Are new regulations for designing a “safe”​ sex toy really necessary?

Having read an article in the July edition of EAN about the recent call for stricter regulations on adult pleasure products, I have been considering, are these regulations necessary or will they just muddy the water further when it comes to designing a “’safe” sex toy product?


The CE mark is a certification that indicates conformity with health, safety and environmental protection standards. It is also a mandatory requirement for any product manufactured within or designed to be sold in the European Union. Any sex toy product, in theory, will have to conform with the legal requirements of the CE in order to be marketed within the EU. As Product Designers we adhere to these when taking any new products through the stages from initial concept to manufacture. These “new” guidelines from SIS would just add another facet to this process, but as they have been described as “voluntary” they appear to me to be rather superfluous.

For me, there are two issues surrounding the perceived safety of sex toys.

1. Manufacturers outside of the UK that are not challenged to confirm with safety standards like the CE mark. By not doing so these manufacturers can easily under cut the pricing of quality products who are and selling non-rated products in the open market.

2. That it’s not so much the safety of sex toy products themselves but how they are being used by the consumer.

So how can these issues be addressed?

Well, firstly better policing of this is a must. The industry must police itself and report any non-conformists to trading standards or similar organisations. However, much needs to be done to ensure any legal challenges are efficiently supported by a trading standards organisation with enough resources to make these challenges effective.

With regards to the second issue, educating the end users of the products is the key to reducing the 40% of accidents reported in the article. This education is arguably the responsibility of the B2C retailers.

So, in summary, we need a better framework for making an example of those who are not trading fairly and ignoring general product safety measures and best practises already in place.

Do you have an idea for a new Sex Toy? Would you like a little help to guide you through the journey of making your product a desirable reality? Get in touch today – we may just be able to help you.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Planting the seed for a great product

Cast your minds back to Christmas 2018 (I know, it’s almost half a year ago already!) and you may recall being a lucky recipient of one of Sated Design’s extra special Christmas cards. These cards were extra special because they were created entirely from seeded paper. Within each piece of cut paper, was a plethora of wildflower seeds. No one had any idea what plants would grow, least of all us.

For a little experiment we planted the off cuts and spares in our own planters and the results have been better than we ever could have hoped. In early March there were signs of early seedlings and with plenty of nurturing we now have some spectacular wildflowers brightening up the office.

Marketing Manager Holly says “Christmas cards are an important way of showing our appreciation for our clients during the season of goodwill but we’re also very conscious of the environment and operating sustainably as a business. These seeded paper cards meant that we were able to send seasons greetings and messages of thanks without impacting heavily on the environment”.

The inspiration behind these cards is how we operate as a business. As a product design consultancy, we use our experience and skills to nurture, develop and grow the ideas of our clients; turning a seed of an idea into a market ready product.

Holly continues “We planted our own off cuts and spares and we’re delighted with the results. We really had no idea what or even if anything would grow. Between us we’ve cared for our wildflowers every step of the way, and that’s how we like to operate with our clients as a business”.

Contact us today
If you’ve got a product idea planted in your mind and you want to develop it and it take to market, we will assist you through your journey. Give us a call – product design is what we do!

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Considering the gender balance in product design

Last month, the cancellation of Nasa’s all-female space walk because there wasn’t a spacesuit available in the correct size for Anne McClain sparked controversy. It also got some people considering women in the modern world and how they navigate it when it may appear that world has been designed for men.

The last 60+ years have seen the numbers of women within the workplace, increase and has resulted in women entering a much broader range of occupations, from mainly supportive, nurturing roles such as teaching and nursing to every walk of occupational and professional life. Women are working in industries and roles previously regarded as the sole prerogative of men.

In a recent BBC news article, Caroline Criado Perez, a journalist and the author of Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, told the BBC she was totally unsurprised by the spacesuit debacle. From police stab vests that don’t account for breasts, to safety goggles too large for women’s faces, to boots that don’t fit women’s feet, Ms Criado Perez says the list is endless.

“This is just what happens over and over when it comes to what we design,” she says. “We are so used to thinking of men as the default and women as the sort of niche – a variety of man… The average woman is an outlier.”

Ms Criado Perez’s recent comments regarding this are not new, but we need to be careful and consider if what she talks about is really the norm. Our experience is that when it comes to the adult toy industry, some of the most innovative designs currently and emerging in to this market are created by women. We’re seeing new female-centric technologies emerge that not only focus on female stimulation but also address issues that have been swept under the rug for decades.

In the last few years, the sex tech industry has seen more and more women-founded and operated sex toy companies. From crystal dildos, to a vibrator that doubles as a necklace; female-created toys are both innovative, and non-intimidating.

