Internal Wearable Tech: Menstrual Cup That Will Never Runneth Over

Does your vagina talk to you? If it could, what do you think it would say? Well, meet the world's first texting menstrual  cup that informs you when its full and needs to be emptied.

Texting is a phenomenon that is commonplace to most people  but still foreign to others. Be that as it may, getting messages from body parts raises more than a few eyebrows even in this dynamic, anything-goes-world of ours. it may make your heart skip a beat to hear the sound of an incoming message, but what if that communication is coming from somewhere inside your body?

The implications rival the most bizarre science fiction plots. Is some living, breathing entity trapped inside you, never to escape or even see the light of day? Would the likes of Ray Bradbury or Stephen King find inspiration in a concept like this? Who knows, but here's more.

Hisory of the menstrual cup down through the decades

Bell-shaped menstrual cups worn inside the vagina to collect period blood have been around since the 1860s and 1870s when they were known as catamenial sacks. these were patented but never marketed and they were soon smothered at the turn of the last century by other internal devices for collecting menstrual flow. Most of the early menstrual cups had different kinds of valves and were placed inside the vagina and emptied without removing the device.

 

Chalmer's Mentrual CupChalmer's Mentrual Cup
Intimina

Actress, Leona Chalmers, is credited for having patented the very first usable, commercial menstrual cup, which was made from latex rubber back in 1937. During World War II, a shortage of rubber forced the company to halt production and in the 1950s, Mrs. Chalmers made some improvements and patented a new design. Other companies emerged, particularly Tassette, which spent too much on marketing and ended operations in the 1970s.

The Loon Menstrual Cup

Some reports estimate that a woman will throw away between 250 and 300 pounds of pads, tampons and applicators in a lifetime. Menstrual cups provide eco-friendly alternatives to tampons and disposable pads. The Loon Cup, however, is unique because it is the world's very first 'smart' menstrual receptacle. Its name is a play on the words, Moon Cup, which was one of the very early models on the market, and from Luna, the Greek goddess of the moon.

 

Loon Menstrual CupLoon Menstrual Cup
Loon Labs

In the words of Kate Lee from Loon Labs:
"This is the very first...of its kind...We have been collecting feedback from current menstrual cup users and they said their biggest pain point is not knowing when to refresh their cup. By sending notifications to them, we hope we can give them more freedom."

 

Loon CupLoon Cup
Mashable

How does the Loon Cup work?

The reusable, Loon Menstrual Cup weighs 19 grams (2/3 rds of an ounce) and is fitted with a sensor embedded at the base of the cup, a battery and a Bluetooth antenna. It is wirelessly connected to an app on a smart phone, which records the different stages of each month's menstrual cycle. It provides alerts in real time as to how close it is to the cup's 25-milli-litre (0.0066043 US liquid gallon) capacity, when it's time to empty it and the volume of the flow. The Loon Cup also monitors the color of the period blood, which may indicate gynecological problems. Updates can also be displayed on an Apple Watch.

One drawback of the Loon Cup  is that the battery lasts only about six months, depending on rate of usage and cannot be removed. When it dies, the user must either accept it as  a 'dumb'  menstrual cup or buy a new one for about $30. Even as dumb cups, so to speak, they are slated to last five to ten years, which remains a major selling point for those women seeking environmentally friendly alternatives to disposable products.

 

Loon TrackingLoon Tracking
Dezeen

The future of the Loon Menstrual Cup

Although Loon Labs does not yet have a patent for the Loon Cup, they do have a Kickstarter campaign, which is doing very well and whose time-line indicates plans to go into production in November and begin shipping the product to backers in January, 2016. Loon Labs plans to develop other health devices for women, such as an ovulation tracker, that will be sold at an online store. 

Big sister is not only watching, she is happily ovulating, and in general, doing very well.

Closing thoughts on menstruation:
You should never make a decision the day before your period. ~ Miranda J. Barrett