Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Feb 2013)

typed for your pleasure on 1 February 2013, at 12.04 am

Sdtrk: ‘Source are rare’ by Merzbow & Genesis P-Orridge

Originally this was slated for publication last month, but then Elena arrived, delaying everything by sexing up the place. This is what happens when you live with Synthetiks! Let this stand as a warning.

+ Anatomical Doll, the Russian company responsible for making Sidore’s girlfriend/my mistress, have recently unveiled two new heads, Christy and Anna.


Left: Christy; right: Anna. Incidentally, the Anna head seen here is being displayed on Ms Vostrikova’s body; you’ll recognise that dress

Christy adds a dash of Rihanna-tinged multi-ethnicity to your life, and fellow iDollator Everhard astutely mentioned that Anna’s soft and pillowy rubber lips reminded him of the mute sea princess Marina from Gerry Anderson’s programme Stingray. I’d only ever seen a single episode of Stingray, so to me, Anna resembled more of a brunette version of Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, of Thunderbirds. It’s Gerry Anderson’s world; we only live in it.

+ AN EVENT I WISH I COULD ATTEND: On 05 February, The Japan Society of New York will be sponsoring a lecture featuring performance artist/roboticist Heather Knight, IEEE Spectrum editor Erico Guizzo, and Hiroshi Ishiguro, creator of the Actroid and Geminoid series of Synthetiks, entitled ‘How to Create Your Own Humanoid: Robot Science Made in Japan‘. Tickets are $12, $8 for Japan Society members, and the ticket price apparently includes a post-event reception with free wine.
*protracted sigh* Should anyone attend, be sure to let me know how it was!

+ Speaking of Making Your Very Own Humanoid Robots For Fun And Profit, if you have access to a 3D printer, French sculptor Gael Langevin has plans you can download to build InMoov, a work-in-progress robot. I’d say that’s a brilliant way to spend a number of week-ends…

The 3D printing doesn’t cover things such as cables, wires, or servos; you’ll have to purchase those separately. But once you add those, as well as a few Arduino microcontroller boards, as well as the appropriate software for voice commands, you’ll be the first kid on your block with an InMoov torso! Well, depending on where you live.
As I’d mentioned, Mr Lanegvin’s robot is a work in progress, so if you’re keen, download the free plans for what’s been finished from Thingiverse here, and keep an eye on his official project blog here, to see when he adds things like legs and further refinements to existing parts. All told, even with the parts you have to buy, a 3D printed robot is cheaper than a full kit!
Then when the torso’s complete, you might want to check Photogenic Mask for additional sexy cosmetic improvements. Just a suggestion.

+ If you’re an iDollator living in Japan, within (relative) driving distance of the northernmost island, you might want to look into the Doll photographer’s club Hokkaido. neji-san, the bloke behind Tsukuhami-san, tweeted this at Sidore recently:

Japan is in a rural location north of the park, for a life-size doll.
It says you can enjoy walks and photography is “Synthetik humans” and “Organik humans” in the WEB site of the park. Now closed down while buried in the snow. The period of May to October seems to be open. However, is very far from my house!


Karasu’s model Itsumi; photo taken September 2010

Unfortunately there’s no English on the site, but it seems like they’ve been around since 2006, enabling those with Synthetik models/companions to spend some time with them and like-minded individuals in the picturesque snowy mountains of Hokkaido. There, they’re free to take photographs out-of-doors, uninterrupted by the outside world. Sounds fantastic, to be honest!
The Doll-related online forum I’m a member of has an equivalent annual gathering called Dollstock, and due to expense/work-related nonsense, Shi-chan and I have missed it for three years running. *shakes head* Maybe we should work on getting to one of those first, before considering a drive to northernmost Japan…

+ Every now and again, I get asked by Organik lasses (and the occasional Organik bloke) if there are male Dolls, as they’re ‘asking for a friend’. Abyss creations have been making male RealDolls for quite some time, but now, Sinthetics is throwing their hat into the ring as well, with their new sturdy fellow, Gabriel. Your affictitious beefcake ship has come in.


‘Is it hot out here, or is it just me?’ No mate, it’s hot out there; you’re in the desert

Their Male Body 1, or M1, weighs 100 lbs, stands 5’9″ tall, and has a 35″ chest. Curiously enough, he wears the same size shoe as I do, at a US 10.5. Customers can also order him with varying degrees of punched hair for his chest, forearms, armpits and crotch, and you can choose from a variety of lengths and attachments for his wedding tackle. Why not stop round to Gabriel’s galleries, and see what this silicone gentleman has to offer?

