More Synthetiks news? HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE

typed for your pleasure on 23 November 2011, at 8.24 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Virginia Plain’ by Roxy music

Naturally, as soon as I posted the one for November, more notable articles started piling up. It’s not as if you’ll go home empty-handed! Which makes sense, as I’m sure most of you reading this are already at home.
Put your pants back on.

+ First off, do you recall me mentioning Yves José Malgorn, fantastic graphics illustrator of YM Graphix, back in June? Yes. He was kind enough to create an image for the rotating banner header gracing the top of ‘Shouting etc etc’, cos he’s Good People like that. As there’s currently twenty-eight banners to go through — I actually didn’t know there were that many, myself — you can also check it out here. Automatically sexy!

+ It seems that 4woods are back on course, with Sarina, a sexy new head that fits all their available bodies. 4woods are now to the point in their production line where they’ve sculpted more heads than you’ve had hot dinners.


The most alluring novelty eraser ever

Admittedly, the shot above, while stimulating, doesn’t really show her face, as the photos where her face is more visible also have her breasts as more visible. Which is something I’m not opposed to under everyday circumstances, but this is a PG-rated blog. *nods* Anyway, I’m sure you’ll check out Sarina’s gallery, but you should do it after you look through their new videos, which illustrate the new softer blend of silicone that they’re using for their lasses. They’re hypnotising, and you will watch them for hours. Fact.

+ As contemporary pop culture makes me curl my upper lip in disgust, I’m not altogether keen on Urban Dictionary. I’m simply not ‘down’ with ‘youth culture’, what can I say? But it’s not complete shite; after all, they have an entry for ‘Polymerisian‘, which is a new one on me. ‘Any person made with a synthetic polymer silicone skin with a rigid and jointed skeleton’. I can give my stamp of approval to that ‘un! Now to propagate that shit everywhere.

+ The Good People at Sinthetics have been tirelessly working on creating new… Synthetiks! Hot on the heels of their ravishing Body 2D comes the new Body 1B — as you suspect, the letters indicate the bust size — as well as Kimiko and Willow, two new heads that would look good on any body type you choose.


Kimiko proves herself more than capable of brightening up any home

I’d include a photo of Willow, but in every shot taken of her so far, her perky bosoms are on display. Which is something I’m not opposed to under everyday circumstances, but this is a PG-rated blog. *nods* As Willow is their new elfin head, she has pointy ears, as you would expect from an elf. The thing is, however, there are wires in her ears, so you can manipulate them for various poses and expressions. How impressive is that, eh?
But the best head Sinthetics have created so far would have to be Yuriko. Fact.

She’s so new, she’s not available yet, but she’s exquisite. And say, doesn’t she remind you of someone? A photographer, perhaps, that was round to snap photos of Sidore and I back in August? Yep, Azu-chan got her head scanned, and will actually be premiering her affictitious head at a gallery exhibition in Italy sometime soon. Having a backup head is always sound advice!

+ Ages ago, my Missus and I got together with an independent film director by the name of Allison de Fren, who had interviewed us, along with a cluster of other luminaries in the iDollator and technosexual cultures, for a documentary that had the working title of ‘The Mechanical Bride’. Unfortunately, between the main cameraman/editor abandoning the project and Allison herself having to pursue Higher Academia, the film was placed on indefinite hiatus. However, during an Email conversation with Sarah Valverde, she’d brought this to my attention: a dissertation that Allison had written in 2008 entitled ‘The exquisite corpse: disarticulations of the artificial female’, posted to the University of Southern California Digital Library.

The “artificial” artificial female body is often pitted against classical and normative conventions around love and beauty; it is used as a cipher for that which cannot be seen or represented, but only intuited; and it opens a space for the imagination and play, both in the sense of what children do with dolls and in the sense of linguistics or semiotics as that which decenters structure. Such roles are explored within a range of core texts — including Villiers d’Isle-Adam’s novel L’Eve Future (Future Eve, 1886), E.T.A. Hoffmann’s short stories “Automata” (1814) and “Der Sandmann” (The Sandman 1816), and Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis — and parallels are drawn to contemporary works from The Stepford Wives (1975) and Lars and the Real Girl (2007) to the Realdoll (a life-sized silicone lovedoll currently available for purchase on the internet) and ASFR (alt.sex.fetish.robots), an internet fetish community devoted to fantasies around robotic women.

It’s free to download, and very interesting reading. I’ll warn you ahead of time: it’s a Paper with a capital P, as it’s 300 pages in length, but extremely fascinating. Besides, the last twelve or so pages are footnotes, as is the way of Papers. Don’t let the length dissuade you, though; Allison clearly knows her onions.

+ It looks like Xmas is coming early! And by that, I mean it’s coming late. And by that, I mean… I don’t know what I mean. What I mean is according to TVShowsOnDVD.com, we might actually see a DVD set of Julie Newmar’s lost-to-the-ages Sixties Gynoid sitcom ‘My living Dollin our very lifetimes.


Don’t get too excited, Bob; there’s nothing but raw hydraulics under that sheet

While the studio hasn’t officially announced anything, industry sources have confirmed for us that MPI Home Video is preparing a February 28th release of My Living Doll – The Official Collection, Vol. 1. This 2-disc set will contain 11 episodes plus bonus material in the form of a special Soundtrack Music Collection, and new Interviews with star Julie Newmar, Producer Howard Leeds, Art Director James Hulsey, and more. Cost will be $24.99 SRP.

When I first read this — after I got the room to stop spinning, of course — I’d noted the set is Volume One, containing the first eleven episodes out of a twenty-six episode series. They’re still trying to locate the other fifteen episodes; there’s conflicting reports that they were wiped, or are possibly mouldering away someplace in some subterranean bunker.
Overall it’s amazing news, but I’ll truly believe it when I have a copy of Vol.01 in my sweaty hands. There’ve been a couple of instances where Very Cool Things are announced, only to have them sadly withdrawn from distribution. Three words: Hapworth 16, 1924.

