While robot maids are currently a pipe dream, robot concubines are now a reality, thanks to the good people at True Companion. This is almost certainly old news, but thanks to impending fatherhood my finger is so far from the pulse of sex-related journalism that it took me almost two months to post this. In the off-chance that you are unaware of this technological breakthrough, here's what you need to know about Roxxxy, the world's first functional sex robot:
LAS VEGAS--A New Jersey company says it has developed "the world's first sex robot," a life-size rubber doll that's designed to engage the owner with conversation rather than lifelike movement.
At a demonstration at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas on Saturday, the dark-haired, negligee-clad robot said "I love holding hands with you" when it sensed that its creator touched its hand.
Another action, this one unprintable, elicited a different vocal response from Roxxxy the robot. The level of sophistication demonstrated was not beyond that of a child's talking toy, but Roxxxy has a lot more brains than that – there's a laptop connected to cables coming out of its back. It has touch sensors at strategic locations and can sense when it's being moved. But it can't move on its own, not even to turn its head or move its lips. The sound comes out of an internal loudspeaker.
Douglas Hines, founder of Lincoln Park, N.J.-based True Companion LLC, said Roxxxy can carry on simple conversations. The real aim, he said, is to make the doll someone the owner can talk to and relate to.
"Sex only goes so far – then you want to be able to talk to the person," Hines said.
The phrases that were demonstrated were prerecorded, but the robot will also be able to synthesize phrases out of prerecorded words and sounds, Hines said. The laptop will receive updates over the Internet to expand the robot's capabilities and vocabulary. Since Hines is a soccer fan, it can already discuss Manchester United, he said. It snores, too.
Owners will also be able to select different personalities for Roxxxy, from "Wild Wendy" to "Frigid Farrah," Hines said. He's charging somewhere from $7,000 to $9,000 for the robot, including the laptop, and expects to start shipping in a few months.
A Japanese company, Honey Dolls, makes life-size sex dolls that can play recorded sounds, but Roxxxy's sensors and speech capabilities appear to be more sophisticated. Hines' goals are certainly more far-reaching.
An engineer, Hines said he was inspired to create the robot after a friend died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. That got him thinking about preserving his friend's personality, to give his children a chance to interact with him as they're growing up. Looking around for commercial applications for artificial personalities, he initially thought he might create a home health care aide for the elderly.
"But there was tremendous regulatory and bureaucratic paperwork to get through. We were stuck," Hines said. "So I looked at other markets."
The broader goal of the company is still to take artificial personalities into the mainstream, beyond sex toys, Hines said.
"The sex robot thing is marketing – it's really about making a companion," he said.
In a 2007 book, "Love and Sex with Robots," British chess player and artificial intelligence expert David Levy argues that robots will become significant sexual partners for humans, answering needs that other people are unable or unwilling to satisfy.
Men have often dreamed it, but it hasn’t become a reality until today: the sex robot. The technology was developed by Douglas Hines of True Companion, an electrical engineer and computer scientist who formerly worked in the artificial intelligence lab at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Roxxxy, the sexy bot, is a completely anatomically correct and customizable companion (from features to hair color) that exhibits different personalities and responds to touch.
Depending on your mood, you can assign the robot different personalities such as Frigid Farrah or Mature Martha, who will respond differently based on the personality you choose. For example, if you hold Mature Martha’s hand, she may say “I love holding hands,” whereas if you touch Frigid Farrah she may say “What are you going to do with that hand?”
The coolest part about the robot is that you can build your own custom personality based on your preference or tweak an existing personality. Once you develop a personality you really like, members can share it with friends on True Companion’s website. The website sync also makes the robot compatible for updates and new features or sexy quirks such as a robot that responds to a S&M safety word. More like a social networking site, True Companion’s site will have a monthly fee.
The 2 1/2 year project was estimated to cost around 1 million dollars and the robot itself will cost from $7,000 to $9,000 depending on the level of customization you choose. New robots are in the works that will build upon this internal computing model and incorporate more movement. The male version, Rocky, available as a gay robot or a heterosexual robot is currently being developed.
True Companion claims that the robot isn’t solely used for sex but is rather a life partner or mate for those who can’t find or don’t want the real thing. According to True Companion’s Web site, she “can carry on a discussion and expresses her love to you and be your loving friend. She can talk to you, listen to you and feel your touch.” Well, Roxxxy certainly won’t make you put the seat down.
