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Osé Takes Microrobotics in a New Direction

Technology Editor Bill Wong talks with Lora DiCarlo’s Director of Engineering, Kim Porter, about designing Osé.

Osé is the first product from Lora DiCarlo, a women-run startup that emerged from Oregon State University. Osé is a microrobotic female pleasure stimulator (see figure) that made waves at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show for an award it was given and then rescinded.

While some may find the product and its discussion a bit too racy for their tastes, it’s based on advanced engineering that implements biomimicry and haptic feedback that’s being using in a variety of less controversial products.


Osé uses microrobotics to implement biomimicry and haptic feedback.

I had a chance to interview Kim Porter, the Director of Engineering at Lora DiCarlo. The company raised $1.1 million in 2018 for research and is poised to deliver product in the fall of 2019.

How did the Osé project come about? 

Mostly it comes down to our founder’s tenacity. When she was 28, she experienced her first blended orgasm—and she literally fell onto the floor, it was so good. She talks openly about it. At that point, all I could think was “how do I do that again?” Blended orgasms are essentially the holy grail of orgasms and they can be extremely difficult to reach without juggling the perfect combination of toys or a really talented partner, and neither of those are easy to come by.

Osé grew out of the desire to make a product that could give all people with vaginas that experience—whether they have a partner or not. She turned around from that experience and put together a list of 53 engineering requirements, and took it to Oregon State University and John Parmagani to get the engineering process started. What we’re working on now is very close to Lora’s original vision, which is amazing.


Kim Porter, Director of Engineering, Lora DiCarlo

What are the microrobotic components of the system? 

Each of our three primary functions are based on robotics. The touch-less clitoral stimulation uses a micro-mechanism that creates an alternating pressure differential to simulate all of the movements of a mouth. The biomimetic g-spot stimulator uses a gear motor that drives a finger-like movement. And we use a proprietary pneumatic system to ensure that it fits perfectly.

What challenges were addressed in the design of these systems? 

Getting micro robots to fit into an anatomically appropriate shape and size was our biggest challenge. We upgraded absolutely everything about a dual stimulator—size, power, and material strength. Additionally, creating a completely hands-free product that stimulates the entire clitoris was a core challenge to developing this product—it has never been possible before. It offers so many new possibilities for using your hands during intimacy and masturbation, and even for general accessibility for users who have difficulty using handheld devices. 

What were some of the material challenges and how are they addressed in the final product? 

The material challenges are inherently married to the mechanism and design-wise could not be delineated. The biggest challenge with a product like this is the balance between energy use and power, which presents as friction and heat. So, we had to be very smart about the silicone durometer, polymer selection, and components. Our biggest concern is the material biocompatibility and human efficacy.

Kim Porter has over 30 years of product design and manufacturing experience. In her previous role as a Program Director at ZIBA Design, she has designed products for clients such as Intel, Nike, Morrow, Precor, Starbucks, FedEx, and Coleman/Peak 1. Prior to ZIBA, she worked at Nike as an engineer in the Advanced Product Engineering group and at ILC Dover designing custom space suits for NASA astronauts. She is minor-league famous for bringing the first Microsoft ergonomic keyboard to market. Kim has a BS in ESci from Iowa State University.

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