aka over-engineering at it’s finest
In late 2020, I had just taken a leave of absence from the MIT MEng program and I didn’t have much money. I was TA-being 6.004 (with Cat!) so I couldn’t get an industry job. I checked on eecs-jobs-announce—a mailing list for jobs on/off campus—to see if there was anything I could do on the side.
Sure enough, a fledgling MIT startup was looking for someone to build their special e-phallus. So that’s how Cat and I ended up designing and making an electro-mechanical, pneumatic and somehow also Smart (R) dildo.
Here is a commercially-available vibrator that we dissected to figure out how they are usually designed. Unsurprisingly, the electronics include just a vibration motor and a battery. There is a hard plastic actuator in the center, then a cushy shell followed by a thin, textured skin layer.
The goal was to make the dildo capable of actuating with 3 DOF, for which we needed 3 pneumatic tubes. When you