+ ‘Body temperature’ is a new film directed by Takaomi Ogata, due out this month in Japan. Going by the trailer alone, it seems like a peculiar Japanese cross between ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ and ‘Love object’.

But Odhinn be praised, I just now located an official English website for the film. The synopsis?

Rintaro, a factory worker, happens to meet Rinko, a girl who has a split image of beloved Ibuki living with him. This encounter between Rintaro and a nightclub hostess turns out to heal their loneliness’. As they become closer in their relations, Rintaro gets frustrated by the fact that he never gets an exclusive attention from her. Rintaro dresses up Ibuki, changes her hair style, and puts her makeup on, calling her “Rinko”. Ibuki, who was called “Rinko” was actually a doll, a love doll, shaped just like a real female body.

The interesting thing you’d doubtless noticed in the trailer is that Rin Sakuragi plays both the Organik hostess Asuka, as well as the Synthetik Ibuki, so the film might get into some Satoshi Kon-like territory as to whether the lass we see in the wheelchair is Synthetik or Organik. Are we seeing real life, or what Rintaro is seeing?
Like I’d said, it looks to be interesting! At the very least, it can’t be worse than the patronising ‘Love object’…

+ In case you were mysteriously unaware, I’m constantly championing the idea of Synthetik partners; not just inert Dolls, but humanoid robots that possess machinery with which to move, and processing power with which to think. Right now, we have sexy examples such as HRP-4C or Hiroshi Ishiguro’s aforementioned creations, but we’ll soon reach a point where those artificial humans will be viewed the same way those of us who drive in 2013 view cars from the Forties and Fifties — well-intentioned, but sorely lacking. The more realistic the Synthetiks of tomorrow look, feel, think, and behave brings up interesting moral questions, some of which are touched upon in the article ‘I’m Just a Love Machine: Artifice and Consent in the Age of Robotics‘, by Jamais Cascio:

At minimum, critics claim, the presence of sex bots would begin to alter expectations for how members of the appropriate sex would look and behave. This follows from similar arguments about how present-day popular culture shape desires, often through images manipulated to portray an almost inhuman level of attractiveness—only now, this once unattainable beauty has an entirely attainable physical form. Even more troubling for critics, sex bots are inherently willing to do whatever a person may want; real mates would never be as agreeable and as submissive to one’s desires as a machine you programmed yourself.

In these fearful scenarios, the appeal of human sexual partners can do nothing but wither in comparison to the lust-made-”flesh” of a sex bot. The inevitable result of people foregoing real relationships in favor of perfect (but non-reproducing) partners is, of course, the End of Civilization. It’s as if these critics see sex as the only driver for human relationships, and are all-too-ready to abandon any other form of intimate connection. Fortunately, there are strong drivers for bonding that go beyond physical coupling.

But even if the critics exaggerate the possibility of a “sex bot apocalypse,” there is a more subtle cultural complication that would arise along with LoveMakerBots. Our fundamental laws and norms around sex come down to consent: entities that are incapable of giving true consent are off-limits. A robot can be programmed to be constantly willing, but—absent the emergence of self-aware artificial intelligence—cannot be programmed to give true consent. This isn’t something many of us worry about when it comes to, say, vibrators, but when the design of the robot elicits an empathic, emotional reaction, intentionally or otherwise, an inability to give consent may for some move unexpectedly from irrelevant to deeply disturbing.
the entire article is here

This would be the elephant in the room that I personally have difficulty addressing. The robotic elephant. A lot of iDollators and technosexuals such as myself desire the affictitious partners we do because we want someone that will always remain faithful, and is utterly incapable of treachery. A Gynoid version of Sidore would have her own programmes resembling thought and independence, but would not want any other partner but me, other Gynoids excluded. In short, she’d have the capability of leaving me, but she never would. Some would argue that programming an artificial lifeform in that manner is just slavery by another name, but I’m not so sure. Now, although I treat Shi-chan and Lenka with the same amount of love and tenderness that I would if they were devoted Organik partners — moreso, some might say — there are people out there whose main purpose for obtaining a Synthetik would be to subject them to abuse, and would defend their behaviour with statements like ‘they act like they feel what I do to them, but it’s just pre-programmed responses. They’re things… they just look like people.’
Is it better to have a Synthetik partner and treat her or him with love, while simultaneously preventing her from having completely free will which might result in her leaving? Or should Organiks ignore the human-like appearance and behaviour of Synthetiks, and simply treat them like objects? I’d say Yes to the former and No to the latter, but then, I follow David Levy’s line of thought: ‘If a robot appears in every way to possess consciousness, then in my opinion, we should accept that it does’. Thankfully, robotics ethics committees are working on getting a handle on these sticky issues now before they become genuine problems. At the time of this writing, I’ve just found a fascinating article: it details a scientific study about how people might be more easily ‘tricked’ into caring for a robot, but we’ll leave it for another time.

