Every single person with a vagina has had that horrifying moment: you look down, and there's blood everywhere. It's always annoying, it's usually embarrassing and more than half the time it happens in front of the entire student body. my.Flow, a new startup currently looking for additional funding, is hoping to save a slew of people from the mortification of period mishaps. It's a tampon with Bluetooth connectivity — yes, you read that correctly — that that lets a user know when the tampon is completely saturated and needs to be changed.
The original concept included a Bluetooth module inside the tampon, but my.Flow found that many users were uncomfortable with having a wad of electronics shoved up their hoo-hah. So the latest version, developed at an incubator in Beijing, is a tampon with an extra long string that connects to a Bluetooth module on your waist.
The new concept is not without some... drawbacks. Most of the vagina bearers I spoke with said they would be reluctant to wear a tampon with so long a string (it's about six to 12 inches), and no one seemed crazy about the idea of having your tampon clipped to your waistband.
"It's an accident waiting to happen," one woman told me.
But everyone agreed that my.flow seemed super useful — especially as training wheels for new members of the menstruation club. "I wouldn't want it now, but this would have been amazing when I was 13," said another lady.
It would also be useful for people new to tampons. While Australia has a very robust tampon market, other parts of the world still lean more heavily on pads or sanitary napkins. There's a lot of nervousness around the idea of shoving a wad of cotton up into your business, and having real time data piped into your phone might relieve some of those fears.
My.flow is expected to retail for $US50 ($68) for the Bluetooth waistband module and $US13 ($18) for a month's supply of tampons. Traditional tampons usually cost between $10 and $14 a month. The initial version will feature "regular" flow tampons only, but my.flow hopes to partner with tampon manufactures to produce tampons for any flow.