Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Nov 2010)

typed for your pleasure on 23 November 2010, at 5.10 am

Sdtrk: ‘Sun demon’ by Stereolab

+ First, some music. I’ll let my mate Wolfgang, of ‘Far Away and Close to Home‘, explain this:

In 1986, Neil Young (yes, THAT Neil Young) got himself a load of synths, sequencers, effects racks and a vocoder and started going nuts. (If I was a lame Rolling Stone writer I’d say something like “Neil Young traded in his heart of gold for a heart of silicon”, but of course I don’t suck like them). The album Trans was the result, and includes this song about loving a gynoid.

I’m not gonna lie and say that I’m a fan of Neil Young, but I do respect him. The man likes feedback, and any guitarist that can appreciate a good squealing amp is all right in my book. And now that I’ve learned that he’d made an electronic-based album with a song about a Synthetik, he’s gone up a couple of notches, there!

+ Thanks to [INTERNET PIRATES], my friends and I regularly enjoy many films and television programmes from far-off, distant lands; usually the United Kingdom and Japan, mostly. Maybe Korea sometimes, it depends on what they’ve got to offer. At any rate, fellow iDollator bloke Euchre brought a new telly show, currently airing on NTV, to my attention, by the name of ‘Q10‘.

She’s apparently using some pretty hardcore hairgel

One day, while under the influence of alcohol, Kishimoto Jiro, the principal of Shikahamabashi High School picks up a “girl” from the garbage. The next morning, that girl is sleeping in the school premises when she is found by Fukai Heita. The robot girl suddenly comes alive and Heita names her ‘Q10′. ‘Q10′ starts to adore Heita, its godparent, and Heita, who has not been popular with girls all the while, is bewildered. The robot ‘Q10′ is taught by Heita about humans and begins to learn …
taken from this site

‘While under the influence of alcohol’, geez. Is the writer an Amish?
The show sounds like an amusing lark, but it’s so niche that it’s guaranteed not to have an official release outside of Japan. Hell, even trying to find fansubbing groups that carry it is rather like searching for a needle on Planet Haystack. It’s properly classified as dorama (that’s drama to all y’all gaijins), and as such, it’s essentially a soap aimed at teens. Obviously the only factor capturing my interest is the Synthetik angle, and even then, it’s kinda tenuous, thanks to the series’ PG nature…
Interestingly enough, referring to the shows my mates and I watch, we’re quite keen on the Kamen rider series/franchise; we’ve been watching them consistently since Kamen rider Kiva debuted back in 2008. The series prior to that was the insanely popular Kamen rider Den-O, starring Takeru Satō as the protagonist Ryotaro. He also happens to be the bloke in the photo above, portraying Heita. The plot thickens! Actually, no it doesn’t; that’s a lie.

Would you like a compilation of scenes of Q10, acting like a stereotypical Gynoid? Sure, why not?

+ Interesting reading here, by philosophy student Ryan Rafferty, entitled ‘Monozukuri, Kaizen, Karakuri Ningyo. Why Roboethics is Really Psychoanalysis…

Feeling sentiment for objects is hardly a Japanese phenomenon, it’s a common trait of human culture to anthropomorphize things. Our natural tendency to anthropomorphize allows us to intuitively and naturally connect with objects on an emotional (and comprehensible) level through the projection of one’s personality into the thing. This tendency seems to be closely connected to, or perhaps a byproduct of our abilities to empathize. Human beings are capable of empathizing with one another, and even with nonhuman animals— in evolutionary theory, the ability to empathize has served an advantage that has been reinforced through group selection over time, through perhaps an increase in hunting ability, or increased chances in group survival.

