Angelina Aleksandrovich is an eclectic mind. She has always been fascinated by technology and its ability to synergize with natural elements to create exciting innovations. For her graduation project, Aleksandrovich developed a mushroom mycelium VR headset. It was the start of a brilliant career in Extended Reality (XR).
Extended Reality (XR) is the term used to describe immersive technologies capable of uniting the physical and virtual worlds. It combines all immersive technologies: augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) in addition to those that have yet to be created.
The professional beginnings
He worked in a virtual reality production company, OMM, and later as a freelance professional, developing multisensory experiences for big brands. After a good realization in this field, in 2018 Angelina founded Raspberry Dream Labs (RDL), a startup that creates innovative multisensory solutions for sexual experiences using XR technology.
Why did the Ukrainian entrepreneur choose this particular field?
First of all, says Aleksandrovich, for never having received a sex education. This has led her since she was a girl to want to understand the truth about sex and sexuality, in a period (between the late 90s and early 2000s) that was really unfortunate for a girl in Ukraine.
"Discovering myself as a teenage sexual subject was not well received by my peers," he says. "When I was 12, I behaved (like playing a part) like an uninhibited adult woman. This exposed me to giggles, jokes and dirty comments."
Then the move to the UK, and the comfort of art. The degree in Graphic Design Communication from a London University and the beginning of the exploration on feminism, gender, identity, robotics, science fiction and future of sex.
Transhumanists do it better
Describing herself, Angelina says: "I am a futurist and transhumanist specializing in creative storytelling through extended reality (XR) technology."
Transhumanism, explains Angelina, is "a philosophical movement that supports the transformation of the human condition by developing. Transformation through sophisticated technologies widely available to greatly improve the intellect and physiology."
Improve sex between humans
RDL's goal is not to replace human sexual relationships with technological solutions, but to enhance and expand them beyond physiology, creating a new era of unlimited experiences.
His futurist and transhumanist vision forms the core of RDL, which investigates the potential of human multisensory capacity through academic research and immersive experiences. The goal, as mentioned, is to improve the relationship people have with their sexuality, themselves and others. It also works to break taboos on sexuality and create a healthy and positive future for sex by introducing sexual experiences that are no longer subject to the limitations of the human body.
Sex actually extended
To achieve its goals, RDL is currently working to three different projects.
The first, sensory seduction, is an ongoing artistic research that explores the nature of multisensory sexual arousal, and how it can be shared among multiple individuals in XR. The startup has created Raspberry Dream Land, an all-inclusive VR universe under construction with thematic islands, a hub for virtual reality sex and the virtual headquarters of RDL.
The second project is a community-centered series, UNSENSORED, that helps start conversations about sex that are positive for the body and mind, and bring the focus back to sexual well-being. The series features four types of events, which help break existing taboos in both physical and virtual reality. Bi-monthly mini-conferences and bi-weekly chats in the VR world of Raspberry Dream Land to talk, share, listen and learn all aspects of physical and virtual sex.
The third project, SENSIBLE, is a calendar of themed evenings, with shows that extend sexual experiences with the use of technology and extended reality.
Challenges and censorship
Angelina Aleksandrovich sheds light on two constant challenges facing most brands sextech must address: limited access to funds and advertising censorship. Polly Rodriguez, co-founder of Unbound, a sextech from New York, complains of similar problems and constant censorship on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Aleksandrovich is very firm on this point: "The cis white male patriarchal system we currently live in does not support diversity of sexual expression and attempts to suppress female brands that are dedicated to revolutionizing sex with innovative ideas and products" . His brand has been overshadowed on Instagram and Facebook.
What does "has been overshadowed" mean?
Raspberry Dream Labs content is partially blocked for a larger online community. New users are unable to find the brand through organic search, their posts will not appear in the "explore" tab as a recommendation based on the user's interests. They also cannot create paid ads on both platforms, as the content is classified as "sensitive" and "violates community guidelines".
"This is absurd, as the platform allows ads related to erectile dysfunction, but unfairly bans ads for the pleasure of women," adds Angelina Aleksandrovich.
Angelina Aleksandrovich, the way forward is the "technological reform of sex"
Even for issues like these, the global coronavirus pandemic has been an accelerator. Many people, Angelina says, previously didn't consider sexual wellness apps or VR simulators, but now they are starting to show interest (or find benefit) in these technologies.
I am delighted to see the growing demand in this field from a wider community of people around the world. People can experience how technology can extend our intimacy and build new, positive sexual habits.
With the easing of lockdown and social distancing, RDL plans the construction of new platforms, physical and virtual, to further extend the range of sensations to be experienced to an even wider audience. Will Angelina Aleksandrovich "reform" sex by adding the additive of extended reality?