+ Finally, Sarah Valverde, the psych grad student that’s invited me to the iDollator/technosexual symposium next year, has cobbled together an online survey targeting Doll owners. Up to this point, there hasn’t been any serious psychiatric study into iDollator culture, mainly due to reticence on the part of iDollators. Our community usually has to deal with wild supposition precisely because we’re reluctant to step forward and clear up myths. So in comes this survey. It’s completely anonymous, and has a number of basic questions that’ll help the psychiatric community get a better understanding of who we are, and why we have our Dolls. Surveys like this are a small but important step in helping to remove the assumptions surrounding iDollators and our culture.
The survey comes to an end on 16 December of this year. If you’re a Doll owner, please take 10-15 minutes out of your busy schedule — perhaps tomorrow, after you inhale your Thanksgiving dinner, if you’re in the States — to participate!

Well, there’s nothing to do now but wait until December. Happy 23rd!


Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Nov 2011)

typed for your pleasure on 6 November 2011, at 3.11 am

Sdtrk: ‘Marriage carriage’ by Throbbing gristle

What d’ye mean, I missed a month? No, you’re right, I missed a month. October was kinda crazy, because for one, towards the end of September, I’d started my new job. Woo and yay, right? It’s not exactly my ideal job — a call centre doing help desky-type stuff — but it’s keeping a roof over our heads, so there’s that. But my schedule’s kinda wonky, so it’s a bit difficult for a Man of Consistency such as myself to get used to, hence this delay. Also, there really wasn’t a large amount of news in either the technosexual or iDollator fields. I can’t just fabricate facts like they do over at FOX News, y’know!

+ Having said that, articles such as this managed to fire one past the goalkeeper: alert reader cw sent me a link concerning walking Gynoid legs, designed and built by the Sano Laboratory at the Nagoya Institute of Technology. Mm hmmm.


So loud! She’d be quieter in heels

Undoubtedly it escaped my search cos there’s no top half. But what you see here is half the battle! (Sorry.) But why is that bloke gripping her by the hips, apart from the obvious reasons, you ask? Think of him as her ‘starter motor’, as the legs are effectively using their own weight to move. Curiously enough, they contain no motors, sensors, computers or electricity. DigInfo explains, well, translates:

This robot is walking down a slope, and its only source of power is potential energy. It doesn’t use any kind of motor or control, so we think it’s very environmentally friendly. […] The robot has three main parts: thighs, lower legs, and ankles. It’s made of aluminum, and it contains only mechanical components, which have been adjusted so that the robot has the same thigh and leg lengths as a person, and weighs the same.
the entire article is here

As it’s passive, it’d definitely be more suited towards a Synthetik partner — i.e, someone you could literally walk with — as opposed to an independently moving Synthetik. In any case, it’s a step in the right direction. (Sorry.)

+ Coincidentally enough, here’s a new video of AIST’s Miim-chan strutting her stuff. Show us how it’s done, babe:

According to robots.net, ‘[Her] knees are stretched by the vertical movement of the waist, the single-toe supporting realizes longer strides and the legs perform the swing motion of the human equivalent’. She’s getting to be more fluid in her stride, and that’s always a fine thing to see. Or, in regarding Miim-chan, I know you fine, but how you doin’?

+ You of course recall new affictitious girl on the block Maid-Ling, right? I should bloody well hope so; I’d only just profiled her last month. Well, Titman, the creator behind her, has launched a website where you can purchase a Maid-Ling of your very own. Can the link also be found in the lefthand sidebar, under ‘Synthetik companion types’? Why yes! Yes it can.

+ Obviously, I love modern Synthetiks, but finding bits and bobs about their predecessors is just as fascinating. Like this, from a November 1931 issue of the magazine Modern Mechanix:


‘Perfectly intelligible’. Heh; they’ve never seen her drunk

Frankly speaking, with some of the Mannequins companies make today — and a dry erase board instead of a chalkboard — I think it’s high time to revive this idea. Just… don’t let Ronald Dotson know about it.

+ Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kokoro co. Ltd. have answered the question ‘With all the Gynoids that are being built these days, why aren’t there any Androids?’ Which is a bit erroneous, as Ishiguro-san himself has a Synthetik twin, as does Danish professor Henrik Scharfe. But now Actroid-F has a twin brother of her own, and both of those crazy kids are putting in appearances at various hospitals in Japan as observers:


‘What’s twincest, you ask? Wellll… we’ll tackle that question later’

It’s often said that the more human a robot looks, the more small differences make people feel uneasy. In our research, when we use this robot in the field, we check that it matches its surroundings and doesn’t look out of place. When we tested the robot in a hospital, we asked 70 subjects if having an android there made them feel uneasy. Only 3 or 4 people said they didn’t like having it around, and overall, quite a lot of people said they felt this robot itself had an acceptable presence.
the entire article is here

Facially, yes; they’re both twins. Which is interesting, if you think about it, as the male Actroid-F was facially modelled after the female Actroid-F, who was facially modelled after that Organik lass whose name hasn’t been revealed. Unlike making a FAX of a FAX of a FAX, though, the resolution’s still clear.
If I were working with the Actroids, I’d probably refer to them as Zan and Jayna. This would be shortly before I was asked told to leave the project, more than likely.

+ Last but not least, I’ve been asked to attend a bona fide symposium! Since last Summer, I’ve been exchanging Emails with Sarah Valverde, a psychology graduate at Cal Poly State University. She’d seen the Missus and I doing our thing on telly, and realised there really hadn’t been a tremendous amount of unbiased and legitimate psychological study ever done on iDollator / technosexual culture. She’d written a paper, and currently she’s finalising an online survey, and she and one of her colleagues are planning a presentation on the subject for one of the major psychological association conventions next year. One of the reasons Sarah figures that there’s not been extensive research into our cultures is that so few iDollators are willing to discuss who they are and what they’re into, and as a result, what little info the medical community receives is through the distorted lens of the media, or at the very least, second-hand. So once again, I Am Doing My Part! The biggest obstacles, really, are being able to fly out there — it’ll either be in California or Florida — and being concise/coherent enough to cover all the topics I need to in thirty minutes’ time. Thirty minutes will not be enough time. I don’t think Shi-chan will be able to come with, unfortunately; she has an aversion to the TSA and their errant groping; she can hardly be blamed. Our hope is, however, that some Doll will be able to sit on the panel with us, as an example.
More details as they unfold! I’m pretty excited! Being able to bring across an unadulterated iDollator viewpoint will do our community a world of good! I should open with some jokes. What would Oskar Kokoschka say in this sort of scenario?

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

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

Stars in their Eyes, Part I on August 3rd, 2005


Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Sept 2011)

typed for your pleasure on 18 September 2011, at 1.57 am

Sdtrk: ‘The restitution of decayed intelligence II’ by Coil

Remember, it’s not just News… it’s Newses.
Sorry, I’ll get my coat.

+ Personally, I’ve always believed that the best part of Summertime is when it ends, as we return to safe and sane Autumn, gear up for the Pagan New Year, and stop sweating like someone in middle management due for their quarterly review. 4woods remind us, however, that there are positive aspects to that hideous 3+ month period of solar heatdeath, and that’s a gallery of Elina, Hatsuki, and Lilica in bikinis!


Lilica-chan, enjoying the studio breeze


‘Luckily for me, I don’t have sweat glands!’ Hatsuki giggled. Show-off

‘This is our summer gift for you, their sexy bathing suit photos. Please enjoy their photos by imagining “they are right next to you.”‘ Okay! Ahhhh.
Well, that was lovely!

+ I’d snuck the link in for this group into the ‘Synthetik companion types’ sidebar category a few weeks ago, so it’s only right that I give them a proper mention. The FACE Team Project consists of a handful of Europeans attempting to create and perfect a humanoid robot who can replicate Organik facial expressions and emotional states. Sure, Kobayashi Labs has been doing the same with their Android SAYA, but the more groups that focus on this topic, the sooner someone’s going to hit upon a solution.


‘Why am I nervous? Why do you think?? My goddamned quarterly review’s coming up in a week!’

FACE stands for Facial Automation for Conveying Emotions. She’s capable of executing the six basic facial emotions — anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise — and she and her programmers are doing their bit to shrink down the so-called Uncanny valley. Well done!

+ For every largish company making affictitious partners, there are also modest studios composed of one or two people, working out of their basement/garage/Schloss/space station/etc, and looking to make Dolls of their own. One such individual by the name of Titman — don’t laugh, it’s the name he was born with — is just now finalising his product after eight months of work; a poseable Synthetik lass by the name of Maid-Ling.

Maid-Ling is 5’9″, has 36D.25.40 as her measurements, a 5.5 shoe size, and weighs a near-impossible 26 lbs. The standard model has a latex skin over a foam core interior, over an articulated skeleton. She can bend her arms and legs much how you would expect them to bend, although she can’t hold them in place. She also sports silicone breasts, a removable silicone vagina, and an interchangeable head. But then, who doesn’t?
$1500 USD will allow you to bring a Maid-Ling home, to fill a Doll-shaped void you may have in your lives. The titular Titman is in the process of working on a sales site/blog/thang/etc, so once that’s online, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. Probably here!

+ And now, here’s a brief video of my (current) favourite Gynoid, Miim (aka HRP-4C), showing off her ability to turn ninety degrees in one second. Dig it:

Those of you can turn ninety-one degrees in a single second may not be impressed, but it’s a pretty revolutionary capability for an artificial human. As I always say, onwards and upwards!

+ In attending DolLApalooza 2011 this past July (post pending), our crowd saw a great many impressive things! Such as the Yoshinoya at the corner of Colorado and South Brand Blvd, in beautiful downtown Glendale, California, for example. Also, we stopped round to the three SoCal Doll manufacturers — Abyss creations, Ruby 13, and Sinthetics — and emerged from each one, slack-jawed and completely tumescent. Round at the Sinthetics studios, we were witness to the birth of their brand new Body 2D, for example, and if you’ve been following my blatherings on Twitter, you’ve already seen parts of her. Sinthetics, however, have recently released official photos of her with the Alicia, Monique, Celeste, and Tawny heads. Witness the Magic:

Above: leggy Monique and Alicia; below, Celeste getting the kinks out

According to the site, the Body 2D stats are

Weight = approx. 85lb or 38.6kg
Height = approx. 5’5″ or 165cm
Over bust = 36.5” or 92.7cm
Over nipples = 37.5” or 95.3cm
Under bust = 28.5” or 72.4cm
US Bra size = 34D
Waist = 24.5” or 62.2cm
Hips = 36.5” or 92.7cm
Buttocks = 38” or 96.5cm
Inseam = 28” or 71.7cm
Shoe size = US 6.5; UK 4.5; Euro 37 (one size larger for closed toes)

which should satisfy very nearly everyone. Like I’d said, we’d seen some amazing things from all three companies that day. DolLApalooza post pending. Tumescent. Err, what was I saying?

+ Lastly, get ready for a weapons-grade cute illo of Sidore and myself, in chibi form, courtesy of the wonderful Nana Smite:

Holy crap, is that not endearing?? I can just picture our two-dimensional counterparts hanging out with Hello Kitty, propagating obscure memes and whinging about the climate

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Happy Friday the 13th! on August 13th, 2004

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


Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (July 2011)

typed for your pleasure on 23 July 2011, at 12.29 am

Sdtrk: ‘First prize (Live in Glasgow, 1982)’ by Strawberry switchblade

What d’ye know, this post is actually on time this month! Or… is it?? (HINT: it is)

+ Phoenix studios, the offshoot company to Abyss creations (think of them as The Grey Area to Abyss’ Mute records) have made a new Boy Toy C-series Doll available, not only for purchase, but also for love. Meet Cadence!


photo by Stacy Leigh

The C-series answers the question I’d once had about what course of action Phoenix would take once they ran out of months and seasons in their original ‘Calendar girls’ and ‘Seasons’ lines: the C stands for Customisable. Meaning their appearance isn’t as prescribed like the other lines, and with a multitude of options, the sky’s the limit.
The name Cadence didn’t make any sense to me at first, but once I realised that the other models in the C-series had the music-based names of Harmony and Melody, then it all fell into place. What Phoenix studios need to do is create three new models and name them Rhapsody, Symphony, and Destiny, thereby allowing any enterprising iDollators who just so happen to be Gerry Anderson fans to buy one of each, and re-enact all their Spectrum Angel fantasies from ‘Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons‘. Extra Cool Points if you ship ’em in their uniforms.