Our feelings towards robots and other anthropomorphized machines, such as the mechanical doll [i.e. karakuri ningyo], are more a question of psychoanalysis– the question should not be centred around how we should treat robots, but rather why we create emotional attachments to them– making this an ethically prudential question, rather than something requiring a morally-universal insight.
the entire article is here

As I’d said, it’s interesting reading. There’s a bit of an anti-roboethics skewer at the end of it, but it’s food for thought nonetheless…

+ Further proof that 4woods are toiling 28 hours a day to produce endless variations of rubbery ladies: they’ve not only released yet another stunning new head in the form of Hatsuki, but they’ve also upgraded their already-popular A.I.NEO line to what’s now known as A.I.NEO im. That’s pronounced ‘im‘, as in ‘I’m going to need a second job just so I can purchase more of these Dolls, cos frankly, this is getting out of hand’.

‘And when I woke up, my pillow really was gone’

What makes this sexy silicone sexpot sexier than their last sexy silicone sexpot? Err, in a nutshell: more detailed body design, better hip joints, expanded range of motion, finger articulation, seven different nipple colours, and three different areola sizes. Not only that, the new body can use pretty much all the heads they sell, and the Hatsuki head can use all four bodies. Now, more than ever, you are spoilt for choice.
O, and what’s that whole ‘im’ bit about, you axe? According to their site, “im” means “impact”, “imagination” “impression” and “impulse”. Sure, why not?

+ And finally, remember how last month it was my sad duty to report that Lovable Dolls are no more? Well, it appears that they’re back — in pog form!! No wait, that’s not right. A fledgling company is now utilising Matt Krivicke’s sculpting talents, bearing a name that Sidore and I definitely approve of — Sinthetics.

Nice day for being affictitious

As this news is roughly a day old, it technically qualifies as a ‘scoop’, but they knew I’d get the word out. ‘Extry extry’, etc. As a consquence, that’s really all the details on the company I can provide, but as I’m prone to say, when I know more, you lot will as well, so try to restrain yourselves until further notice. I mean, I’m doing what I can. *grinds teeth* I should mention that one of their Dolls made her debut on the ‘Josie is a Doll‘ episode of the latest cable reality (in quotes) show, ‘Married to Rock‘ this past Sunday, and she looked very appealing…
In the meantime, why not keep an eye on their site, which is now linked in the usual place in ‘Shouting etc etc’s sidebar?

Now you are informed! And I managed to post this before the end of November! And on the 23rd, yet! Everyone’s a winner

Technorati tags: Synthetiks, iDollators, Neil Young, Trans, Q10, Kamen Rider, Roboethics, Android, Gynoid, robot, 4woods, A.I.NEO im, Lovable Dolls, Sinthetics, Married to Rock

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Jun 2010)

typed for your pleasure on 4 June 2010, at 3.52 am

Sdtrk: ‘Riverside’ by Sandy Simpson

Man o man. What happened to the May edition, you may or may not be asking? Well, Shi-chan’s new and incredibly distracting body happened, that’s what. *loosens collar* By the by, did either of us mention that she was featured in the Spring 2010 issue of The Doll Street Journal, found on the News page of the Abyss creations website? Sidore’s got a wee bit of cache, you see. It’s true!

+ Speaking of Abyss creations, now they’re in Japan! Well, moreso than usual. It appears that now Japanese iDollators have a licenced distributor from which to purchase RealDolls and Boy Toy Dolls from, located in a modest little storefront in the Nakano ward of metropolitan Tokyo. Interesting enough as that is — at first, I was like ‘well, that’s not really news; Abyss already has a Japanese distributor‘ — but what sent my eyebrows ascending was that apparently, some sort of deal was sealed with longtime silicone companion sculptor, Natori Saito. If you’re an iDollator, you’ll know him as the bloke who designed the Mai face, aka Face 9. If you’re an old-school iDollator, you’ll remember him from the days when he was making the Photogenic Dolls line. Yep, that Natori. He’s designed two faces for Boy Toy and one for RealDoll, so I suppose he’s been busy.

photo courtesy of ‘Ta-bo’s Kisekae Dataroom’

You can check out the site here, but 95% of it is in Japanese, and if you can’t read it, you more than likely won’t be buying a Doll through them. But those obstacles probably won’t stop you, won’t they? I didn’t think so.