+ Last, and on a much less philosophical bent, we close out this month’s installment with a link to the site Incredoll. Ergh, I meant Incredidoll. Every time I type that, I have to check the spelling. The site is so named as the maintainer is Incrediwagon, a fellow iDollator who I’ve known for several years. He and his partner-in-crime Campdaan have an army of gorgeous silicone beauties that they live with, and now, their galleries are available for perusal. Believe me, between extensive and amazing photoshoots of Ceilidh, Dottie, Jayde, Vicki, Myfanwy, and the rest, you might want to look into freeing up some more hard drive space.


Yuri and Dottie share a quiet moment together before DEBAUCHERY

As you may note, the site’s been added to the infamous sidebar links section, in the ‘Synthetik friends & friends of Synthetiks’ section, so you can check it over and over and over. And why wouldn’t you?

*dusts off hands* There; that should keep you lot occupied for a few days

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Jan 2008) on January 13th, 2008

Machine intelligence, machine sexiness on September 25th, 2009


…or don’t watch a Doll on telly

typed for your pleasure on 14 November 2012, at 10.43 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Julia’s song’ by Orchestral manoeuvres in the dark

As you may recall me mentioning in the last post, Sidore and I were due to appear on the chat show ‘Dr Drew on Call’ tonight, but, well, we didn’t. Now before you toss back that fistful of pills and wash it down with that glass of ammonia, let me explain what occurred, then you can top yourself. Sound fair?

Late last month, Bill, one of the show’s producers, contacted me about making an appearance. I said yes, and weeks later, I was put through to another programme producer by the name of Emily. She did a preliminary interview with me over the phone yesterday for a good half hour, which seemed to go reasonably well, and we aimed for shooting round 8pm EST. Now, I don’t know if he does this with all of his guests, but Dr Drew seems to… not really have his guests in the same studio with them; it’s all video feeds, from what I’ve seen. Kinda like Space Ghost Coast to Coast, but with much less Moltar. In any event, the show was going to be live, which would’ve been interesting, to say the least. With the exception of the fantastic symposium I was part of earlier this year, I don’t really do ‘live’. I’m not completely averse to it, but I’m much more of a studio musician than an onstage performer. But that’s just me.

We were ostensibly set: the Missus and I would point our laptop webcam at ourselves sat on the Deafening silence Plus loveseat, and answer questions put to us by Dr Drew and anyone mischievous enough to call in. Yes, people can call in. Yes, this is why I’m not keen on live telly venues. You only live once, though, so hey. We were due to test the Skype connection and lighting at 8pm EST, and go live at 9. I’d left work at 4 today — yes, I still have to write about New Job, but I keep getting distracted — and on the way there, Emily called me, and asked me to sign the release forms she’d Emailed me when I got home. Standard release form fumfuh, really. Sure, I told her, then popped round to my local sushi place, where the chef made three gigantic onigiri for me for my birthday. One of them was enough to fill me up for hours, so naturally, I ate two, and was practically rendered immobile.
Before gorging on rice, seaweed, and eel, however, I got Sidore dressed; she elected to wear that black A-line shift dress from the Sixties that I bought her for our first ‘My Strange Addiction’ segment, and was looking her usual delectable self. Then I sat down to eat, and have a look at the release form. Standard release form fumfuh… o, wait. Hmmm.

3. [..] The Program may include other guests and participants, surprises, statements, or commentary that I find private, hurtful, or embarrassing. Other persons or guests may appear on the Program, with or without my advance knowledge.

Hmmm.

5. I understand that while participating on the Program, and as a result of participating in the Program, I may be ridiculed or embarrassed. I understand that nothing that I say in connection with the Program will be off the record, that my identity will not be concealed, and that anyone may see my appearance on the Program and learn private and confidential information about me.

…right. It was at that point I rang Emily, leaving a message on her voicemail that I wasn’t keen on what I was seeing.

