#ThrowbackThursday: Hitachi Magic Wand, 1968

Magic Wand packaging, pre- and post-rebranding (Engadget)

Magic Wand packaging, pre- and post-rebranding (Engadget)

This post was originally published on February 5, 2015.

On April 25, 1968, Japanese company Hitachi listed its Magic Wand for business in the U.S with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Originally advertised as a massager in the 1970s, it quickly gained a new (and arguably larger) reputation as a powerful vibrator.

Sex educator Betty Dodson was the first person to recommend it, using the device in her classes on female masturbation. For women uneasy about going to a sex shop to purchase a toy, the Magic Wand filled a previously-unknown niche: Dodson got hers in the small appliance section at Macy’s.

It looks almost orthopedic, with a “tennis-ball-size” head sitting at the end of the white plastic shaft. (And it’s almost as long as the model’s forearm on the old packaging.) The Magic Wand has two speeds: low (5K vibrations per minute) and high (6K vibrations per minute). It weighs 1+ pound, and measures 12 inches. But nationally-known sex shop Good Vibrations reports that the Magic Wand has been one of their best-sellers since 1977.

In 2013, Hitachi rebranded the massager, as they were uneasy as being unofficially branded a covert sex toy. (I guess it took them 46 years to catch on?) Hitachi’s name doesn’t feature on the new packaging, but it doesn’t obscure what everyone knows: The Cadillac of vibrators is inside.

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Smart Vibrators Will Data-Mine Your Pleasure

SmartBod vibrator prototype evolution (Angel.co)

SmartBod vibrator prototype evolution (Angel.co)

Happy Friday! We’ve talked about smart sex toys before, and also how Big Data is taking over sex. We’re ushering in a new era of sexual data and metrics, on a more minute level than ever before.

Enter the SmartBod, a vibrator that tracks its users’ data and aggregates it via a related app. While tracking arousal (and climax) patterns, the user will then be able to establish a baseline of usual trends. The app will also suggest ideas mined from the collected data. Call it sex-alytics, if you will.

UC Berkeley entrepreneurs Liz Klinger and James Wang aim to help women spark conversations regarding pleasure, since it can be an uncomfortable topic for most people. The user “would learn how their orgasm changes depending on how and when they use the vibrator.” It can also help women determine if they’re “normal” or not, in terms of their orgasms and arousal. So you can compete with others, or with yourself or both.

This counts as the second “smart” vibrator I’m aware of, next to the upcoming Una. As a both a sex geek and a data nerd, I can’t wait to use these and report my results. All in the name of science, of course!