Polly Rodriguez, CEO of Unbound, a feminist sex toy subscription service said recently “Today, we see a new wave of femme-owned businesses, designing the next generation of products and experiences with the goal of taking the category mainstream. There is something inherently feminist and defiant in starting a business in this space, because historically, women have not had the right to their own bodies and we’re still fighting for that right today.”

We think it is worth noting that product design and engineering as a whole needs more gender balance in its ranks. There is a strong argument to say that every design team should have the balance of input of both genders. A good conclusion in the article by Ms Criado Perez was that companies should be prepared to demonstrate how they have been successful in doing this so they can inspire others to do the same. Certainly food for thought!

Sated Design are currently expanding and looking to take on more product designers. If you think you can make a difference and support us then we look forward to hearing from you.

Contact [email protected] to find out more.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Making your sex toy idea happen

Some of us at one time or another, may have had a new sex toy idea and we thought it could be the next big thing. There’s been a lot of talk in the industry recently that SexTech start ups are shifting away from the phallic shapes towards new and innovative products.

The journey between the initial idea and seeing it on the shelves can be a very rewarding experience. However the road to success is littered with hidden pitfalls. Many companies and inventors struggle, or even fail, to develop a new product without appropriate assistance.

First and foremost, our role at Sated Design is to assist businesses in developing a new or improving an existing product so it is ready for its intended market.

A typical project would include one or more of the following stages:

  1. Review – the idea may be good, but does it tick all the boxes to be a successful and commercially viable product? This is the first step along the road and allows you to decide whether it is worth continuing or not.
  2. Funding – Developing, protecting, manufacturing and distributing a product will require a substantial financial investment. How are the necessary funds going to be raised?
  3. Protecting – There is no point having a great product if a copycat competitor steals your market advantage. What type of intellectual property protection is most suitable?
  4. Developing the product – To take an idea from a rough sketch on the back of a paper napkin to a physical product rolling off the production line involves several stages. From the initial concept sketches, prototyping and testing, to producing data files ready for manufacturing, there are many elements to consider in development of a product.
  5. Selling the product – All the hard work getting the product developed and manufactured will be for nothing if distribution and marketing fails. How are you going to get a good return on your investment?

Even the most accomplished will require assistance with new sex toy ideas which is where Sated Design’s expertise is invaluable.  We work closely with all our clients to ensure they have all the support they need throughout the product development process.

Who we are
Sated Design was founded in 2003.  We are a focused company who want our clients to achieve business success with innovative products that address the key factors of performance, reliability, cost and aesthetics.

We have designed many products within the Adult industry and to date our products have won Best Male Product for ETO, Winner of XBIZ Best Male Pleasure Product, Winner of Erotixx Highest Potential Product as well as several nominations for other Erotica Awards.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Welcome to new recruit Holly Hollis

Sated Design are pleased to welcome new recruit Holly Hollis to the team. Holly will be responsible for managing all aspects of digital marketing. In an age where social media platforms offer impactful and cost effective ways of marketing, Sated recognises the importance of these platforms in connecting with current and potential clients and advertising our product design services.

New recruit Holly says “I am delighted to join Chris and the team. This role is very exciting – no day will be the same! Sated Design offers such a wide range of services across many sectors and that’s what attracted me to apply for the position. I’m looking forward to growing our digital presence and as a result of this work, our client base.”

Holly’s appointment marks the beginning of an expansion plan for Sated Design and sister company Hillside Product Design Ltd in 2019. We are also recruiting for a Senior Product Designer to further grow our capabilities. Recent interest from new clients in the USA are helping business to boom. We are also seeing opportunities for business growth in the UK with the introduction of funding such as the Innovate UK Smart grants for manufacturing and innovation at a national level.

Company Director Chris Howsam says “Holly joining the team marks the start of our expansion plans. Forget the doom and gloom. We are finding new clients and looking to make 2019 a great year; so watch this space.”

Let’s create something together.

If you have an idea for a new product, we can make your ideas a reality, guiding you all the way from your initial concept to a marketplace-ready product. Whether you’re a large corporation, SME, new technology start-up, or entrepreneur we offer a complete design for manufacturing service.

Contact Us

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Importance of Continuous Testing

Testing a product concept during all stages of its development is an important part of the design process. Prototypes, mock-ups and test rigs, or whatever you wish to call them, enable the design team to evaluate every aspect of a product. Using feedback derived from tests the design team create great products which delight the user and make healthy profits for the manufacturing and distributing chain.

Here at Sated Design our approach to the development of adult toys makes use of many different types of prototypes and each prototype brings its own benefits to the end design. At the end of the development process the design team and the client can be confident that the final product is indeed fit for purpose. Prototypes are generally made in house in our model shop although we will use external suppliers for specialist parts.