When it comes to technology, the sex industry is no laggard, and as robots become more human-like in their appearance and abilities, US-based company TrueCompany is poised to launch Roxxxy – the world’s first sex robot - that has many more capabilities than your average sex doll. Apart from having better defined physical features than previous dolls, Roxxxy has been programmed with her own personality and her manufacturers say she can listen, talk, carry on a conversation, feel your touch and respond to it, as well as move her private areas inside when she is being “utilized” to deliver an unforgettable erotic experience. There are even plans for a male version - Rocky the Robot.
Roxxxy is the ninth version of TrueCompanion’s sex robot. She began development in 2001.
“Our first sex robot, Trudy, was built in the 1990s and was not designed for resale. Rather, she was a test bed to refine techniques which we would later use in Roxxxy and Rocky TrueCompanion,” says designer and partner Douglas Hines.
While Roxxxy might look like a high-end quality doll, Hines assures us that the similarities end there.
Apart from her ability to move certain sections of her anatomy (her three high quality construction “inputs” as he delicately states) she also has a personality which is matched as much as possible to her owner's personality.
“So she likes what you like, dislikes what you dislike, etc. She also has moods during the day just like real people! She can be sleepy, conversational or she can ‘be in the mood’,” says Hines.
She even has an orgasm!
Roxxxy has a heartbeat and a circulatory system! The circulatory system helps heat the inside of her body.
Apart from the usual options sex dolls come with, purchasers can specify her hair color, hair style, skin tone, makeup selection, etc, (the company can also accommodate custom requests), Hines says Roxxxy owners may decide to have the sex robot use one of her five other pre-programmed personalities:
* Frigid Farrah – reserved and shy
* Wild Wendy – outgoing and adventurous
* S&M Susan – ready to provide your pain/pleasure fantasies
* Young Yoko – barely 18 and waiting for you to teach her
* Mature Martha – very experienced and would like to teach you!
And/or “you can build your own additional girlfriend personalities,” adds Hines.
“She interacts just like a human interacts,” says Hines. “She hears what you are saying as well as where you are touching her and responds as appropriately as possible.”
For instance, if you have Roxxxy using her “Frigid Farrah” personality and you touched her in a private area, more than likely, she will not be too appreciative of your advance. But if your Roxxxy is using the “Wild Wendy” personality, she will want you to do it again!
Roxxxy is flexible enough to allow owners to add to the five preloaded girlfriend profiles and change the existing five personalities to better suit their preferences.
Hines explains that it is possible to share girlfriends (other Roxxxy robots) with other owners by “swapping” them back and forth online.
“For example, you lend your custom-built girlfriend, ‘Sexy Susan’ to one of your friends online – but he can only ‘use’ her until Sunday morning and then she needs to be returned to you. Until Sunday morning, he can ‘engage’ your girlfriend by using your Sexy Susan personality with his Roxxxy sex robot. You also have the option of sharing your girlfriend with everyone in our forum if you would like. You will also have access to everyone else’s girlfriends, if they allow them to be shared.”
Hines says this is the same as wife or girlfriend-swapping without any of the social issues or sexual disease-related concerns.
“All of these features, which all of our sex robots share, make them truly a unique experience,” he says, proudly.
At present, Roxxxy models can only speak English but the company anticipates releasing Japanese, Spanish and German-speaking versions soon.
Hines says the company is pleased to have had thousands of requests to buy the sex robots and has had many inquiries with additional questions.
“When you decide to have your own Roxxxy, you will also be subscribed to a monthly support plan that will cover any general support questions as well as updates to your Roxxxy,” says Hines.
“Since the subscription service includes updates, she requires a link to the Internet via Wi-Fi. If necessary, you can hook her up to a network cable if you do not have wireless access at your location.”
Who are potential buyers of Roxxxy (and Rocky)?
Hines says the sex robots are helping individuals as well as couples spice up their sex lives as well as giving them a true companion (i.e. TrueCompanion) to share their most erotic fantasies or simply to have someone provide them with companionship and unconditional love.
“We also have many people that have hit a ‘dry spell’ in their love life or do not have many suitable mates living near them. Other couples want to experience a ‘threesome’. We are happy to make our customers’ dreams come true with their own TrueCompanion.”
For those worried about privacy, Hines states that all information is kept confidential. “Also, all billing and shipments reference the generic computer-sounding company name of our partner company: Data Software Solutions, LLC or Data Software Solutions Support. Roxxxy ain’t cheap. This top shelf gal’s base price is US$7,000 but as Hines attests, she’s not a sex doll, she’s a sex robot!
“We have a limited time deep discount program being offered as well as flexible payment plans."
Details are on the TrueCompanion website.
I would probably have a similar expression on my face if the gentleman pictured was sitting behind me.