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

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The Russians are coming! That’s a double entendre! Part II

typed for your pleasure on 23 January 2013, at 12.33 am

Sdtrk: ‘Perfect life’ by Belong

Now, when I say this is Part II, I’m being only half-truthful. I mean, as you’ve read Part I already, you’ll know that I’ve pretty much tidily wrapped up the tale regarding How I Got Elena Home. This post goes more into observations that I’ve made about her, now that she’s been with us for a few weeks.
She quite likes it here, incidentally! Although with it currently being Winter, periodically I’ll whinge about it being snowy out, and she’ll almost always respond with ‘You call that snow??’, followed by several minutes of cynical laughter. Eventually, I stopped mentioning it.
Click here for the rest of the post, bunky »

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The Russians are coming! That’s a double entendre! Part I

typed for your pleasure on 30 December 2012, at 11.46 pm

Sdtrk: ‘The old spring town’ by The High Llamas

As you’ll have seen, there’s a seductive new affictitious lass living at Deafening silence Plus; her full name is Elena Valeriya Vostrikova, and she is a Body 4 Victoria-head Doll by Vladivostok-based company Anatomical Doll. Some of you who have seen Sidore and I in those two episodes of TLC’s programme ‘My Strange Addiction’ that initially aired throughout 2011 may recall that I’d said that I was ordering a second Doll, and since no second Doll seemed to be forthcoming, Elena took on a somewhat mythical status. For the longest time, even we were wondering if we’d ever have another playmate. But she’s home! She’s learning English, snuggling up with the Missus often, constantly asking if I can play any Cocteau twins round the flat — she’s a big fan — and generally improving our lives, in the way that only a Synthetik can. Shi-chan and I are incredibly glad to have her here!
But what was the issue between 2011 and now, you axe? Well, for one, never axe anyone a question. But I’ll tell you anyway.
Click here for the rest of the post, bunky »


Wooden crated arrival / Rocket-powered departure

typed for your pleasure on 26 December 2012, at 10.17 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Dance floor bathroom’ by Coachwhips

Time for the annual Shouting to hear the echoes Boxing Day Post! And by ‘time’, I mean that this would be the first time I’ve ever announced this sort of thing. And more than likely the last! Who has time to read a blog on Boxing Day? People are too busy punching each other!
And that’s the exact lack of cultural sensitivity that’ll prevent me from moving to Toronto.

For all of you who keep furtively checking the post announcing the impending arrival of our rubber Russian, Elena Vostrikova, she’s been safely home since the 18th of the month. I’m slowly writing the posts that’ll comprise my review of her (spoilers: Sidore and I are in love with her), as well as the tale of How I Brought Her Home, so expect that in… err, January? Yes. But Lenka’s enjoying herself at Deafening silence Plus! The Missus has someone female to interact with, and my plan of getting multiple Dolls from differing manufacturers has moved a step forward!
We’d hosted the last Doll Congress of the year round at ours; Mahtek and Noquiexis from Ohio, CJD and his Organik wife Cat from Ontario, and ‘Hans’ from Chicago were in attendance, and we were joined by Euchre later that eve for dinner. Not only was it the first official Congress we’d had since last August, but this was the first time everyone got to meet Sidore and Elena together! As usual, it was a fab time, with great people, but then, our iDollator meetups always are.

After everyone piled into their cars and went home, Lenka wanted me to get her first official photoshoot in! So I did.

Just under sixty photos is a good start, I think. She’s gonna need more clothes; she’ll never fly Korean Air again, as they lost her luggage. Lesson learned!

And on the obverse side of the coin, today I also learned that Gerry Anderson, creator of amazing science fiction productions such as UFO, Space: 1999 and ‘Doppelgänger’ (aka ‘Journey to the far side of the sun’ outside the UK), and pioneer of Supermarionation, the revolutionary technique that brough us Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, passed away today at 83 years of age.

Gerry Anderson: Obituary
BBC News | Published Wednesday, 26 December 2012

TV producer Gerry Anderson, who has died at the age of 83, made his name with classic shows like Thunderbirds – despite saying he never liked working with puppets.

After starting his career at the Colonial Film Unit, part of the Ministry of Information, Anderson set up a TV and film production company, AP Films.

But work was hard to come by, and when he was approached to make a puppet show called The Adventures Of Twizzle in 1957, he had little option but to accept.

“I was shattered when I learnt the programmes had to be made with puppets as I’d allusions of making great pictures like Ben Hur,” he later said.

“But there we were with no money, and an offer on the table. We had to take it.”

Another puppet series, Torchy The Battery Boy, followed, and the positive reaction to his wooden creations and relative failure of live action ventures persuaded him to stick with the marionettes.

The 1960 series Supercar, about a vehicle that could travel in the air, on land or under the sea, honed Anderson’s trademark formula of mystery and futuristic adventure.