Good visual imagery is an important part of any design process as it is an effective way of showing what the final outcome will potentially look like. 2D images have their place; they are great for visualisation but are unable to portray some of the important details; for example the weight and feel of the product. Accurate prototypes that are faithful to the intended appearance and feel of the final design are extremely useful in marketing discussions and for pre-launch media. We have lost count of the number of occasions when a prototype has been photographed before a production piece has been available. That is not poor time planning, it is in fact the opposite and a necessity when rapid design techniques have to bring together marketing/promotion during the run up to a launch or exhibition.

Good user experience is a vital part of any adult toy. The whole experience of receiving the item, opening the packaging and switching the toy on are very important but they are the aperitif for the main course. If the toy does not ‘work’ then it is just a big let-down and that has to be avoided at all costs. Working prototypes are a vital part of getting this right in the product development. An example of how this process can work came about very recently when our model makers made a silicone prototype of a new vibrator. This was sent out for user testing and the feedback suggested that the sensations could be improved by thickening a certain part of the shaft profile. A second prototype was quickly prepared and once again sent out to the same person for testing. Within days we received positive feedback. This simple, quick and low costs exercise gave the client the confidence to immediately go forward to the next stage of development and the tester kept the prototype!

Some prototypes are quite mundane but they still serve a vital role in improving the assembly and cost effective manufacture of a product. It is not uncommon for our design team to prepare several 3D printed prototypes to evaluate wiring, motor mounting, jigging/fixtures and resolving fine details of switches and connectors to ensure that no detail is ignored.

Do you have an idea for a new Sex Toy? Would you like a little help to guide you through the journey of making your product a desirable reality? Get in touch today – we may just be able to help you.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Power of Prototyping

Why use prototypes in your new Adult Toy development?

Providing a link between a world of virtual design and real life, a prototype is a vital way of testing designs. 2D images do have a place in the designing process but there is no substitute for holding something real in your hand, no more so than when developing an adult toy. Our prototypes offer extremely high levels of accuracy and intricacy resulting from the application of modern prototyping techniques such as high resolution 3D printing, computer controlled machining and casting of medical grade elastomers. Our prototyping techniques can provide stunning results.

For a Sex Toy developer, a prototype is a preliminary version of the intended product and can be used not only for user testing but also to sign-off on important factors such as the form and feel of the product, or to inform the designer of necessary adjustments to mechanisms or tolerances of parts for performance and assembly. The prototype can also help the project stake-holders to make the best decisions for the project and optimise the development journey leading up to manufacture and launch. It is therefore vital to clearly define the purpose for the prototype as this is key to how a prototype should be prepared and can save unwarranted work.

Naturally, the final product will be a part of an intimate human interaction, but the sooner that user/product experience is evaluated, then the better that interaction can be. It is impossible to overstate how important prototyping is to ensuring an effective product design and development process, delivering the optimum results and ultimately a great end-user experience.

Here at Sated Design we have in-house prototyping capabilities alongside a large catalogue of external suppliers for all manner of prototyping services, enabling our expert model-makers to produce competitively priced, high-quality prototypes for the Adult-Toy Industry within tight deadlines.

Do you have an idea for an adult toy?

If you do, or if you want to compliment one of your current designs, or are even just looking for a fresh perspective on a current product, please contact the team here at Sated Design.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Chinese New Year – The Year of the Pig

Planning around the Year of the Pig

On the week of February 5th in the UK, hundreds of thousands of people of all nationalities, will welcome the Year of the Pig which will be celebrated with the ringing of bells, the lighting of firecrackers and watching traditional lion dances. No doubt plenty of Chinese culinary delights will be consumed and plenty of elaborate displays watched.

In China these festivities will continue long after the weekend, fifteen days to be precise! Fifteen days when factories close and all manufacturing processes stop for the full duration of this holiday period. Some factories will close for even longer to allow for their workers to travel the huge distances to return to their home towns and villages. It is not unusual for workers to travel for several days to see family and friends they may not have seen for almost a year. The Chinese New year, or Spring Festival is therefore very important throughout China and much of South East Asia; of significant global importance, it is very much intertwined with the UKs business culture and it’s planning.

Whilst lead times are important to a project whatever the time of year, planning and scheduling are of upmost importance when Chinese New Year falls during the production process. The effect this can have on a project’s lead time could cause significant delay and ramifications if not borne in mind at the onset. It can be quite a task to co-ordinate between different regions when moving tools and goods to arrive within a production window. Experience of working with domestic and offshore manufacturers and suppliers coupled with experience of the differing cultures and practices of quite a few countries certainly helps to minimise any delays in production.