+ So my tall mate Wolfgang hepped me to this: I-Fairy robot weds Japanese couple. I like where this is going!

I-Fairy robot weds Japanese couple
Jay Alabaster and agencies, Tokyo |, Sunday 16 May 2010 16.30 BST

Almost everyone stood when the bride walked down the aisle in her white gown, but not the wedding conductor, because she was bolted to her chair.

The nuptials at this ceremony were led by I-Fairy, a 4ft seated robot with flashing eyes and plastic pigtails. The wedding today was the first to be led by a robot, according to the manufacturer, Kokoro.

“Please lift the bride’s veil,” the robot said in a tinny voice, waving its arms in the air as the newlyweds kissed in front of about 50 guests.

The ceremony took place at a restaurant in Hibiya Park, central Tokyo. The I-Fairy wore a wreath of flowers, and wires led out from beneath it to a black curtain nearby where a man crouched and clicked commands into a computer.

Japan has one of the most advanced robotics industries in the world, with the government actively supporting the field for future growth. Industrial models in factories are now standard, and recently companies have been making a push to inject robots into everyday life.
the rest of the article is here

Hrrm… the Missus and I want to renew our vows for our ten year anniversary in July — could we possibly rent I-Fairy to do the honours, or would we have to fly out to her? Hrrm…

+ It looks like we may be losing not one, but two, Doll manufacturers. As of this writing, the website for Axis Japan, makers of the famous Honey Dolls series, has been down for several days. Which has happened before, but when you consider their news page hasn’t been updated since 2009, it’s cause for alarm. Honey Dolls were especially noteworthy, as they were the first to have embedded touch-sensors that played back .mp3 responses, but Odhinn only knows how their sales were, as I never saw a single owner pic of any of their four model types anywhere. And I can assure you that I check the Doll sites like a hawk…
And on the front page of the My Party Doll site, the phrase ‘OWNER RETIRING Interested parties, please inquire’ can be seen. As far as I’m concerned, the loss of any group that makes artificial companions is truly a shame. Technically, I’m still not over the fact that Chestnut co. Ltd., makers of the Rare-Borg line of silicone companions, has packed it in, and that was several years ago. With any luck, both groups will rise from the ashes, as it were, but who can say…
UPDATE (12 JUNE 2010): The Honey Dolls site is back up! Undoubtedly an extended server hiccup. It can happen to any one of us! Especially if you are a server.

+ Thanks to his long-standing work in the field of robotic humanoid developments, starting with the Repliee series, all the way to the sexier-with-each-new-version Actroid series, Hiroshi Ishiguro has been illuminating a path for mankind to follow out of the dark ages. But apart from the whole Android and Gynoid thing, he seems like the sort of bloke I can identify with, particularly after reading this article from IEEE Spectrum.

‘What’s that, me? What did you just say? I mean, what did I just say??
Shit, this is confusing’

Hiroshi Ishiguro stomps on the accelerator. The black Mazda RX-8 roars onto the highway, the heavy-metal Scorpions blasting from the speakers. We’re driving to Osaka University’s Toyonaka Campus. Ishiguro is wearing aviator sunglasses, black polyester pants, a black vest on top of a black shirt, along with a black belt, socks, and shoes.

”Give me question,” he says, his eyes fixed on the road.

I ask whether he always dresses in black.

”Why do you change your clothes?” he says. ”Do you change your name? So why do you change your clothes? Name is identity. Face is identity. But the majority of your [appearance] comes from your clothes. You should not change your clothes. Do you agree?”

I meekly suggest that all-black attire might get a bit hot in the summer.

