Current projects creating synthetic companions.
The long wait may soon be over. Life-sized sex dolls combined with animatronics and artificial intelligence are starting to hit the market.
Although they’re still largely in the developmental stage, these prototypes offer inklings of what fully functional sex robots may look like in the not-so-distant future.
With testing underway, it’s also a time when public discussion may very well influence the design and appearance of artificial lovers—not to mention the ways in which people may interact with them.
Today you can already take home a roboticized love doll or download an AI personality for romantic and sexual conversations.
And while certain sexbot projects are further along than others, rival companies are emerging that want a piece of this potentially very lucrative robot pie.
A well-known frontrunner is Realbotix, a project launched by Matt McMullen of Abyss Creations in California in 2015.
If you enjoy TV and film, it’s likely you’ve seen McMullen’s work. Abyss Creations makes the very popular silicone sex doll the RealDoll, versions of which have appeared in movies and shows including Lars and the Real Girl and Sons of Anarchy.
The goal of Realbotix is to create a robotic talking head that can be attached to the RealDoll body and that gives the illusion of sentience—sex dolls with artificial intelligence.
Earlier this year, the company began taking pre-orders for the robotic head by asking for a $2,000 deposit, $1,000 of which is non-refundable. The team estimates production will begin in December 2017 and that the full retail price will be $10,000. You can see the robotic head in action in the video below.
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In April, Realbotix released the beta version of the Harmony AI app, which lets you create a personality that will integrate with the robotic head. Right now it is only available on Android and costs $20/year.
With the app, you can design a virtual girlfriend by choosing her body type, style, and personality. There’s still a ways to go in developing its capabilities, but your AI companion can remember your name, your likes, and engage in some racy sex chats.
Read: Harmony AI App: Creating My Virtual Girlfriend with Artificial Intelligence
After Realbotix releases the robotic head, the company said it will begin creating the full body, which is estimated to cost between $30,000 and $60,000. Some of you will also be happy to know there are plans to create a male version at a later date.
To make interactions more lifelike, Realbotix will eventually integrate the robotic sex doll with virtual reality and add warmth to the skin, possibly even the genitals.
This endeavor is particularly exciting because the Realbotix team includes experts who have worked at Hanson Robotics. This company is world-renowned for creating exceptionally sophisticated humanlike robots equipped with impressive AI software.
Samantha is the brainchild of Barcelona-based engineer Sergi Santos. His company Synthea Amatus began selling sex dolls equipped with the artificial intelligence system in August for between €2,000 and €3,500.
Samantha’s offline artificial intelligence system has several modes, including family mode (perhaps for when guests are visiting), romantic, and hard sex. She’ll make jokes or sexy remarks according to which setting she is in. You can check out the full list of modes on the company’s website.
Although the project has one female name, you can actually buy different model types and program your companion to have the name of your choosing. The doll can also interact with voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home to do fun things like control appliances or set mood music. She does not move on her own but gives vocal responses to touch thanks to sensors placed in different areas of the body.
People who have interacted with the AI-enhanced sex doll told Future of Sex that her orgasm is her most exciting feature. Not only do they enjoy how it sounds, but how Samantha learns your sexual patterns so you will both climax at the same time.
The company has also launched Voice Book, a marketplace where you can buy different voices or even sell your own to be used in Samantha. Santos said he will create a male version of the doll if he receives a serious request.
Doll Sweet (also known as DS Doll) is a respected Chinese love doll manufacturer with two versions of a talking robotic head in the works. A company representative said the prototype speaks in Chinese, but not yet English.
The first version is now in development and the company expects it to go on sale in 2018. The final price is not certain, but the company expects it to cost $1,800 or less. The head will fit on top of all of Doll Sweet’s silicone sex dolls’ bodies that are between 158cm and 167cm. The head performs facial expressions, makes sounds from a mp3 file, and is controllable by a smartphone (both iOS and Android) or game controller.
The second version will incorporate artificial intelligence and will cost more, but Doll Sweet does not know when it will be ready for sale. It has a movable shoulder, rotatable neck, and can be controlled by voice in Chinese.
A company representative said the voice control system is already complete and that the head can talk in a fashion similar to Siri in your smartphone. For example, it can answer questions by searching a built-in database or the Internet. It can also work with a home automation system.
The company has described the project as a gigantic undertaking requiring an enormous amount of resources. It has started working on full-body sex robot but does not know when it will be finished.
Chinese company Z-onedoll makes silicone sex dolls and last year announced the sale of a new robotic sex doll: the Silicone Robot. However, representative David Lee has since told Future of Sex that the doll is being redesigned.
What can it do now? Operated by an Android app, the love doll’s animatronic head can blink and move its eyes and mouth.
It can also carry on Siri-like conversations in Chinese, while an English language system is in development. The Silicone Robot makes moaning sounds and customers can download any sounds of their choosing into the love doll.
Like other synthetics sold by the company, this one’s body heats up. Customers can control the temperature through the app, but the head, neck, breasts, hands, and feet don’t offer the warming function.
Lee told Future of Sex two silicone robots are for sale, one with heating and one without. They cost $4,900 and $4,450 respectively, with free international shipping, and take 20 to 30 days to produce.