At Hillside Product Design, when planning a project, we always make sure to advise our clients of the implications of any decision to work with an offshore supplier. Accurate information derived from extensive past experience and used in conjunction with time compression technologies, proven fast track suppliers and savvy short cuts can deliver a complex project in record times and within tight budgets.

This year has been very busy with several shipments of tools being signed off and we are experiencing a comfortable period of calm and giving ourselves a part on the back. Congratulations and prosperity to our friends in China and we look forward to doing it all again next year.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

What happens to E-Waste?

Electronic products are all around us today. In fact if you’re reading this article then you’re looking at one right now. But what happens when these products reach the end of their life, or are made obsolete by newer tech? This is a question with two outcomes, good news and bad news. We would all agree that we absolutely must do something to deal with E-Waste. The bad news is that the results of that process often cause damage we do not see or choose to ignore. The way we deal with our E-Waste must be something we are all made aware of so we really understand the true cost of that new smart phone or TV.

Products like smart phones, IT equipment and home appliances are advancing so rapidly in their capabilities that they become redundant within months of their launch. Many homes and businesses are disposing of old tech products and the question is what can be done with these container loads of E-Waste?

E-Waste contains many valuable materials which can be recovered, such as gold, silver, copper, tin and palladium. The process for recycling electronic goods is similar to other more general recycling processes, following a path of collection, transportation, sorting and separation. Waste is collected and sent to a processing plant where items are manually sorted and disassembled, with parts like batteries removed and sent to specialist facilities.

Items that can’t be dismantled efficiently are shredded into smaller pieces and then spread out on conveyor belts using a shaking process. A high power magnet then sorts out the ferrous metals and further mechanical processes separate the metals from non-metals. A water separation process then divides the remaining plastic and glass materials.

Glass from cathode ray tubes (CRTs) commonly found in televisions and monitors contain more hazardous materials like lead, barium and phosphor. Processing these items is more complex, with extra washing and sorting steps to remove oxides and phosphors and to separate leaded and non-leaded glass.

Smelting is used to recover metals like gold, silver, tin and copper from PCBs and nickel, steel, cadmium and cobalt from batteries.

This is the good news part of the story because it results in a reasonable percentage of resources recovered. The bad news is that the predicted 50 million metric tons of E-Waste produced this year alone will create a big problem despite much of it being capable of being repaired or reused. The majority of it ends up in landfill or is incinerated, E-Waste is often legally and illegally exported to countries like China, India and Nigeria due to absence of more rigorous regulation. Once there, toxic materials like lead, arsenic and mercury leach into the water course, soil and air to become a huge long term problem in the environment affecting plants, animals and humans. The residents of Guiyu in China (an area known for recycling E-Waste) have the highest reported level of lead and dioxin found in people globally.

Out of sight and out of mind is not the way to deal with this problem. There is no easy answer but the majority of us are buyers of electronic products and we need to demand products that are easier to recycle and made with reclaimed material. Only then will product designers, not accountants get to set the design brief for how products should end their life.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Pulling the Plug

A patent protecting the broad concept of “teledildonics” has recently expired, potentially paving the way for a wave of sex toys that can be controlled over the internet.

Teledildonics, also known as cyberdildonics, is a term to describe sex toys that can be plugged into a device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone, and link to other sex toys and interactive applications over the internet, giving users the possibility to interact with sexual partners over long distances.

The patent, originally filed in 1998, includes descriptions of systems where stimulation devices are linked via transmitters to computers equipped with video cameras, capable of then connecting to and interacting with other such systems and pre-recorded video across the internet.

Many view this particular patent as having stifled development of this technology for several years, with the company that had owned the rights filing 10 lawsuits alleging infringement between 2015 and 2017, leading them to be labelled a “patent troll” and gaining notoriety in the industry. The expiration of the patent now potentially removes a large barrier to new development in this area.

However, despite cheers and applause from sex toy innovators, expiration of this single patent doesn’t necessarily mean a green light to a free-for-all for new teledildonics products. While on the surface it may look like a golden opportunity, other inventors will no doubt hold patents and intellectual property covering different areas of this technology, so even with one significant obstacle removed the wider legal minefield remains present. You are just a bit less likely to get sued.

As always, it’s important to continue to do your due diligence to ensure that your product doesn’t infringe anyone else’s intellectual property and land you and your business in hot water. Make use of the services of a patent attorney to help you discover the potential pitfalls and barriers to your product development early on in the process to avoid costly legal action and redesigns later on. It is important that you have a good understanding of the intellectual property landscape of your industry.

We as your product designers can then help you to come up with solutions that circumvent the rights held by your competitors and put valuable IP into your own hands.

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail