Screenshot via YouTube

This Thought-Controlled Sex Toy Lets You Masturbate With Your Mind

Brian Sloan's latest version of the Autoblow uses EEG to enter the mind of the masturbator.

A little over four months ago, inventor Brian Sloan secured a patent for “control of sexual stimulation devices using electroencephalography.” Across 49 pages, including 31 charts, graphs, and illustrations, the filing plots out how a person could use their thoughts to move a sex toy with their mind. 

Sloan is the inventor of the Autoblow, a mechanical masturbation sleeve that’s been through multiple iterations over the last 15 years. The first Autoblow, launched in 2008, was “kind of an embarrassing product,” he told Men’s Health, but in 2014, he successfully crowdfunded its successor, the Autoblow 2, which went viral and the attention even crashed his site


A year ago, I spent an afternoon ramming overripe fruit into the Autoblow AI+, a voice-command enabled version of the Autoblow AI. A year before that, Sloan introduced the Automoblow, an accessory arm that extends from a car’s cupholder to jerk off the driver. In 2018, he released “the Blowjob Paper,” for which he enlisted a man in Serbia and his friends to watch and annotate 108 hours of fellatio and create a dataset that matches a porn performer’s bobbing cadence. There are few places for Sloan to go from here, except straight into the mind of man.

Sloan, who at this point I’m comfortable calling the Dr. Frankenstein of mechanical sex toys, enlisted a brain-computer interface research group to develop a prototype that would bring his patent for the brain-controlled Autoblow to life. The researchers are unnamed and declined to tell me their affiliation, “due to potential negative career impacts based on the sexual nature of the commissioned work,” they write in the paper.

Unlike previous Autoblows, I couldn’t test the brain-controlled version myself. So I spoke to one of the researchers in a video call (who kept their camera off). They told me that Sloan reached out to a group they’re part of in the neuroscience space. I asked if they knew it was a sex toy they’d be working on at that point. “Oh yeah. By the name,” they said. “His email address... we had our sneaking suspicions.”  


From pitch to prototype, the researcher said it took the team about three months to be able to move the machine with a mind. To create the prototype, they studied the hardware, then created machine learning classifiers to map to the machine’s functions by collecting hours’ worth of data from a human participant’s brain waves. Because everyone’s brains are different, every mind-controlled Autoblow would have to be custom-trained for each user. 

autoblow patent image

The researchers mapped what the brain does when thinking about movements of arms and legs to different Autoblow modes. “We would load in the model for the particular user. Then we would feed ongoing snippets of brain data while the user was either imagining one of those four extremities moving or not,” they said. Being able to classify that intention in real time means the user can control the device’s modes—starting, speeding up, slowing down, finishing—by thinking about moving the corresponding limb. 

As with previous versions of the Autoblow, I wondered how someone wearing a dozen wired electrodes on their scalp would be able to focus intently enough on moving the device to jerk off with it. “The device is not particularly comfortable,” the researcher told me.  

Sloan said that the EEG headset used in this prototype was uncomfortable but accessible to the research team because it was inexpensive. Research-grade headsets can cost tens of thousands of dollars. “Our researchers actually had access to a more expensive kit but they were afraid to ask their university to use it for fear of some type of retribution by the university,” Sloan said. “Anyways, over time like all technology, prices of these headsets will decrease or they could become implantable like Neuralink, eliminating the need for them and opening up a huge market for sexual uses.” 


Consumer-level headsets like the ones made by Emotiv can be more comfortable and less pricey, but still require some technical skill to set up. People are reluctant to put on virtual reality headsets even after a decade of development, so asking people to wear something on their heads while a different robot goes to town on their meat might seem like a reach. 

“As for whether I see it as a consumer option, I think headsets like those from Emotiv are one pathway, but only for BCI hobbyists as it’s still technical to implement,” Sloan said. “A more definite pathway is an implant like Elon Musk's Neuralink. At first, control of sexual devices will only be possible when people get a BCI implant for a medical reason, but if they are shown to be safe and if they are ever approved for non-medically necessary purposes, people will 100% be using them to control their sex toys.” Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain implant company, recently received FDA approval for human clinical trials. 

A sex toy that can read your mind is probably not going to be available for purchase any time soon. But brain-computer interfaces are becoming more ubiquitous, the anonymous researcher told me—especially embedded ones. “We are converging on that probably more quickly than people would expect,” they said. “And with commercial devices for neuroimaging that are external getting better and more accessibly priced, I think it's certainly feasible.” 

And as we know, nothing pushes science and technology forward like the compulsion to jerk off in new and exciting ways.