Computer programmer Beth Scott put her hobbyist skills to work over the Thanksgiving holiday: She built a better remote control for her vibrator.
Scott's "hack" improves on the responsiveness and range of the remote control that came with the vibrator, she wrote on her blog. It also allows her to control the device by moving her hands in the air above the remote, without touching it. In a short video she posted, in which the device is demonstrated on a table, Scott looks a little like she's playing a theremin (an electronic musical instrument).
"Touch that invisible space above the remote, and the vibrator touches you," she wrote.
The hands-free remote uses sonar to detect hand motions. Its face has what looks like two small black speakers. One of the "speakers" emits short chirps with frequency is too high for humans to hear, while the other listens for chirps bouncing back at the remote.
Scott posted the full directions for her hack on her blog. She has also posted the programs she wrote for the remote's processor, a low-cost hobbyist's device made by Arduino. Her library of code "offers some great opportunities for further tinkering," she wrote. She gave some suggestions, including conductive fabric and sensors for embedding into lingerie.