I've been digitally pontificating about sex and technology since 2004. During that time, I've noticed a recurring call for a unified protocol for controlling sex tech hardware. This would give developer a generic stream of data that could define certain properties of a playback or communication situation.
For instance, imagine a movie that has abstract data embedded in it about pressure, speed, friction, and other metrics needed to replicate the physical situation being portrayed. Toys that translate this data already exist, but movies usually have to be encoded for a specific toy. That toy may not work for all users, due to physical differences, likes, dislikes, etc. What if we could make the data abstract enough to work with any toy? Could we take that beyond movies too, so that other interactive experiences such as games could harness whatever hardware the user enjoyed most?
Every time this idea was mentioned, I've argued against it, due to the amount of permutations it would have to encompass. Some toys vibrate, some use friction, some use direction electrical stimulation of nerves, some are one-offs beyond my knowledge and/or imagination. How could we possibly make a decent mapping of all of the data in one protocol without bloating into ridiculousness?
I never asked was "is it worth it to even try?". Every time the subject came up, I just blew it off.
Lately, I've realized that the core system of this idea would actually be fairly simple. A simple routing core that client applications could converse with, allowing them to control toys, and receive data from sensors in those toys. That's it. This is a workflow that comes up constantly in other fields (examples include VRPN, OSCulator, FreePIE, etc), so why not try doing it for sex toys?
Buttplug is an application that will allow developers to quickly and easily control or read data from as many different sex hardware products as we can support. It will have IPC built in over both local TCP and websockets, so that ideas for control and interactiveity can be prototyped as either native applications or web apps. It should be embeddable, so that it can be linked into larger interactive applications like games and VR experiences, allowing developers to integrate intimate haptics via a safe, simple process. All of these features, as well as design considerations and development processes, will be outlined here in upcoming blog posts.
Buttplug may be my magnum opus, the culmination of over a decade of sex tech research. It may also be a dismal failure that ends up a bitrotted artifact floating around the net. No matter the outcome, it's worth a shot.