This Robotic Tampon Will Tell You Exactly When You Need to Change It

By
my.Flow
my.FlowPhoto: my.Flow

A new period-tracking app and bluetooth-enabled tampon promise to quantify something you didn’t even know needed to be calculated: your flow.

My.flow is a startup currently looking to boost funding for its product, a tampon that tells you when it needs to be changed. Just open the app, and you’ll be able to calculate the amount of time left before your tampon is full and you have to go desperately running for the bathroom. It’s a similar solution to the bluetooth menstrual cup that recently appeared on Kickstarter.

All menstruating women have experienced a leaky tampon at one time or another, so it makes sense to try to solve that problem, right? Sure. But my.Flow seems unnecessarily complicated. Do I really need to know that my tampon is 42 percent full? And the logistics are less than desirable: the tampon comes with an extra-long string leading to a bluetooth fob that clips to your waist. If the device ever comes to market, it will cost $50 with an additional $13 per month for the supply of special tampons.

Technology is cool: No one would argue that. Our phones and computers have changed our lives and arguably made us more informed. And the mania for tracking devices — for sleep, for exercise, and eating — is in full swing. But without actually testing this device in real life, it’s hard to know whether my.Flow would actually be useful or simply another compilation of personal data amassed, to no great end.

While many women no doubt dream of the day when tampons don’t leak all over their clothes, period overflow is a rare and relatively minor annoyance. And getting notified that your tampon is almost full won’t always help. Imagine being stuck on a train, your phone battery about to die, and learning that you’re at 87 percent full. Is that really information you need?

In an interview with South China Morning Post, one of my.Flow’s engineers says that the second generation of the product could include tracking for yeast infections and STIs. She said that my.Flow could potentially prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome, which can be a result of wearing a tampon for too long. My.Flow is expected to hit the market in early 2017, so ready or not, the quantified vagina is on its way.