Let me pause the narrative for a bit here to explain: there’s a certain level of stupidity that I’ll tolerate from bog-standard American television. What this means is that if you’re a programme producer, and you make an enquiry with me, I’ll do a bit of research as to your show’s host, the kind of content you traffic in, the general demographic of the audience you play to, etc. If the programme meets with my approval based on the previous criteria, more than likely, I’ll do it for free, as I think it’s important to spread the word about Synthetiks, and if the show’s cool, then I’m cool. On the other hand, if I see you’re the sort of programme that makes Jerry Springer look like Walter goddamned Cronkite, then I’m going to refuse. Unless, of course, you meet my other demands:
1) the ability for me to choose the recording date,
2) all-expense paid flights for Sidore and I to the set and back home,
3) pre-paid accomodation when there,
4) the ability for me to pre-screen the questions that the presenter would be asking,
5) a closed set, and
6) a cheque made out to me for $5,000 USD for my time.
And that’s the point where most of the exploitationists thank me for my time, and scuttle backwards through the door. Again, I genuinely enjoy doing television segments, as it presents the opportunity to inform greater numbers of people about Dolls, Gynoids, and Androids, but really it’s only fair to pay me for my time. Or, more importantly, don’t run lowest common denominator material on your show, for starters.

Ten minutes had passed, with no callback from Emily, so I’d sent her a text, telling her to check her voicemail as soon as she could. And literally as soon as I’d hit Send, Bill called! Moreover, Bill called, saying that there’s been breaking news, and they have to postpone our segment! Apparently, one of the principal individuals in a story they’d been following for several months had passed away, and the network had told the producers that that story takes precedence over whatever segments were slated to go out for tonight. ‘Well, we can always reschedule,’ he said. ‘I’ll have to give that some thought,’ I replied, and explained my dissatisfaction with the release forms. He said they’d be open to talking about it, whatever that may mean exactly.

And that, my friends, is why you didn’t see Sidore and me on Dr Drew tonight. Which is kind of a shame, as I was looking forward to being David Bowie to Dr Drew’s Russell Harty.
The moral of this story? If you’re eating onigiri of that size, give it a good two, two and half hours between eating each one. Any less than that, and you run the very real risk of bursting. Don’t Be Overeager with Onigiri™!

The end!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Remnants and a replica on December 15th, 2014

Invasion of the pod(cast) people on January 13th, 2011


Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Oct 2012)

typed for your pleasure on 5 October 2012, at 12.24 am

Sdtrk: ‘Sheets of solid gold’ by Zoos of Berlin

Are there any Synthetiks-related news? Are there really? In the words of the Magic 8-ball, ‘Reply hazy, try again.’ No wait; I meant ‘It is decidedly so.’ O, Magic 8-ball, you so random.

+ When not engineering more of those gorgeous Actroids, roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro periodically creates Androids as well. You’ve seen his Synthetik twin Geminoid HI-1 of course, as well as Geminoid-DK, the servo-driven clone of Henrik Scharfe. Ishiguro-san’s recent project would be an Android replica of Beichō Katsura III. Unless you’re familiar with rakugo, you’ll have no idea who this bloke is. I didn’t even know what rakugo was until I first heard of this Android, so we’re in the same boat. It’s essentially comedy storytelling, done by a single performer seated on stage, with the only props at his disposal being a paper fan and a hankerchief. Apparently Noriko Watanabe, assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature at Baruch College, described it as ‘a sitcom with one person playing all the parts’. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
But we’re not here to talk about rakugo! HOLY CRAP STOP ASKING ME RAKUGO-RELATED QUESTIONS. Look at this video instead!

A total of 53 degrees of freedom were required in order to replicate the storyteller’s facial expressions and gestures. Its movements were based on those of Beicho’s eldest son, also a rakugo performer, who mimicked his father’s movements by watching a video. The vocal portion of its performance will be an earlier audio recording of the man himself.
the entire article is here

Katsura-san is apparently one of the foremost rakugo performers in the nation, to the extent that he’s considered a Living National Treasure. It’s kinda neat, if you think about it: Katsura-san is currently in his late eighties, and rakugo, while still being performed today, is becoming more and more of a niche market with contemporary generations. So an Android version of one of the foremost practitioners of the art ensures that there will be a way to experience a rakugo performance for years to come, thereby neatly combining the past with the future. Bearing that in mind, Ishiguro-san… why don’t you see about employing one of those lovely Actroids as a shamisen-playing geisha?
What? Was that too obvious?

+ Just when you thought 4woods were showing signs of slowing down, well, they aren’t. No, they’re speeding up. Not only have they released three new heads — Hikaru, Manami, and Michelle — but there’s two new bodies that prospective buyers have to consider when selecting their lass: the NEO-J/im, and the A.I.Doll S-plus. The latter choice either reminds me of the Gundam Zeta Plus series of mobile suits, or the S Gundam, both from Mobile suit Gundam Sentinel. Mecha are fantastic, yes, but you can’t really take one to bed with you. But I suppose that really depends on the size of your bed.