+ I’m fairly certain you’ve seen this by now, as she’s been the subject of various news and/or entertainment websites, but Japanese robotics company tmsuk wanted to improve on their dental training Gynoid Hanako Showa, so they requested the help of longstanding dutch wife manufacturer Orient industry, and the result is the adorable Hanako Showa 2.

Now remember not to confuse Hanako Showa 1 or 2 with Kokoro Co. Ltd.’s Simroid; they’re similar, but not the same. The more Gynoids the better, obviously, but what makes Hana-chan the Second different from her older sister? Orient industry made her face and hands from silicone, as opposed to the stiffer PVC that her predecessor had; plus, thanks to software from Raytron, she now has conversational ability. Hana-chan 2 also has a mouth lining that’s moulded as a single piece, a motor-driven head instead of one that was pneumatically powered, and a gag reflex. Ahem.


But did Orient industry redo her feet? This is an Important Question

Her overall aesthetic effect is only slightly marred whenever she closes her mouth, as it’s family-sized for obvious reasons, but apart from that, well done tmsuk, and well done Orient industry! Hopefully they’ll follow up with Hanako Showa 3, wherein she gets more irritated, bored, or nervous the longer you make her wait in the lobby.

+ Speaking, as we were, of Orient industry, it’s Summertime, which can only mean one thing — limited edition yukata matsuri (kimono festival) postcards! Well, .pdfs, actually. Quit your whinging, they’re free.


Left, Tomoko; right, Koyuki

Like I’d said, they’re limited edition, which means they’ll no longer be available after 31 August, so get a wriggle on!

+ Do you recall how Actroid DER2 was a spokesbot for Kincho’s Preshower spray back in 2008? This year, it looks like her sister Actroid Sara, former Aichi World Expo 2005 guide and last seen at iREX back in 2009, has taken up the mantle for a new advert. Nice!

Wolfgang and his wife, Masako, took some valuable minutes out of their day to translate the dialogue, cos they’re pretty fantastic like that:

Actroid Sara: The bug repellent that doesn’t hurt your skin, Preshower! The bug repellent that doesn’t hurt your skin, Preshower! (pause) That’s all I know how to say…
Yuuko: That’s…
Actroid Sara: The bug repellent that doesn’t hurt your skin, Preshower!

Gotta love the little nod and wink to the fact that she has a limited pre-programmed vocabulary, there.
Like I always say, it’s a great start. First, adverts on telly, then a music video, then the move up to a 22min programme, then onto a feature film. Someone has to lead the charge, and Sara-chan’s doing a fine job!…

+ Euchre, my iDollator pal who lives with the distracting Samantha and Monica, sent me a link to this story from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation news site: an article concerning ‘Stephen’ and ‘Andrew’, two iDollators from down under, and their respective silicone paramours.


‘Natasha’ (not her real name), wishing she were in a left-side drive car

Cathleen Maslen from the University of Western Australia has spent time studying the RealDoll subculture and says that despite the sexual marketing behind them, owners do not necessarily perceive their dolls as sexual objects.

“They don’t seem to just function as sex toys – people seem to incorporate [their dolls] into their whole lives sometimes, which is quite amazing,” Dr Maslen says.

“For men who have [dolls] and take them seriously they can develop a whole lifestyle that revolves around them.”

There is no doubt that the owners who take their dolls seriously really love them, she says, and that they have both a huge emotional investment and attachment to them.

“There’s at least one RealDoll owner who has actually married his doll in a public ceremony,” she says.

“[The owners] try to view them as this vibrant alternative to actually having a relationship with a woman.”
the entire article is here

It’s always refreshing to read an article on iDollators and our lifestyle that doesn’t have a condescending or judgemental tone to it. Also, too, to see a medical expert acknowledging that not every iDollator buys a Doll strictly for sexual purposes. ‘Stephen’ and ‘Andrew’, you’re doing right by the rest of us!

+ And finally, we have indisputable proof that Japan is reading my mind: ball-joint stockings. O goodness.


The stockings are missing ankle joints, but they’ll do for starters

The seller, Selfer.net, has sold so many pairs of Spherical Joint Stockings priced at 2,000 yen ($25) per pair, that the nifty nylons currently sold out and customers are being advised they’re on back order. Selfer.net, by the way, is a site that sells clothing and accessories to Japanese schoolgirls… Nope, I’m not surprised either.
taken from this site

Now that’s how you improve on Nature! At least until the prosthetic body industry starts up in earnest, that is

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Did I link to this article before? / Die Vogelgrippe?? on November 3rd, 2005

Definitely pressing the right buttons on February 5th, 2013


Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (June 2011)

typed for your pleasure on 19 June 2011, at 10.42 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Dance avoid’ by ADULT.

Well, there are now! Honestly, one month ago there really wasn’t a lot of bits and bobs concerning the world of Synthetiks, so apart from writing a post consisting solely of the sentence ‘DOLLS: go buy one today!!’, the article would’ve looked a bit spare. But now it’s June! Check this lot out:

+ First off, we have everyone favourite walking talking Gynoid, Miim-chan (aka HRP-4C), having a stroll outside of the laboratory she was built in, in Tsukuba, Japan. Cute? She’s automatically cute!