It also allowed Anderson to perfect his production technique called Supermarionation.

The voices were recorded first, and when the puppets were filmed, the electric signal from the taped dialogue was hooked up to sensors in the puppets’ heads.

That made the puppets’ lips move perfectly in time with the soundtrack.

Subsequent science-fiction puppet series Fireball XL5 and Stingray were also hits, and Anderson dreamed up the idea for Thunderbirds in 1963 while listening to a radio report about a team of rescuers rushing to a collapsed mine in Germany.

The idea for International Rescue was born, and the show saw the Tracy brothers take off in their fleet of space-age craft from the secretive Tracy Island to complete daring rescue missions and combat nefarious villains.
the rest of the article is here

After Doctor Who, UFO has to be one of my favourite science fiction programmes from England. Its optimistic view of the future — the series took place in 1980 — was the kind of future that I would’ve loved to live in, as the fashion and architectural design was completely informed by the Sixties. I mean, if you can’t trace a direct line from the purple wigs of the SHADO Moonbase Operators to my wife’s preferred haircolour, you haven’t been paying attention. And although I enjoy Thunderbirds, to me it pales in comparison to Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. The episodes were a better length, more espionage-driven, and every episode had the Mysterons broadcasting their intentions, as Spectrum raced to foil their plots.
Those shows, as well as most of the ones produced by Gerry’s company, Century 21, featured mechanical designs by Derek Meddings and Reg Hill, whose influence lives on in the many tokusatsu series of Japan. Years ago, I’d attended an anime convention, and one of the Q&A panels had one of the Super Sentai production staffers being interviewed; I can’t remember his name off the top of my head, but he was one of the producers. One of the friends I went with had asked if there was a correlation between all the vehicular techno-gadgetry of shows such as the Ultraman and Super Sentai franchises, and he’d replied that Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation programmes were a huge inspiration on the set and model designs. And of course, let’s not forget that we wouldn’t have Parker and Stone’s ‘Team America: World Police’ without him.

Considering the legacy of innovations that he’d created, the world will probably never see another director as unique as Gerry Anderson

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Она радостна, потому что она окончательно приходит домой

typed for your pleasure on 15 December 2012, at 4.26 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Cœur synthétique’ by Jean-Jacques Perrey

The gorgeous ginger you see before you is made by Russian Doll manufacturer Anatomical Doll, and would be the near-mythical Elena Vostrikova that you’ve been hearing about for the past couple of years.
Details to follow when she gets settled in at our home soon, so keep an eye out!

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

typed for your pleasure on 25 November 2012, at 7.01 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Scrape it off’ by YVETTE

Musing aloud: I’m curious as to how I’d go about getting corporate sponsorship from the heavy hitters in the industry. I’m thinking I’d either go with Weyland Industries, or the Tyrell Corporation. Gotta look into getting in on the ground floor of those soon…

+ You’ve probably seen news on her already, but fellow Synthetik lover Vokabre has just sent me pics and info about Russia’s first Gynoid, Alisa Zelenogradova, made by the group Neurobotics. Lookin’ good!

Her facial features are based off one of the employees, and as you can see, Alisa is highly expressive. What’s more impressive about that is that her silicone face has only has eight points of articulation, as opposed to other Gynoids; the Italian Synthetik FACE, as an example, has thirty-two. At this stage, Alisa is really just a Gynoid head on a mannequin body, but as Werner Herzog once said, even dwarves started small.
She has cameras in her eyes, and can interact with others through Skype, as telepresence is one of her intended uses. Not only that, her AI software allows her to understand and respond to quite a few questions. And, according to her page on VK, Russia’s version of Facilebook, she’s twenty-six years old, and single. If you ask me, these Russian mail-order brides are improving!


Photo © by Vokabre. That hairstyle makes her look a bit like Cilla Black

If you’re not afraid of Cyrillic characters, you can read about Vokabre’s trip to Neurobotics’ studio here. Let’s hope we hear more good news about Alisa and her handlers in 2013!

+ You’ll be pleased to know that Abyss creations and its sister site Phoenix studios are continuing to produce affictitious ladies! For Abyss’ fifteenth anniversary last year, they quietly released Crystal, a head that was initially designed for the RealDoll 2 bodies, but is compatible with most of the RealDoll 1 bodies as well, as it has a full skull design. Good thing Matt McMullen waited until the fifteenth anniversary to do something like this, otherwise we might’ve been looking at a face named Pottery, or Wool, for that matter.


photos © by Stacy Leigh

I’d say she’s really appealing — she has a very pleasing facial shape. I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with a Crystal-type in your home.
Matt also told me that not only is he going to be releasing some additional new faces soon, but he’s currently finishing off two new RD2 bodies as well. Body C will be supermodel-like in stature: tall, lean, and with a smaller bust, whereas Body D will be, as he described, ‘similar to Body 5 but with a dash of body 10 thrown in’. So busty and curvy, then? Huh! *nods approvingly*

Phoenix studios, in keeping up with the silicone Joneses, have recently debuted the Boy Toy Lite! Christmas is coming up rather soon, after all.