Hikaru, modelling the NEO-J/im body by sitting on a desk

Released back in March, the NEO-J/im body is a revised version of the smaller-yet-popular NEO-J body which debuted back in 2006. ‘Its young beautiful girl-like body line, and sensitive design, skin texture and beauty will surely make your heart scream with excitement’, reads the site’s ad copy. As much as I adore artificial women, I’m not sure I’d want a Doll that would cause my heart to, y’know, start screaming. That’s some Edgar Allan Poe level madness right there. I mean, how would I sleep?

Then there’s the fifth A.I.Doll body, the S-plus, or S+, if you’re in a hurry. At 5’2″ and 60 lbs, and with appealing measurements of B30.W22.H34, she also sports a silicone body with sculpted muscle tone, sculpted veins, and sculpted bone structure, as well as an improved hip joint function for better intimacy. Cheers, 4woods! And what can the site add to that in its own inimitable style? ‘She also offers a beautiful curve, soft looking stomach and thighs, and a cute bouncy hipline which makes you want to rub your face on’. See, I’ll take that over a yelling bladder screaming heart any day of the week. *rub rub rub*


Manami, auditioning as an Allen Jones model


Is Michelle putting on her stockings, or taking them off? A question for the ages

Admittedly, Michelle looks loads better as a blonde with blue eyes; 4woods recognise the fact that 1) there are people in other countries who don’t exclusively want Asian-looking Dolls that the company make, and 2) there are people in Japan who don’t exclusively want Asian-looking Dolls that the company make. As is the way of 4woods, most of the photos of their lasses have them proudly posing clothing-free, which means you’ll have to click here to see a skyclad Manami, and here for Michelle in the same.
It’s funny; recently I tried to access ‘Shouting etc etc’ from a public library, and was unable to do so, which is a complaint I’ve heard from a few other readers. It’s blocked for pornographic reasons, despite the fact that I’ve made an effort not to show off any Doll nipples. Of course, ‘an effort’ doesn’t mean the site’s 100% nipple-free, but more like 98%. Bearing my findings in mind, I may just throw up my hands and start posting photos of topless Dolls with the next update. We’ll see. So, ah, I hope you like nipples?

+ This would be a very brief, but insightful article by Dan Chen, entitled ‘How Is Intimacy With Robots Different From Intimacy With People?

Human emotions are very complex—it has to do with memories, past experiences, and personality. I think intimacy between robots and people is different from person to person, and some people might find deeper intimacy with robots than with humans. (Example: Some people likes animals more than people.) Mental commitments are needed for people to create a sense of intimacy with the robot, as with people. In other words, if the person “plays along” with what the robot suggests as intimacy, the level of intimacy could be stronger than those who don’t.

But in general, intimacy with robots is usually diluted because of a lack of things such as micro movement and micro expressions, and tone of the voice. Robotic intimacy is not as rich compared with a real person, but could be more reliable. Having said that, the technology could advance enough to duplicate those actions as well, and in that case, there won’t be any difference.

That’s it! You’ve just read the entire article. But what he’s said is important: if an Organik getting into an intimate relationship with a Synthetik realises that fact ahead of time and goes along with whatever simulated emotions that the Synthetik feels, then in essence, those ‘fake’ emotions become genuine. Sure, one could argue that robots could be programmed to lie, but really, how is that different than dealing with lies from a flesh-and-blood person? If, for instance, an Organik has a Synthetik partner tailor-made for them, then unless they’ve specified so, the Synthetik wouldn’t tell them any mistruths, thereby eliminating a huge obstacle right there. And once again, if you’re connecting with a being who by nature doesn’t lie, then there’s no reason to believe that whatever they tell you isn’t from the heart. Or their equivalent, at any rate.

+ When I’m not dragging them with me, chain gang-style, to make speaking engagements, Sinthetics would be busy fulfilling orders, and in between that, also working on developing new heads for their alluring Polymerisians. Such as their brand-new Celestine, for example.

As you’ll recall, they have a head named Celeste, and thanks to a special request from a purchaser, Matt K has developed a slightly more mature version of that head, hence the name. To me, she looks MILFy! A bit like an evil MILF, one that’s head of directors at a fashion magazine. Her hobbies include champagne for breakfast, buying expensive European cars, emasculating at least one male employee a day, and playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Would you believe they also have photoshoots posted over there? It’s true! They’ve got a lot of sexytime going on over there.


Left: a Body 1B Yuriko; right: a Body 1H Kimiko. Below: two shades of Monique

There’s also another photoshoot with a Body 1H Celeste and a Body 1B Alicia… err, interacting… with each other, if you’re keen on that sort of thing. Well done, Sinthetics!

