In Silicon Valley the next battleground for human freedom has been declared. It’s not privacy, it's not surveillance and it’s not even something to do with Bitcoin. It’s genitals. Female genitals. Tech dudes want them to smell like peaches.
Well, two of them do: Austen Heinz and Gilad Gome, a pair of biotech startup founders who have outlined their plan for a probiotic supplement that lets women ‘biohack’ their vaginas to smell like the fruit.
Heinz and Gome unveiled their idea at the DEMO conference earlier this week according to a report by Inc, telling the audience of tech-heads and investors that they wanted to offer women “personal empowerment”.
“All your smells are not human. They're produced by the creatures that live on you,” said Heinz, with Gome adding: “We think it's a fundamental human right to not only know your code and the code of the things that live on you but also to rewrite that code and personalize it.”
When questioned on why they’d picked this particular avenue, Heinz and Gome reportedly said that the scent would help people “connect you to yourself in a better way” and that it was easier than changing the microbiome in the gut as “it only has one interference per month”.
As Nitasha Tiku points out on Valleywag: “If they are referring to your period as "interference," someone […] may want to tell them about vaginal intercourse.”
In fairness to both Heinz and Gome claim their supplement would also have practical benefits like reducing the risk of yeast infections, with Gome suggesting that the scent was a useful way of letting the customer know that it was working.
(Unfortunately we couldn’t find any recording of Heinz and Gome’s pitch, so we can’t tell whether their main emphasis was on health benefits or odour – although the name ‘Sweet Peach Probiotics’ suggests the latter.)
The pair are currently raising money for the project on crowd-funding site Tilt after Kickstarter reportedly found their synthetic biology projects too controversial. Given the reactions to this current project it’s not hard to see why.