Glasses, houses, telephones, vacuum cleaners: nowadays everything contains a computer. But for our menstruation we still use products that can’t do more than absorbing or catching blood. Isn’t it time for a smart tampon?
In ‘The Future of Periods Will Be High-Tech, Messy, and Might Involve Jellyfish’ on Vice, American blogger/journalist Tori Telfer points out the four main products we’ve been using for decades to get through our menstruation: tampons, sanitary towels, menstrual cups and period-proof underwear. She could have added sponge tampons to the list, but those are actually soft tampons. And washable sanitary towels are just sanitary pads.
Telfer soon concludes: there is no perfect period product. Of course, sometimes somebody tries to invent the wheel, but mostly, it’s just re-inventing the same wheel. ‘A 2001 patent for a tampon applicator with a lubricated tip seems promising, until you realize that lubricated tampon applicators came and went in the 70s.’ Also the new growing trend of all-cotton tampons is actually a step back in time. ‘The first commercial tampon was made of cotton, inspired by the cotton plugs used in surgery at the time.’
‘Are we finally entering a new era where period technology catches up to the rest of the world?’, Telfer asks herself. ‘Or will feminine hygiene remain in the dark ages for decades to come?’ Already five years ago Kevin B. Larkin filed a patent for a tampon monitoring system, which wirelessly connects to your mobile phone. Your phone will alert you when it’s time to change a tampon, but will also save information about your cycle and blood loss; data which can for example be shared with doctors. It’s now 2015, but there’s still no miracle tampon for sale. It is, however, clear that tampons can be used for many other things than just absorbing blood.
Telfer points at a March 2015 report on the tampon industry, released by Global Industry Analysts, which shows that the biggest players in the tampon game have also figured out the potential of tampons as medical devices. Tampons could for example adjust the vagina’s PH or detect ovarian cancer. A dissolvable tampon that, once inserted, turns into a gel that releases HIV-prevention medication has already been developed. It doesn’t absorb any blood however. The idea that tampons can be used for many more things, isn’t that strange. ‘It’s in there anyway. It might as well do some good.’
Read the whole article on Vice.