Function Literal

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hooray for menstrual cycle technology

07 Oct 2015

Let's take a second to cheer for menstrual cycle technology!

Today I backed a "smart" menstrual cup on Kickstarter; the Looncup is a cup with sensors to track volume so the cup can tell when it's almost full, to keep track of flow over time and even the color(???!) of said fluid. Reusable menstrual cups already seemed futuristic to me, eliminating waste and more safe than tampons, but one that can report its own status is downright magical. Hooray for menstrual cups!

I put "smart" in scare quotes because this terminology is still strange to me, whether applied to phones or menstrual cups.

It felt weird to tweet about it, but I figured they could use the signal boost, and I think it's important to back projects like these: pragmatic solutions to give people with uteruses more information about their bodies.

I just backed a smart menstrual cup on Kickstarter, the future is weird and cool but mostly weird— llkats (@llkats) October 7, 2015

I sent a link to the Looncup to a friend, who sent back a link to a basal body temperature monitoring device called Tempdrop. A person might use basal temperature information to become or avoid becoming pregnant, but one has to take these readings at the same time every day and make charts and graphs.

"It was a pain in the ass to monitor. Not literally." — @selenamarie

Automated devices and apps to collect and process that data makes a tedious but necessary task much more even and reliable. Hooray for automatic basal temperature monitors!

And on the way home from work, I thought about chocolate for maybe the tenth time today. I checked Clue to see if it was time for sugar cravings, and found that it might be a little early for the monthly sweets hankering, but not abnormally so. Having tracked my cycle with this app for almost a year now, I find its predictions slightly eerie in their accuracy. It's certainly far more accurate than trying to average numbers from Google Calendar. But it's also very comforting to know what's ahead for the next month. I haven't been surprised by my cycle for a long time, and that knowledge is empowering. Hooray for period tracking apps!

There are probably a dozen devices and apps out there that I haven't even heard of, but their impact is the same: these are innovations with the power to really impact people in personal and important ways. I hope people continue to invent and innovate on ways to empower people of all stripes and anatomies with information about their bodies. Hooray for period tech!