many people. Unfortunately, the result is what appears to be just another hook-up app that gives users the choice to "explore and enjoy"*.

*("And solve our relationship problems", if the (slightly NSFW) "arty" short film - that manages to toss in a "lesbian" sidequest - is to be believed.)

YouTube link

Your mileage may vary.

Pure: Official Site
Shop online Get The App: iTunes App Store, iTunes App Store US, iTunes App Store ZA, (Google Play pending)

"Let's Plot Our Sexcapades On A Public Map."
Tech Bytes: Still Single? Here's Why - Pacific NorthwestThe Pacific Northwest is a strange part of North America. If you've ever been to Vancouver, Seattle, or Portland you'll understand. There are forests, volcanoes, hippies, and liberal political views (here and there) so it's no surprise that a few years ago Planned Parenthood Of The Great Northwest launched Where Did You Wear It: an interactive safe-sex/planned parenthood awareness campaign.

You can probably see where this is going.

No matter where you are in the world, if you've been lucky in love, or "love" if it was a Whisper/Grindr/Pure/Down/Bang encounter, and are a responsible practitioner of safe sex, you are invited to "check in" a recent sexcapade on the web site to tell the rest of the planet both that you were responsible (hopefully) and how it went.

The check-in process uses a simple form to allow you to include gender, age, and relationship info, as well as the approximate address of the encounter. You then input your reason for using condoms, an evaluation of the sex (anything from rainbows and trembling mountains to optimistic hopes of improvement), and where you wore it (as in, where you did the deed, not where on your body you wore the condom because that would require a whole other web site).

Once that's done you submit your encounter and it gets added to a map of the planet, which anyone can peruse.

Overshare haven or voyeur heaven? You decide.

Tech Bytes: Still Single? Here's Why - Cape Town

Where Did You Wear It: Official Site, view the map here, or check in an encounter here

PS: Very Strange Things are happening in Touws River (that's east of Cape Town, just off the N1 highway).

"Let's Improve Our Sex Life Through Performance Tracking."
Tech Bytes: Still Single? Here's Why - SpreadsheetsIf you're plotting your sexcapades on a map then performance tracking may be the logical next statistic-filled step in your mission to up your game (or, possibly, get game if the promotional video is to be believed).

Enter: Spreadsheets (yes, really), an iOS app that offers "quantified self tracking for couples to improve intimacy" and which has been a hit since its launch in August 2013. In fact, in that month it was the featured lifestyle app in the iTunes App Store in both South Africa and Qatar. Such is the power of gamification

Why, you ask? This app isn't about passively collating information after the fact - you run it while you're doing the deed so that your iPhone can measure data such as thrusts and audio using its accelerometer and microphone. It'll also log duration, and input dates and times on a calendar, and offer you both a record board and achievements to unlock.

According to the explanatory video, however, clueless men all over the world actually need Spreadsheets because they're missing a barrage of overt signals from their girlfriends.

If that's really true, we're pretty sure an app's not going to solve that problem.

YouTube link

Spreadsheets: Official Site, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Shop online Get The App: iTunes App Store, iTunes App Store US, iTunes App Store ZA

"Let's Have Sex With Google Glass (On)."
Tech Bytes: Still Single? Here's Why - GlanceWe've saved the best - or worst (depends on your predilections, really) - for last and it's the ultimate in narcissism: watching yourself have sex from your partner's perspective.

Google Glass is at the centre of it, of course. You and your partner will each wear Google Glass and the Glance app "will stream what you see to each other". That version isn't out yet but a version for iOS, which was released at the end of January, captures two videos and lets you watch them side by side so that you can watch two perspectives of the same moment at the same time.

This project was created by Satara Achille, Sherif Maktabi and Sabba Keynejad in London last year as part of a hackathon experiment and has been revised based on feedback. The experiment was specifically concerned with exploring Google Glass and intimacy, hence this result, but it will be interesting to see what people do with the technology once it's available. Usually technology starts off innocuously and then somehow eventually gets subverted for sex - in this case the opposite is very likely to happen.

We're looking forward to that rather than a likely unflattering perspective of ourselves that, once seen, cannot be unseen - even if the Glance developers promise that they don't save the video.

Glance: Official Site
Shop online Get The App: iTunes App Store, iTunes App Store US, iTunes App Store ZA

PS: If you completely stuffed up Valentine's Day this year, here are some suggestions from last year to help you out of your jam. Just make sure you've got a good excuse to go with your plan or you may find yourself newly single - and we won't need to tell you why.

Tags: #cape_town #lgbti, #portland, #technology

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