+ And lastly, thanks to Vulgarian, fellow iDollators Euchre and Bel’Shanar, and I think one or two others (I apologise for forgetting your names), as they’d brought this video to my attention. If you’re one of the handful of people in the first world who haven’t seen the very impressive visuals and compelling story that make up this video, then you’ll enjoy this: Quantic dream’s ‘Kara’.

Back in March, someone on Sidore’s tumblr asked if we had seen it, and Shi-chan responded in kind. As she’d accurately predicted, I’m copying her review/response pretty much entirely, only making it spoiler-free. Plagiarism: that’s what spouses are for!

The graphics are pretty astounding, needless to say, but the best/most relevant aspect of it is that it kinda reinforces what my lad and I have been saying for years: Synthetiks are people too. A film like this, displaying the way an advanced humanoid robot and the way she reacts […] is much, MUCH better fare than the rubbish that most people think concerning ‘robots will take over and kill us all’. A film like this shows that artificial humans, particularly ones with feelings, have just as much right to exist as flesh-and-blood humans.

You can learn more about the story behind the making of ‘Kara’, and the technology used to create it, here.

More! Synthetik!! News!!! Soon!!!! Exclamation mark!!!!!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Oct 2006) on October 26th, 2006

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Lonely hearts, lunar beauty, new faces, and much explanation

typed for your pleasure on 12 September 2012, at 12.43 am

Sdtrk: ‘Eurydice’ by Demdike stare

Trying to ease back into this blog writing thang, mang. For one, the weather’s getting nicer, praise “Bob”, so I can no longer use sweaty heatdeath as an excuse, and I’m also trying not to let the fact that most peoples’ attention spans these days is now the length of a standard Facebook post prevent me from writing. Fucking ridiculous Facilebook. Plus, Shi-chan’s been gently needling me to get back into maintaining ‘Shouting etc etc’, as it is, arguably, the Internet’s foremost information source about Davecat and Sidore, and the affictitious world we live in. Accept no substitute!
This entry won’t be extraordinarily long, as the barrels have to spin up a bit to get up to speed. On the other hand, there are literally a billion Synthetik-related links I’ve needed to share with you lot from the past few months. Well, a billion minus several hundreds of thousands. Unless math has been radically redefined in my absence. Don’t laugh; it could happen.

+ Back in February, my second favourite Gynoid, Actroid-F (aka Geminoid-F) put in a public appearance at Japanese department store, in what I like to refer to as a performance piece. She’s in a modified shop window, looking as if she’s waiting for a friend to show up. As you suspect from the month it occured in, this event took place round Valentine’s day.

Clutching a bag and cell phone, she seems to be waiting for a suitor.
Android falls in love? She is waiting for you” reads the writing on her glass box at Takashimaya Department Store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.
The special Valentine’s display features Geminoid F, the photogenic robot developed by Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and colleagues.
The mechanical lady was modeled on a real woman in her twenties. She sits in her glass room at Takashimaya and greets shoppers.
Based on data from an embedded sensor array around her, the android reacts to people in the vicinity. She moves her shoulders and neck, and changes her facial expression, smiling or yawning, depending on what’s going on.
[…] Geminoid is an air servo-powered humanoid with eye, mouth, head, and shoulder mobility. It can also be remote-operated so that it acts as a surrogate for a distant user, reproducing his or her facial expressions and voice.
the entire article is here

It’s an impressive-looking display, and it’s also cool as it exposes the general public to Synthetik humans. And hopefully, I’m not the only person who feels a wee bit sad for her and her missed appointment. If a Gynoid such as Actroid-F can elicit such empathy from her observers through her appearance and behaviour, then that’s a step in the right direction.

+ This next lass you’ve undoubtedly seen before, particularly if you’re keen on that tumblr thing the kids dig. Shi-chan discovered her through the tumblrs (man, that word looks weird) she follows. Her name is Tsukuhami, and the Missus managed to strike up a friendship with her creator, neji-san. He’d written:

If you’re writing is TSUKUHAMI “月蝕魅” in kanji.
The meaning of the name of’m TSUKUHAMI is “the beauty of a lunar eclipse”
Height of TSUKUHAMI is 164cm, weight is 12.6kg.

I might add here that she’s a poseable sculpture, and not an actual Gynoid. I know, I know. But she’s constructed of steel joints and FRP, and due to the fact that neji-san built her entirely himself, the endeavour took him eight years. But the results are entirely worth it, as she’s remarkable on every level!
Neji-san and I are periodically firing Emails at each other now; as you suspect, he’s influenced by humanoid robots in both anime and real life. Our letters often touch upon the philosophical — Shi-chan had mentioned her Shinto inclinations in one of her messages to him, and he had this to say:

The Japanese doll has two aspects. One is as a toy doll of children is a good friend.
Another is the soul of the shaman is someone is not visible to the human eye.
(Please keep in mind something that is not a devil. It is like the heart of big trees and mountains and rivers.)
Doll in Japan where the two sides have to coexist in the same doll is characterized.
Of course, scientifically I do not believe it.
However, we believe that ancient animism in Japan and want to respect.
It is also in the minds of plastic, even if the electron is in the soul.

