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This Man Wants to Implant a Vibrator into His Pubic Fat

The notorious DIY transhumanist Rich Lee refers to his latest project as the Lovetron9000. This summer, he hopes he can make the subdermal sexual modification a reality with his own body as the guinea pig.

Rich Lee is a pretty forward-thinking transhumanist. Most H+ folk, as they're sometimes known, dream of enhancing human life through technology, but their cybernetic hopes remain somewhere in the fuzzy fantasy of the future. Lee, however, is a part of a die-hard subculture known as biohackers or grinders who experiment with DIY body modifications. These implants or add-ons are known to many insiders by the mortifying term "wetware."

Lee came to prominence as a grinder in 2013 after implanting magnets into the cartilage nubs in front of his earholes that connected to a copper coil around his neck. These internal headphones pick up signals beyond human hearing. Now, he has his sights on augmenting his body for increased sexual pleasure. He wants to implant a vibrator into his pubic fat. The project, which he refers to as the Lovetron9000, is something he's been working on for five years. But this summer, he hopes he can finally realize his dream and implant the first ever subdermal sexual modification. In the text below, Lee lays out his vision for a transhumanist sex future. —Mark Hay


Photo of Rich Lee. Provided courtesy of Rich Lee


I really got into grinding and biohacking in 2008. My grandmother died. I remember at her funeral thinking, Maybe in a few years science would have developed an anti-aging device or something that would have saved her. She left me a bunch of magazines. They were like spam from the 50s through the 80s. A lot of them were science magazines. I was flipping through them, and they were making these outlandish promises like: In the year 1999, humans will be living to be 200, and there's going to be a 20-hour work week because of robots and all this shit... Futurists have been promising this stuff for years. So I took a hard look at the legal viability of augmentation that's not for a medical purpose, the likelihood of life extension, all of these different things that fit into my idea of the perfect future... It could happen, but no one is moving to do it. So the only way to get it done is to try to do it myself.

Before I did the magnets in the ears, I was trying to design this Lovetron9000 and other implants. The commonality [in my implant ideas] would be an upgraded experience to life. Extra functionality, augmented sensory perceptions—it all adds to the richness of human experience.

But I don't come from an engineering background. So everything I do has been self-learned, or advice from people on forums or professionals. It's been a learning process. And not a lot of people want to fund it. So I'm just going to go until I hit a wall or I can implant it.

I've got a good view of the future of sex. My hope is that once the Lovetron9000 is done, somebody will say, What other ideas do you have and can we do something that maybe doesn't have any commercial value but will be really fucking cool? Some that use modern technology—not sci-fi-stretches. I think I could make something that'd be really fucking mind-blowing.

I just thought [the Lovetron9000] was low-hanging fruit—it was going to be easy to do [as a gateway device]. But it turns out that those kind of violent vibrations in that area, there are a lot of different factors you have to take into consideration. It's a lot harder than I'd estimated.

The first prototype was made out of RadioShack electronic parts and ballpoint pens—a bunch of household items. The plan was to coat it in silicone and implant it. We'd already figured out methods to power it under the skin using induction. But the vibrations weren't enough. Then I had to up it, and I was like, Oh wait, this is too big. I needed a smaller motor. Then when I had it running for long periods of time I found that it had super fine chips of plastic breaking off and causing friction between [the vibrator] and the silicon layer. Then I had another prototype where I had leeching in the bio-coating that surrounded it, so it would've absorbed blood or different body fluids, which would have compromised the electronics. It's this evolution where I've got a lot of things that I've just trial-and-errored. I had one that just completely broke when my wife got on top of it. Lots of different setbacks. None of them were implant worthy.

I've got a design for one that I think will be implant worthy, hopefully in August. But I've said this before; I hate to put myself on a deadline.

A lot of people are completely disinterested in it. [But] a lot of people who are so enthused about it, they email me constantly. A lot of women have contacted me because they want their husbands to get it. That really surprised me because I've had other conversations with women who are like, So what, it's not that big of a deal to me. I thought if anything, I could see people getting it because it's a conversation piece. Your reputation would get around once you have it.


Cyborg tryst image by Lia Kantrowitz

This weekend, I'm working on [another sex device that's especially exciting], which is essentially a bunch of electrode pads that go on the lower back. They're going to isolate the sexual pleasure signals going into the spine and mute out signals from other stuff going on below. When you can isolate that, you can send it via Bluetooth to another device that has a vibration motor on it, or some other mechanism. So, if your partner has this device on him or her while you're having sex, every time he or she has a pleasure signal, it's going to send a vibration back to you so that you know you're doing it right. It's a neat little thing where there's no more guesswork.

[Then] there's this doctor in Canada. He has this device called the Orgasmatron. Amazingly, this device didn't get FDA approval. I'm convinced there's a conspiracy against orgasms in the government because there are so many sex patents that just don't get approval. But this dude made a spinal implant that's really simple. Anybody who can give an epidural can implant this thing as well. It sounds super freaky because it's a spinal implant. But it's just a few electrodes that he developed to treat sexual dysfunction in people who have paralysis or something like that. It's going to send electrical impulses in the spine in the same way that regular pleasure signals would be sent so that you can have orgasms and arousal, even though you maybe don't even have genitals anymore or the nerves are not functioning or whatever. That's all that pleasure really is in the end—signals being sent into the brain. Your brain uses them to have orgasms.

I want to do a feedback loop with this. If you have two people with this device and you connect them via WiFi or Bluetooth, then you make a creative feedback loop where you could feel what they feel and that heightens what they feel as well. That sets up a positive feedback loop. You can really sync with your partner. You could [also] record your experience and replay it whenever you want, straight into the spine. And this is all existing technology. The electrode itself is like $0.75 in materials. It's just getting someone competent to do the software for it.

From there, you could do all kinds of crazy, bizarre shit, like massively multi-player orgies. You could say, OK, we can tone the settings down so that not everybody's climaxing like crazy. Or, if you have to mow the lawn, and you want a reward, you do it, and your phone sends something to your spine, and you're rewarded for doing your dumb daily task or something.

And DARPA's working on something right now for amputees [that I think has a lot of sexual potential]. It's going to be a nerve-to-machine interface that's going to process like a million signals at any given time. The purpose of it is to allow people to feel into their prosthetics. But with this same technology, if you have a hookup to a nerve, you could just bridge that wirelessly. Whatever they're doing could be like a printed set of nerves. There's nothing stopping people from taking that printed nerve decal or whatever and plastering it on the walls of their house so that now they feel whatever the wall feels. If you want to hook it up to sex nerves, the entire thin would, could, be your dildo—using technology that'll be out in about five years.

I'm not really trying to recruit people into [sexual biohacks]. But I don't think I have to recruit people. A lot of the guys I talk to hear about [the Lovetron9000], and they're like, Yeah, I could totally pick up more people with that. A lot of people in the gay community are gung-ho about it. But of course, there are a lot of people who will instinctively say, "Ew, I don't want that." But I can see maybe in 15 years, if it's something that got mass-adopted, you're all going to want one. You won't wanna be the dude in the bar without a Lovetron9000, because your lack of an implant will put you at a major disadvantage.

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