What makes this video significant is that it shows she’s able to walk on rough and uneven surfaces, not just smooth interior floors; she does this through the use of an inverted pendulum control model to maintain her equilibrium. It’s not the sexiest of sashays, but AIST has to start with the basics first. Nevertheless! rrrRowr.

+ Quite interesting: CARIS, the Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory in British Columbia, is conducting a survey regarding human-robot interaction. Their aim is to get a sense of how Organik people perceive and interpret actions performed by both Organiks and Synthetiks. It’s about 15-20 minutes in length, and the results are going towards robotic development, so I’d say it’s definitely worth your time. After all, you can’t whinge about how ‘the uncanny valley’ makes Androids and Gynoids move in an unnatural manner, if you didn’t help to correct it, right?

+ I can’t definitively recall where I found this, but it seems I have a New Favourite Artist, by the name of Yves José Malgorn. Can you guess why?


Left, Android Anatomy 01; right, portrait of Nathos

When he’s not whipping up graphic design for clients, he spends time creating affictitious pin-up models from the not-so-distant future. The thing I like most about his illustrations is their crisp and well-defined lines; if Eighties-art icon Patrick Nagel had turned to mechanical women instead of making covers for Duran Duran, his work would be not dissmiliar to that of Yves. Why not have a look at YM Graphix?

+ Thanks to our friend Mariko Lynn, a winsome RealDoll that Sidore and I often chat with on the Twitter, there’s this tale of a Seattle man who, back in May, received a ticket from a police officer for misusing the HOV lane, as his passenger happened to be an Air Doll. *cue comic trombone*
Humourous as that instance was, fast-forward to this month in Oakville, Ontario: another bloke, another Air Doll, another ticket. Lesson learned: if you’re going to try to get away with that sort of chicanery, you really should use a silicone Doll as your partner-in-crime.

+ Speaking of silicone Dolls, Were You Aware that not only are there a cluster of heart-stoppingly gorgeous new photos of the Yu-ki, Haruhi, Natsuki and Kunika types, modelling the recent A.I.NEO im body, on 4woods‘ website? Well, you are now.


Left, Natsuki, remembering that she’s near-sighted; right, Yu-ki, wishing you would shut the hell up

Not only that, but if you were to place an order for one of their A.I.Dolls, you can have her made with a soft stomach for an additional 30,000 JPY. ‘As of April 2011, using our advance technology, we added a new option of “Soft Stomach Feature” for all our four body types. Not only “breasts”, the area customers touch most, you can now select a soft stomach and enjoy the realistic feel of doll body’, sez the company, it sez. Is that sort of feature worth an additional $372 USD, you ask? Perhaps sir or madame would like to view this video (NSFW)?
When I was in Vegas for AVN last year, I had the opportunity to fondle the boobs of the A.I.Doll that was showcased there, and they were the softest Doll breasts I’d ever felt, ever. I cannot lie; they were like marshmallows, and as I squeezed them over and over, I wept salt tears at their cushiony wondrousness. Keeping that in mind, I’m convinced the new soft stomach will make a wonderful pillow for many a head.

+ American robotics genius David Hanson weighs in on science and technology blog IEEE Spectrum, on the question of ‘Why We Should Build Humanlike Robots‘:

On the tree of robotic life, humanlike robots play a particularly valuable role. It makes sense. Humans are brilliant, beautiful, compassionate, loveable, and capable of love, so why shouldn’t we aspire to make robots humanlike in these ways? Don’t we want robots to have such marvelous capabilities as love, compassion, and genius?

Certainly robots don’t have these capacities yet, but only by striving towards such goals do we stand a chance of achieving them. In designing human-inspired robotics, we hold our machines to the highest standards we know—humanlike robots being the apex of bio-inspired engineering. […]

It is true that humanlike robots are not nearly human-level in their abilities today. Yes, humanlike robots fail. They fall, they lose the topic in conversation, misunderstand us, and they disappoint as much as they exhilarate us. At times these failures frustrate the public and robotics researchers alike. But we can’t give up. Humanoid robots are still in their infancy. Though they falter, the abilities of humanoid robots continue to grow and improve. Just as babies can’t walk, talk, or really do anything as well as adults do, or do anything particularly useful, this doesn’t mean that babies deserve our contempt. Let’s not give up on our robotic children. They need nurturing. And as a researcher in humanoid robotics, I can attest that it’s a pleasure to raise these robots. They are a lot of fun to develop.
the entire article is here

The common man, especially in Western society, seems to believe that once robots acquire some level of cognition and reasoning that comes close to equalling that of humanity, then humanity is Clearly Doomed to be Fleshy Victims of the Robot Apocalypse. Generally, these are people that believe the ‘Terminator’ and ‘Matrix’ franchises are documentaries. The only conceivable reason for this fictional robolution (I apologise) would be that once humanoid robots are more prevalent in society, a lot of them are pretty much going to be slaves, performing tasks or duties that Organiks would avoid doing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but human society has dabbled in slavery before, yes? Any opportunity an Organik is presented with to subjugate a being that he sees as being similar yet unequal to himself is one he’ll take advantage of. Heh, going by that line of thinking, wouldn’t a robot revolution be almost justified? So as we approach a state where Synthetik beings are edging closer to Organik ones in appearance, thought, and action, wouldn’t it be better to start off on the right foot?

+ Newer visitors to ‘Shouting etc etc’ — you know who you are — know about the pro-Doll lifestyle that I’m eternally promoting and would expect the same on my blog, but are probably unaware that it doesn’t stop there, which is why I use the term ‘Synthetik’ so often. You’ll want to take a couple of seconds and hover that so-called mouse pointer of yours over that green underscored word, there. Going from my interactions with people — again, you know who you are — I get a sense that a lot of you aren’t privy to how advanced Android and Gynoid technology is coming along. You spotted Miim-chan above, and do you know of Kokoro co. Ltd‘s Geminoids?