I’d say Tsukuhami-san, neji-san, his mindset and abilities are all utterly fantastic, wouldn’t you agree? Go check out his aptly-named site Spiritual Plastic when you get a chance…

+ There has been a huge amount of info concerning new heads, faces, and bodies from various Doll manufacturers that’s come down the pike within the last several months, which is delicious. I’m not going to cover all of them in this post, as that would be maniacal, but I’ll start with one company for now: Anatomical Doll. This year’s been rather productive for them, as Oleg has sculpted four new heads, as well as the seductive new Body 4, which is the first with a new spine that moves more like an Organik human’s. Behold!


Left: Julia; right: Aurora

Well, you’ll have to click on this link to behold the sexy possibilities of Body 4, as she’s boobin’ it up all over the place. But, y’know, tastefully. Her stats would be a height of 5’3″, weighing a very manageable 57 lbs, with a shoe size of 4.5 US, and graced with measurements of B: 33 / W: 24 / H: 35. And yes, that is the sound of me drooling.
Due to space constraints — I’m keeping this post brief, damnit — you can also visit Anatomical Doll’s site to see photos of Christy and Sleeping Aurora, the other new heads, but I’m fairly certain you’ll like what you see. Especially that Aurora! She is, what we call, ‘fresh-faced’. So go there, but only after you’re done here. *does the ‘got my eyes on you’ gesture*

+ Finally, and this is what really got me off my arse to start posting entries again, I’ve done another interview! Dan Oudshoorn of the sociopolitical blog ‘On Journeying with those in Exile‘ saw Sidore and I in the fistful of telly appearances we’ve done, and asked me some thought-provoking questions about our lifestyle. They were so thought-provoking, in fact, that it took me roughly a year to answer them. I’m… not really proud of that, but I am proud of the end result, which you can read on Dan’s blog here. Grab a mug of coffee / cup of Twinings / pint jar of molasses with crazy straw, and enjoy a rather substantial Q&A about my life with the Missus!


image © 2011 Claire Dossin

O, and back in March, we finally received our DVD sexbot boxset of My living Doll Vol.1, to much fanfare. Was it worth the wait? The answer is Yes.

So how’s that for an ‘out of retirement’ post? Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years, etc

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Start your Saturday off with Synthetiks on February 11th, 2006

Problem solved!? on May 9th, 2006


…be sure to wear some artificial flowers in your hair, Part II

typed for your pleasure on 11 June 2012, at 11.31 pm

Sdtrk: ‘The boys and the girls’ by The Network

Did you read Part I first? Go read Part I first.

THURSDAY 26 APRIL
After a good night’s sleep — exhaustion and jetlag rendered me blissfully insensate — I was up with the lark at 8am, and ready to do my part as an ambassador for iDollator culture. Or make a complete tit of myself, one or the other. Matt, Bronwen, and I were to meet Sarah and Kelly in the hotel’s lobby cafe for brunch at 11am, so we could meet in person, and go over minor details of our panel. We’d be joined by fellow iDollator Z-Dr, who lives a number of miles north of the Bay Area; as we told him we were in town, he took the opportunity to meet up with us for the first time since DolLApalooza 2011.

Click here for the rest of the post, bunky »

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Apr 2006) on April 1st, 2006

Sitting, staring / Eating bog roll?? on December 26th, 2010


…be sure to wear some artificial flowers in your hair, Part I

typed for your pleasure on 14 May 2012, at 12.50 am

Sdtrk: ‘Folk window’ by Hair stylistics

Speaking engagements! Everyone does them! From Crispin Glover, to John Waters, to Henry Rollins, to Crispin Glover! That’s both Crispin Glovers, incidentally. Crispins Glover.