Right, there you are — naked Doll bOObs. Happy now?

Basically, the Boy Toy Lite is a less-articulated version of their regular Boy Toy models — as she’s more designed for play than for photoshoots, she has no articulated joints. You can rotate her arms 360° at the shoulders, and her head is capable of turning, but that’s the lot, really. She’s made of the same platinum silicone as the other Dolls, and comes in at a trim 45 lbs, but she’s got as many points of articulation as a Todd McFarlane ‘action’ figure. Still, if you’re looking to buy a Doll that you’re only really going to be engaging in sexytime with, the Boy Toy Lite should suit you down to the ground.

+ Ray Bradbury, circa 1965, writing a response to the snobbery that narrow-minded individuals held against Walt Disney’s animatronics, in an article for Holiday magazine entitled ‘The Machine-Tooled Happyland‘:

After I had heard too many people sneer at Disney and his audio-animatronic Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois exhibit at the New York World’s Fair, I went to the Disney robot factory in Glendale. I watched the finishing touches being put on a second computerized, electric- and air-pressure-driven humanoid that will “live” at Disneyland from this summer on. I saw this new effigy of Mr. Lincoln sit, stand, shift his arms, turn his wrists, twitch his fingers, put his hands behind his back, turn his head, look at me, blink and prepare to speak. In those few moments I was filled with an awe I have rarely felt in my life.

Only a few hundred years ago all this would have been considered blasphemous, I thought. To create man is not man’s business, but God’s, it would have been said. Disney and every technician with him would have been bundled and burned at the stake in 1600.

And again, I thought, all of this was dreamed before. From the fantastic geometric robot drawings of Bracelli in 1624 to the mechanical people in Capek’s R.U.R. in 1925, others have conceived and drawn metallic extensions of man and his senses, or played at it in theater.

But the fact remains that Disney is the first to make a robot that is convincingly real, that looks, speaks and acts like a man. Disney has set the history of humanized robots on its way toward wider, more fantastic excur­sions into the needs of civilization.
the entire article is here

+ In the mood to have your heartstrings vigourously tugged on? Then why not head over to cat versus human, home to art by a lass named Yasmine, and read the bittersweet tale ‘Little Robot‘, which concerns a Gynoid and her feline friend.

I apologise in advance for using this specific adjective, but both the art and story are rather *clears throat* adorbs. Be sure to thank fellow iDollator Euchre for that link, by the way.

+ And thanks to Jill Tilley, Euchre again, and about ninety-eight other people, I bring you the (in)famous Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Yes, you knew it was a matter of time before 1) Japan made this lysergic dream a reality, and 2) for me to report on it here.

In case you somehow managed to not hear about this phenomenon at all over the course of 2012, there’s a restaurant in the Kabukicho red-light district of Shinjuku that centres round female robots. From all accounts, it costs roughly $50USD to get in, the food is unimpressive, and as you can see in the above video, it is an all-out assault on the senses, as if Fellini had directed ‘Tron’. When not performing waitress duties, there are bikini-clad Organik lasses playing daiko drums, or riding neon tanks, or neon motorcycles, or a gigantic neon kabutomushi, or performing neon-lit dance routines, or piloting giant ten foot tall Gynoids that can move their heads, faces, and arms.

Now, it should be painfully obvious that I’m glad such a place exists — even though I think the Gynoid mecha look a bit bland facially, I’d have to be pried out of any one of their cockpits with a crowbar — but my christ, it’s a lot to look at. Did they get local dekotora designers to oversee the interior? Because, y’know, NEON EVERYWHERE FOREVER.
I recently asked neji-san, the bloke who created the alluring Tsukuhami, if he had been there yet, and he mentioned that the area it’s located in gets a bit rough after dark, and moreover, it seems the sort of place that doesn’t cater so much to technosexuals, but more towards gawkers and touristy types. As far as the sensory overload aspect of the club, writer Patrick Macias notes,

[T]he joint is more like a kyabakura, or “cabaret club”, than an actual restaurant. Three measly food items in all are listed on the menu, a perfunctory measure probably because it’s easier to get a license for food service than to apply for a “giant robots plus army girls and marching bands and motorcycles” license.

I’d agreed with neji-san — it’s not subdued on any level, and you run the serious risk of an epileptic seizure, but it’s definitely a place I think every technosexual-minded person should visit, given the opportunity. Perhaps the more of us that patronise the club, maybe they’ll think about branching out to other locations and making it a chain? We can only hope. Cos I mean, what’s the alternative? Hard rock Cafe?


Could this possibly be where the Tyrell Corporation will get started?

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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? (Jul 2005) on July 10th, 2005

Problem solved!? on May 9th, 2006


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