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A robotic sex toy was selected as an honoree for the Consumer Electronics Show’s Innovation Awards, until CES said it was “obscene.”

Organizers of the Consumer Electronics Show being held this week in Las Vegas selected a sex toy called Osé as one of a handful of honorees in its robotics and drones Innovation Awards program. But two weeks later, they disqualified the device and banned its exhibition at the event — because it’s an adult product.

The Osé device (formerly called Vela) is a sex toy developed in partnership with an engineering professor at Oregon State University that uses “biometric mimicry” for hands-free vaginal and clitoral stimulation. Initially, Lora Haddock, founder of Lora DiCarlo, the company that makes the Osé, was thrilled about the visibility that the award would give her product in a crowded event. “What it really did for us was attract investors,” she told BuzzFeed News. “It’s definitely a feather in our cap and validates the technology that we’ve created.”

Then, on Oct. 31, Lora DiCarlo’s press team got an email from an event organizer at the Consumer Technology Association saying the Osé was losing its spot in the honoree category, invoking a clause in the terms and conditions of the contest that says the organizers can remove at their “sole discretion” any entry deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane, or not in keeping with CTA’s image.”

It’s unclear why the CTA made the Osé an honoree in the first place, before backtracking on its decision to include an adult product. The trade show gave a sex toy a similar award three years ago, and other companies have exhibited sex toys and adult products at the show over the years.

A representative from CTA told BuzzFeed News, “[Osé] does not qualify because it does not fit in to any of our existing CES 2019 categories.” Asked to clarify if this is because it didn’t meet the standards of being a robot or drone, they replied, “it’s an adult product so not eligible.”

Adult products are allowed at CES, which contributes to Haddock’s frustration.


Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture and is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.