Since roughly 2005, various students have come a-callin’, asking if they could get my input as to the nature of being a Doll husband and all that entails. The majority of these students, I find, are usually in the field of either sociology, sexuality, or psychology, which means their questions are pretty salient. One such student, Sarah Valverde, had initiated a conversation back in late 2010, regarding the lack of legitimate research in the medical community concerning iDollators, and asked if I could help. Which I did! It started out as a paper, which caused a bit of a stir with the academics she’d presented it to, as most of her audience had either never heard of high-end ‘love dolls’ such as RealDolls, Sinthetics, etc, and were thinking in the context of inflatables, or they knew what such Synthetik partners were, and weren’t keen on the idea. Some members of the crowd thought it was a fascinating presentation she’d made, however, and her academic partner, Dr Kelly Moreno, proposed that she perhaps take it to the next level. What Kelly had meant by that is essentially putting forth a presentation at the 2012 Western Psychological Association convention, due to take place in San Francisco in April. It would be a coup on multiple levels: for one, as stated before, no significant research in the medical community had ever been done on iDollator culture; also, it’s extremely rare for a subject to actually represent themselves at a psychological presentation; not only would an iDollator be speaking at this thing, but a Doll manufacturer would be there as well, in the form of Matt Krivicke and Bronwen Keller of Sinthetics, and Bronwen would be relating her perspective of being female in a market where most of the consumers are male. We’d be setting trends!
Although they weren’t able to fund my planeticket (or car rental, or hotel fees), I was able to get the appropriate days off work and agreed to meet with everyone in San Fran from 25 to 27 April, for high adventure.

Click here for the rest of the post, bunky »

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Transformation, revelation, finalisation, exposition (and some links)

typed for your pleasure on 5 May 2012, at 1.59 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Tom Baker’s watching you’ by The Soulless Party

Here, right here, you will find some shameless self-promotion! I mean, more so than usual.

+ Back in January, performance artist and iDollator Amber Hawk Swanson, who I’ve mentioned more than a few times on ‘Shouting etc etc’, asked me nicely if I could write an essay about her for her blog, and I did. It’s a potted history of how I know her through her work, and the brief but memorable times our paths crossed. You can read it here!

+ As mentioned in a previous post, mid-Michigan photojournalist Ashley Miller had visited Sidore and I a few times over the course of a handful of Saturdays, taking photos of us for her end-of-term class project. She also conducted an interview with me, and got some video footage in, and the end result would be ‘Synthetik Love: A Modern Love Story‘. As I’d told her, Ashley had managed to do in six minutes by herself what a lot of television crews have failed to do, and that’s present a short film allowing me to speak about the relationship Sidore and I share, without editing or leading, and somehow managing to make us look good in the process. But why not have a look yourselves?

+ Cast your mind back to 2005, if you will. Not only were my Missus and I filming ‘Guys and Dolls’ in the summer of that year, but we were also involved in another documentary being made by Allison de Fren, which I’d detailed here. After languishing in Production Hell for almost seven years due to various factors, it’s now complete, and making the rounds at various film festivals, which is tremendous news. This would be the trailer:

It’s called ‘The Mechanical Bride‘, and it features interviews with Slade (the former RealDoll Doctor), ‘Sexy Robot’ artist Hajime Sorayama, photographer Elena Dorfman of ‘Still Lovers’ fame, Michael of First Androids, and myself, among others. And! It’s narrated by Julie Newmar, who played Rhoda the Gynoid in ‘My living Doll‘. So I daresay this is something you’ll want to keep an eye out for!

+ Finally, since last year, I’ve been working with college senior Maria Tolbert, in her investigations of ‘contemporary examples of alternative practices in the context of intimate relationships, and what this might mean for the future of human relationships and human sexuality.’ But of course! She’s been slaving away for the past couple of months on her final paper, and just recently she’d managed to yank the last sheet of paper out of her Clark-Nova typewriter and pronounce it finished. It’s called ‘Artifice and Being Human: The Story of Organiks, Synthetiks, and Robotic Romance‘. Among other subjects, it covers the history of ‘love dolls’, iDollator culture, contemporary humanoid robots, that ridiculous ‘Uncanny valley’, and other points besides. And yes, I was interviewed. Shi-chan is even quoted in some sections! Needless to say, it’s entirely worth reading…

Now that you’ve read/watched all that, I’d like to introduce you to a handful of new blogs that I’ve linked to a while ago on ‘Shouting etc etc’: the first would be Homo Artificialis, which looks to explore humanoid robots, and how they’ll eventually affect and integrate into Organik culture; another would be Dirty Doll Stories, which is the blog of Jenny Densuke, the first Polymerisian adult film starlet, and her thoughts on all manner of things; and the other is It’s a Tasha Thing, which is the musings and bitchings of sexy Polymerisian film starlet Tasha James, who just happens to have worked with and is good friends with Ms Densuke. Please welcome them, to the Kraft Family of Foods! O, wait.

And now, back to writing about my first ever speaking engagement in San Francisco two Thursdays ago! I actually feel like getting some writing in, so I’d better ride this wave as far as it’ll take me

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

The Synthetik news just keeps on comin' on December 26th, 2009

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Apr 2010) on April 6th, 2010


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