Is it a high-tech sex toy, or is it something entirely new? Wisp marks designer Wan Tseng’s latest innovation, a new kind of wearable that she herself describes as “sensual jewellery” in our EAN interview. Apart from helping us find a definition for Wisp, Wan also tells us how this product can help women have a more fulfilled and satisfying sex life.
The Wisp collection will comprise four different models: Whisper, Touch, Air, and Pulse. Are these sex toys in the classical sense? Wan Tseng: They are not sex toys in the classical sense, more a collection of sensual jewellery, creating a foreplay-esque atmosphere and helping the user discover female sensitivities. Also, they can be used as a tool to facilitate communication about your own body.
Could you give us an overview of your products? How do they differ from each other?
The “Wisp” collection will encompass several modules that, all together, create the sensual environment of foreplay. Individually, each element focuses on one aspect of this multi-sensory experience. For example, one piece imitates slight touch and strokes of varying intensity on your skin. Others stimulate you through your favourite scent, slight blowing around your ear, or silent whispers.
How will the sensation be triggered? Will the products be connected, so that a lover can activate the stimulation?
The items are triggered by your personal state of sexual arousal. “Wisp” measures your excitement and communicates your bodily reactions directly to the connected items. The automatic stimulation keeps the surprise element that you would encounter in a situation with a real partner.
How did you come up with the idea to create the Wisp collection? How long did it take you to develop it so far?
I came up with the idea during my final year project of my MA at RCA [Royal College of Art, editor’s note] and Imperial College. I wanted to develop a product that facilitates the conversation about female sexuality, which is becoming less and less of a taboo, and also to make women gain sexual confidence and empowerment through understanding their bodies better.
The erotic industry is very masculine, even in female erotic products, and don’t help women take an emancipated approach to their own domain – Wisp should eventually play a role in changing the discourse around female sexuality. So far, I’ve been working on it for about six months.
Would you describe Wisp as a product for women?
Yes, it primarily is a product for women to help them understand their erogenous zones and “turn-on buttons” better. Research shows that masculine and feminine sexual arousal is quite different, so the products would not work as well for men as they do for women. Men will be intrigued by it as well, however, because they can learn to understand female arousal and desires better by talking to women who use Wisp.
Wisp is a product that can be worn openly when going out. Do you think that people will make a connection to sex or rather to relationships when they see it?
I think, once Wisp is well established and people know about it, they will think about a woman who feels sexually empowered and in charge of her body. Otherwise, people will probably not make a connection to an erotic product at all if they see it on the street, but rather a wearable tech item.
Compared to classical sex toys whose goal is to provide orgasms, Wisp focuses much more on the emotional and psychological aspect of sexuality. Do you think, this is something that will play a more prominent role in the future of products related to sexuality?
I hope so and believe in it! As the sex tech industry sees more and more female entrepreneurs, this will lead away from the aggressive, male-dominated approach you see in most erotic products; instead, it will widen the field of “sex” to all the areas that play a role, for instance the emotional and psychological aspects, thereby expanding the market for more products or services catering to it.
Wisp is coming at a time when many products are exploring the possibilities of a combination of technology and sexuality. What do you expect from this development? Which aspects will shape it?
Technology will never be able to replace “real” human sexual interactions, but there will be more and more devices that can help people connect, improve their experiences, and teach them a more realistic sexual behaviour than traditional porn and erotic products have done in the past. Technology can help people explore their own body and desires, eventually allowing them to communicate that to a partner and enhance the interpersonal experience.
What are the next steps for Wisp? When will the Wisp collection be launched onto the market? Do you plan on creating more products that deal with sexuality the same way Wisp does?
Right now, we are developing an improved prototype that we can use for long-term usability tests with early adopters. We plan on launching a batch of fully functional prototypes early next year, then go for crowdfunding – and we’ll see if this will be successful and then enter the market. Wisp is currently filing for patent in the UK.
At the moment, we are looking for people from various industries who might be interested in cooperating with us, as well as for investors since the “Wisp” start-up is in a very early stage. Please contact us through our website wisp.me.uk.