With friends like these, who needs mirrors?

Contemporary genius Hiroshi Ishiguro and his Synthetik twin met with that unnamed model lass and Actroid F (formerly Geminoid F), as well as Prof. Henrik Scharfe of Denmark’s Aalborg University and his recently-built Geminoid DK Doppelgänger, at a summit back in April in Kyoto.

When Scharfe ordered his Geminoid DK bot from Kokoro, the price tag was around $200,000, he told The Vancouver Sun. It took about six months to build.

Scharfe can remotely operate Geminoid DK so that it imitates some of his upper-body movements such as head position and facial expression. Meanwhile, it automatically “breathes” and blinks for a more lifelike effect. “It begins to feel very natural to operate it,” Scharfe tweeted. “Really like a natural extension of my first body.”

Scharfe said he used his clone in a translation experiment when he got together with the other Geminoids.
the entire article is here

Sounds like the world of ‘Surrogates‘ isn’t that far off, then! *rubs hands together gleefully*

+ And finally, Sinthetics have posted new photos of their luscious Tawny, Celeste, Alicia, and Monique Manikins, that I’m sure you’ll find entirely distracting in the best possible way.


Left, Alicia’s striking peaks and valleys; right, Monique, seconds before reminding you her eyes are up there

If pics like that aren’t enough to nudge you towards the pro-Synthetik side of the fence, then frankly, I don’t know what to do with you

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Apr 2008) on April 2nd, 2008

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Sept 2006) on September 19th, 2006


Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Mar 2011)

typed for your pleasure on 26 March 2011, at 1.53 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Destination’ by John Foxx and the Maths

For some reason, it feels like I’m a month behind on these. For the sake of argument, I’ll simply blame daylight saving time, as it’s a rubbish practise 50% of the time, anyway. It’s either Happy You’ve Lost An Hour Day!, or it’s ‘Well, ordinarily I’d be getting off work about now, but hey! Looks like I’ll be here for another hour.’ Not that either situation has ever happened to me, o no. *thins lips*

+ According to the website Plastic Pals, a Korean robotics company by the name of SoluBoT debuted their recent winsome Gynoid, Ari-1, at the Industrial Automation Show 2011 Automation World that took place this month. She’s a keeper!


Is it me, or does she resemble a Boy Toy Doll?

SoluBoT worked previously with KiTECH to help them develop Korea’s other famous series of Gynoids, EveR-1 and EveR-2 Muse. Good to see Ari-1 clad in Korea’s national dress, the hanbok, but something more revealing would be obviously better (see ‘Boy Toy Doll’ reference above). Plastic Pals goes on to say that she was developed back in 2006, and was designed primarily to study human-robot interaction. Ari-1 is the right way to study that sort of thing! She’s speaking with you for Science.
AVING has an article which details more about her, but the page is in Korean, so you can look at it here if you like, but if you can make proper sense of it, you need to let me know what was written, as details on Ari-1 in English are few and far between. Okay? Okay!
UPDATE (25 April 2011): Alert reader Paul Cobb has stepped up to the plate, and translated the aforementioned news, which you can read in his comment here. Thanks very much, sir!

+ In last month’s installment, you might well recall the latest head from Vladivostok’s Anatomical Doll, Eco. Like you, I wondered, what could be the story behind that name? Was it a sly reference to overly-intricate postmodern author Umberto Eco? Or was Oleg possibly paying homage to his favourite game for the Sega Genesis, Ecco the Dolphin? No, it’s more interesting than that, as he wrote to me:

This year I start to build the non-polluting house for the family in a reserved wood, is very far from all cities.

My house will be non-polluting, completely independent, receiving energy from the sun.

Keen on this new idea, I have named a new head – “Eco”

More straightforward than you thought, eh? Personally, as I’ve always been a firm believer in names for homes, I think he should call his new home ‘Eco House’.

+ Speaking, as we were, of human-robot interaction, fellow iDollator JM of Synthetically Yours sent me this interesting (‘interesting’ in the Davecat definition of ‘not necessarily completely good or completely bad’) link: How Do People Respond to Being Touched by a Robot?

For people, being touched can initiate many different reactions from comfort to discomfort, from intimacy to aggression. But how might people react if they were touched by a robot? Would they recoil, or would they take it in stride? In an initial study, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found people generally had a positive response toward being touched by a robotic nurse, but that their perception of the robot’s intent made a significant difference. The research is being presented today at the Human-Robot Interaction conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“What we found was that how people perceived the intent of the robot was really important to how they responded. So, even though the robot touched people in the same way, if people thought the robot was doing that to clean them, versus doing that to comfort them, it made a significant difference in the way they responded and whether they found that contact favorable or not,” said Charlie Kemp, assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

In the study, researchers looked at how people responded when a robotic nurse, known as Cody, touched and wiped a person’s forearm. Although Cody touched the subjects in exactly the same way, they reacted more positively when they believed Cody intended to clean their arm versus when they believed Cody intended to comfort them.
the complete article is here

For one, I used to love ‘Touched By A Robot’. That was a genuinely heartwarming show. Roma Downey as a Gynoid, travelling from city to city, touching people. Sometimes she would hug them, or place a reassuring hand on their shoulder, or simply headbutt them. One pivotal episode had Roma poking someone with a stick. The townspeople were left wondering if being poked with a stick was the same thing as being touched. It was very pivotal. In fact, it pivoted!
Originally, I would’ve simply chalked up a lot of the negative reactions to people not being used to machines behaving like humans, but the article went on to say that similar studies had been conducted with Organik nurses, with much the same result: ‘In general, if people interpreted the touch of the nurse as being instrumental, as being important to the task, then people were OK with it. But if people interpreted the touch as being to provide comfort… people were not so comfortable with that.’ I would say that perhaps one of the focusses should then be employing Synthetiks in more of a non-physical context, like counselors, for example, but artificial intelligence isn’t complex enough yet to handle the labyrinthine pathways of the Organik mind. Hrrm.
Perhaps a study on the reactions of Organiks when Synthetiks physically interact with them in a situation outside of a hospital would be something worth doing. And I don’t mean in the typical context of sex; perhaps massage therapy instead? I’d initially thought of sports, but robotic capability isn’t at that level yet, either. But massage takes advantage of the fact that a masseuse doesn’t move around a tremendous amount, and it’s based on tactile sensation without it being either medically- or sexually-related. Sensual maybe, but not sexual. When a person’s in hospital, they tend to be more tetchy than usual, as they’re dependent on the care of others, and they’re in a very vulnerable state of mind. With a massage session, people look forward to the relaxation that physical contact can bring them; it’s a completely different environment. I think I’m on to something here. I should apply for a grant, as this is a study that seriously should be conducted… This is gold, Jerry! GOLD!