The videos below show the Z-onedoll in action. They were filmed by Future of Sex editor Jenna Owsianik at the 2018 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.
Chinese company AI Tech released a humanoid animatronic sex doll called Emma in April 2017 after beginning development in 2013. According to company representative Lydia Chen, Emma is made of food-grade thermoplastic elastomer, she can move her head, blink, and talk to people in English and Chinese
Emma has built-in touch sensors that cause the robotic doll to moan when touched. The artificial companion can also be heated to 37 degrees Celsius, which is human body temperature. Buyers can choose from five head options as well as various other customization choices, including height, skin color, and genital type (fixed vs. removable). Version one of Emma costs $2,575.
Chen added that Emma can remember your name and your likes, explaining that “the more you talk with her, the more clever she will become.” The company also plans to add face recognition, automatic tracking, and other languages. However, Chen said since Emma supports secondary development, customers with the right skills could add their own language.
Notable mentions and past projects
If you’ve read even a few mainstream news articles on sex robots, chances are you’ve come across Roxxxy by True Companion. Founder and CEO Douglas Hines touted her as the world’s first sex robot and debuted her in 2010 at the Las Vegas Adult Entertainment Expo.
Roxxxy is marketed as having five personality modules, being able to talk and move, and costs $9,995. On its website, the company also sells a male sexbot called Rocky for the same price, which is also said to have a personality and vibrating genitals
Despite wide media coverage that continues today, robot fetishists have expressed they’ve been let down by Roxxxy, saying she was overly hyped and didn’t deliver on promised capabilities. Renowned roboticist David Levy, who’s well-known for his prediction that people will fall in love and marry robots by 2050, also wrote a paper critical of Roxxxy. In it, he expressed strong suspicion over the robot’s authenticity.
Future of Sex asked Hines how many Roxxxy robots he has sold, hoping to address a rumor that none have been bought. However, he declined to give a number stating that his is a private company.
Hong Kong inventor Ricky Ma grabbed headlines in 2016 with his lifelike Mark 1 robot—particularly for its uncanny resemblance to actress Scarlett Johansson. Taking 18 months and $50,000 to create, the robot responds to spoken phrases and performs detailed facial expressions.
While the Scarjo gynoid wasn’t designed as a sexbot, Ma told the media he’s creating a do-it-yourself sex robot manual. So if you have the skills and money, you could build your own robot companion from home.
Eva is a sex robot prototype created by Roberto Cardenas of Eden Robotics. The Guardian featured his work in April in a longform article and 16-minute video you can check out here. At the time of filming, you’ll see that she didn’t have AI or sound, and could only move her legs while lying down.
It’s unclear whether Eva is still in development. AndroidLoveDolls.com, which was linked to from the Eden Robotics site in July, featured male and female sex robots for sale. However, the site has since been taken down “due to maintenance” and the company did not respond to an interview request.
The main Eden Robotics webpage is still live, so perhaps the company has changed course. We’ll have to wait and see. But considering the state of the prototype in The Guardian video (which was quite different than the promo images on the now-defunct site), Eva does not look close to being market ready.
MacMil Cybernetics is an American company that created two sex robots: one male named Harry Harddrive and one female named Susie Software. In 2011, they were for sale for between $8,000 and $11,000.
However, it’s unclear whether anyone bought the sexbots. A few people, including us at Future of Sex, have contacted the company over the past few years without getting a response, leading us to believe it’s not in business. If you are a functioning sex robot company, you’d want to confirm it to robot enthusiasts and robosexuals, no?
In the 2011 documentary called My Sex Robot, a robot fetishist named Delosian met the man behind MacMil Cybernetics and saw the two sexbots in action. He also met Roxxxy, with some disappointment
Another project that no longer exists, at least in its original form, is BodAI. It was founded by Zak Field and Katie Aquino (aka Miss Metaverse) and had a soft launch in early 2016.
In August, Field told Future of Sex that he and Aquino are not longer working together. However, he added that he is pushing forward with a new venture that will carry out his original plans for BodAI.
So what was BodAI doing? The team was developing artificially intelligent companions inside a virtual incubator, teaching them to learn from experience and interact with humans.
The main goal wasn’t to create an AI for sex, per se, but a friend or helper that could become something more and share love and sexual intimacy. Once complete, the cloud-based AI consciousness was meant to jump fluidly from device to device, depending on where you are at the moment and how you want to communicate.
For example, you could interact with your AI companion in virtual reality, take its personality with you on your smartphone, play together on a gamified social media platform, or download the consciousness into a humanoid robot.
Sex robots of the future?
These are the projects we know about. But there are almost certainly people out there who have been secretly trying to build their own sex robots.
While news headlines and science fiction treat them with fascination, robotic lovers are still viewed as taboo to some degree. The development of sex robots has even been protested. Those who have publically displayed their creations have also dealt with ridicule. So it’s likely other projects are underway and won’t be revealed until they surpass a certain level of quality and realism.
Know of any other sex robot ventures or prototypes? Please share them below or email [email protected]
Image sources: Abyss Creations, Synthea Amatus, Z-onedoll, BodAI, DS Doll, Insider, True Companion, LifeStyleYOU, Eden Robotics, AI Tech