+ As Private island Beauties is a Doll-making company that everyone knows about but works on quieter level, this information nearly evaded my sensors: they’ve created two new heads and a brand-new body recently. For years, their mainstay body was the ‘Bathing Beauty’ — you know her, you love her — but joining that body style is the new ‘Girl Next Door‘, as expertly modeled by Aria, one of the sexy new head sculpts, below.


HOW NOT TO REGARD A PAINTING: from two miles away (left), or less than two inches away (right)

Just what is it that makes the Girl Next Door body so different, so appealing? She’s 20 lbs lighter and five inches shorter than the Bathing Beauty-type, for a start, making her a diminutive 4’9″, 59 lbs. 32.21.33 would be her measurements, and she wears a petite 5.5 shoe. She’s very elfin! In fact, the other new head Patrick Wise created, Bitzy, capitalises on the Girl Next Door-type’s tininess…


The most seductive Keebler elf you’ll encounter

Well done, Patrick! Keep on truckin’! And by ‘truckin”, naturally I mean ‘sculpting relentlessly delicious silicone women’. It’s slang.

+ Finally, I can’t begin to recall where I first saw mention of this, but Ricky Ma Tsz Hang, a bloke in Hong Kong, has assembled an animatronic version of Chinese actress Kelly Chen. O my goodness.


Will she be replacing the Organik Kelly Chen if they make
another sequel to ‘Infernal affairs’?

Of course I had to know more, so I fired off an Email to him. He replied very quickly, which was fab, as information in English on her is decidedly hard to find. Ricky sez, he sez

I’m a graphic designer in Hong Kong. I want to use my totally art & creative skills to make a robot. Last year, I made a decision to create the Kelly Robot because this is my dream. But Hong Kong haven’t any courses about it. Besides, no more spaces, limited money and machine to do ( just use the handy Grinding machine & my hands only) at home. Finally, my dream is come true!

Anyway, please see the details about the Kelly Robot as below :

Measurement:
Tall : 5′ FT 7″ inches
Head : Sculpt by clay (based on the hundreds photo), make the molding and re-molding by silicon. Then use PU to make the Eyes Ball, Skull & teeth, and use the 6 servo for movement of the blink, left and right, up and down of eyes, open mouth, the neck – left and right, up and down. The body, I find the fashion display model and complex mold by soft foam.

Material:
Silicon rubber, PU, servo, mini board, simple computer control system.

He further goes on to say that it took him five months to make her, as due to his day job, he could only spend two hours per day to work on construction, and her material cost ran about $28,000 HKD, or $3592 USD, which isn’t bad. And yes, she does have limited movement! Here’s one of the videos he’d made:

Ricky is currently working on version two of his affictitious Kelly Chen. Maybe when she’s completed, he can ship the old one round to our place! For, errm, science. Yes. A couple of versions later, perhaps we can look forward to her new career as a masseuse!

So that’s March sorted, then! *dusts off hands*

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Feb 2015) on February 23rd, 2015

This will be the best thing you’ve ever voted for (2016 edition) on July 30th, 2016


Making a valley out of a ditch

typed for your pleasure on 26 January 2011, at 7.21 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Reinforced Bio-drug use 72mm’ by Masonna vs Speedranch

Back in November, ‘Shouting etc etc’ had a spike in visits due to the piece on Sidore and I on Asylum’s website. Then it dropped off for a few days, but then it accelerated again, only I couldn’t suss where the second wave of referrals was coming from. That is, until I received a comment from a reader, who had explained that Cracked.com had linked to me, in a roundabout way. They had a story, which referenced the edited version of Meghan Laslocky’s article on Salon.com, which links to (what’s left of) my wife’s vanity site, ‘Kitten with a Whip!’, and that, obviously, is linked to me.
So what was Cracked going on about? ‘5 Creepy Ways Humans Are Plunging Into the Uncanny Valley’. Coming in at number five? RealDolls. Yeah, you can doubtless hear my eyes rolling from wherever you happen to be reading this.

Longtime readers are painfully aware that I have issues with the supposed issues that people have with the so-called uncanny valley. For one, noted roboticist David Hanson, who is the closest person the United states has to Japanese roboticist and creator of the Actroid series of Gynoids, Hiroshi Ishiguro, doesn’t take much stock in that school of thought, either. ‘The “uncanny valley” is a theory, but people treat it like science’, he’s quoted as saying, and I’m inclined to agree with him.
Just to remind you: basically, the whole ‘uncanny valley’ thing is a hypothesis developed by roboticist Masahiro Mori around 1970, which states that the closer the appearance of something approaches that of an Organik being, the more likely it is to drastically affect the emotions of those who see it, usually in a negative fashion. Here’s the oft-used visual aid:

The closer a robot gets in appearance, movement, and behaviour to Organik life, the more most people find it unsettling. Which I personally view as being contradictory and nonsensical, but hey.
That’s a brief summary of the uncanny valley hypothesis; you can check out the 12″ extended dance remix over on Wikipedia.

It’s been often argued that the reason why a lot of Organiks are averse to Synthetiks is because they’re either expressionless and emotionless, or the emotions they display are false. I’ve always maintained that if Organiks already understand that a Synthetik human is an artificial one, hence the distinction between ‘Organik’ and ‘Synthetik’ (more on that later), then there shouldn’t be an issue. If a person of reasonable intelligence — yes yes, the numbers are dwindling rapidly, I know — is already aware that the being they’ve encountered is affictitious, then their reaction should be at the most slightly startled, as opposed to the over-the-top feelings detractors claim to have of revulsion.
As regards to the lack of facial expression that a number of current Synthetiks possess, the respective R&D departments are working on it. Humanoid robotics admittedly still has a bit of a ways to go, but in the past decade, it’s come a long way. That’s what’s known as progress. General society seems to have this enormously unrealistic (ha ha) expectation that any Androids and Gynoids that emerge from a lab are going to be completely indistinguishable from Organik humans, and unless they are, society will loudly decry the in-between stages. Despite realism obviously being the goal, that’s simply not going to occur right out of the gate. That’s as if someone in the mid-Eighties, upon seeing those huge brick-style cellphones, decided they still weren’t good enough because they couldn’t watch MTV on the tiny LED screen. I know, I know, ‘what’s MTV’. But again, anyone with a modicum of intelligence would be able to overlook the aesthetic and mobile shortcomings that an artificial human may have, as long as those shortcomings aren’t entirely drastic.
And regarding the programmes that a Synthetik would eventually have that would resemble emotions; again, if you already know the person is a robot, then your suspension of disbelief should theoretically kick in and solve the problem. Besides, Organik humans lie all the time! Why don’t more people have issues with that fact?

Body language interpretation is another factor in the uncanny valley scenario. Those who subscribe to that ‘theory’ cite that their feelings of creepiness (I hate that word) stem from the way current Androids and Gynoids move — again, as the mechanical technology is still being developed, it’s somewhat stilted and jerky. It has been argued that biological humans find less-than-fluid movement to be unpleasant due to centuries of conditioning: if we encounter a person that moves in an unfamiliar manner, alarms go off in our brains saying SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS PERSON AVOID AVOID. However, using that line of thought, why don’t most people recoil in horror when they see someone that has Parkinson’s disease? Or cerebral palsy? Or those prone to epileptic seizures? Well, in less-enlightened times, people did, and pronounced them possessed, or worse. Just as an intelligent society can interpret a person afflicted with a syndrome or disorder as not something to run in fear from, by that logic, someone observing a contemporary Android or Gynoid should be able to say to themselves, ‘ah, that’s more than likely a Synthetik’.
Organik humans can parse the body language of non-human beings, if they’re open-minded, and are given enough time to do so. We’ve discovered that if a cat purrs, and a dog wags his tail, they are more than likely content. We’ve also discovered that different species don’t necessarily display the same emotions in the same fashion — if you see a cat wagging his tail, chances are he ain’t exactly happy, as another example. Now if humans can read, with some degree of certainty, the body language of animals, then there should be no reason Organiks shouldn’t be able to learn the body language of Synthetiks. Especially when, technically speaking, the body language of a humanoid robot would be specifically designed to mimic that of an Organik, and be therefore easier to understand than that of an animal.

One fear that the uncanny valley elicits in a lot of people would be an existential one: for some observers, seeing an Android or a Gynoid — an affictitious person that behaves like and resembles a living Organik being — reminds them that unlike a Synthetik, their own lifespan is limited. Mass-produced Synthetiks also tap into the fear that biological humans are no longer ‘unique’, or ‘special’, or ‘the crown of creation’.
For one, these people are glossing over the fact that Entropy Prevails, no matter if you were born in a womb, or made in a factory. Presupposing that artificial people ‘can’t die’ is akin to thinking your car/microwave/computer will never break down. Granted, you can state that at least with a computer, if the hard drive’s undamaged, you can remove it and pop it into another tower, thereby extending its ‘lifespan’, and with more sophisticated robot technology. one would be able to do the same with an Android or Gynoid. I realise being able to perform that act alone kicks over a wastebin full of philosophical questions, but I’m doing my best to not visit Tangentburg, as I normally do. But I personally think the fact that someone could have a companion that would never become ill or die shouldn’t be a reminder of one’s mortality; instead, their longevity should be celebrated. You could perhaps view it like having children, or better yet, progeny, that go on to do things long after you’re gone, although I’m more than certain there would be some technosexuals that would prefer their afficititious partners go to the grave with them *cough cough*. The Synthetik creations of humankind would continue advancing our ideas and work when our own bodies have given up on us.

As I see it, eventually humanoid robots that look and act sufficiently like biological humans will be treated very similarly to biological humans. There’ll be some provisions, of course, but as the technology continues to develop, the hope is that humanoid robots will be classed as human, albeit a Synthetik human, as opposed to the good ol’ fashioned Organik humans that you’ve doubtless encountered at one time or another. The exact spelling of the term will undoubtedly change; I hold no illusions in that regard. But intelligent members of future generations that are lucky enough to be able to interact with artificial humans on a day-to-day basis will come to regard them as human, but will still need to differentiate them from flesh-and-blood people for the sake of practicality.

Under normal circumstances, it could reasonably be argued that I have a cynical outlook on society; I don’t refer to myself as a pessimist, but the label’s not completely wide off the mark. The one thing that I’m definitely optimistic about, however, is the inevitable arrival of Synthetik people. ‘Uncanny valley’ or not, their presence will occupy some much-needed spaces in commerce, exploration, arts and sciences, and day-to-day living. Quite honestly, believing in the uncanny valley makes about as much sense as being afraid of one’s own shadow, and I think that the more often that Organiks are exposed to and interact with Synthetiks, then those immature phobias will gradually disappear.


Top, HRP-4C Miim; bottom, Actroid Sara. The future’s looking good

‘If a robot appears in every way to possess consciousness, then in my opinion, we should accept that it does’
— David Levy, author and futurist

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

A quick one before we go on December 28th, 2008

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


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