”We have air conditioners,” he says. ”Next question.”
the entire article is here

The film ‘Surrogates‘ touched upon the whole concept of telepresence, and this man is making it a reality. Not to say that he’s the only person doing so, but Ishiguro is the only one making really bold strides as regards to building telepresence robots that resemble human beings. Clearly, we need more of this man. O wait — he’s already working on that!
There’s even a microsite with a wee bit of information on Geminoid HI-1 right here. Now if only they could do the same with that luscious Geminoid F
That was a hint, by the way.

+ And as dreadfully hot as it’s been here in Michigan, I’m sure it’s not much better in Californiyay, where 85°F is considered ‘a good start’. However, being out of doors in the SoCal area gives a person the rare opportunity to catch KnightHorse out and about, taking pics of and showing off their stunning lasses. So it’s kind of a trade-off!…

Sayuri, being flirtatious/distracting

For years Matt has felt that dolls should be loved, appreciated and displayed proudly. One of his focuses in the business is to bring dolls out of the closet, demystify them, and have doll owners de-vilified! So many media outlets go for the “easy kill” and focus on the shock factor of these dolls. The only angle most journalists are interested in is the sexual function of the dolls. Well, to us, these dolls are much more than sex dolls. […] To date we have been to numerous public venues and never once had a negative encounter.

See, that’s the sort of thing I love to hear about — seeing a beautifully-sculpted work of art such as a Doll as a mere sex toy is incredibly narrow-minded. It’s ace that Matt K and crew are bringing their lovely ladies out for some fresh air and sightseeing, as well as spreading public awareness that Dolls aren’t creepy or unsettling; they are in fact wonderful and appealing. And depending on how imaginative a person you are, they can be even more than that…
Besides, did you see Sayuri’s arse up there? I mean, dayum!

Well, I do believe that’s covered the lot for now! Join us next time, for more of the same

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typed for your pleasure on 25 April 2009, at 12.15 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Night night’ by Blank dogs

Flipping through the latest MetroTimes whilst at work, I’d spotted a full-page advert for the 2009 Motor City Comic con. Under normal circumstances, information about that event would evaporate quickly from my brain as I made my way towards the page containing Dan Savage’s column, but three of the special guests slated to appear caught my eye, and held it to such a degree, that I’m considering attending for the first time since the mid-Nineties.

You’ve got Priscilla Barnes, who portrayed Terri Alden for three years on one of my all-time favourite sitcoms, ‘Three’s Company’. Then there’s Joyce DeWitt, who for eight years played Janet Wood, my favourite roommate, on the same show; which is even more astounding, due to the fact that she’s pretty much kept out of the public eye since ‘Three’s Company’ ended. That’s ace enough in and of itself, but! The other guest? JULIE ‘AF-709 / CATWOMAN’ NEWMAR. YES. Only thing is, if I decided to bite the bullet and spend the $20 entrance fee (now you know why they call them ‘cons’), what would I have them sign? Priscilla and Joyce’s choice would be simple; I could have them autograph my copy of ‘Come and knock on our door‘, the rather-inclusive book about ‘Three’s Company’, but what of Julie? I don’t have any paraphernalia from Batman, and I’d really love for her to sign something related to ‘My living Doll‘, the short-lived Sixties sitcom starring Ms Newmar as a Gynoid, but theoretically, they’re still in the process of remastering the episodes. Hrrm.
I’m seriously thinking I should go, though. I mean, how often does the opportunity to meet Terri Alden, Janet Wood and AF-709 under the same roof come up in one’s life?

Speaking of robots (pronounced ‘ro-bits’), I ran across this on 4chan‘s /m/echa board: Tweenbots. They’re awfully cute!

‘Excuse me, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? And DON’T ANSWER PRACTISE’

Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate [New York City] with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.

Given their extreme vulnerability, the vastness of city space, the dangers posed by traffic, suspicion of terrorism, and the possibility that no one would be interested in helping a lost little robot, I initially conceived the Tweenbots as disposable creatures which were more likely to struggle and die in the city than to reach their destination. […] The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged.

As Kacie Kinzer is an art school student, the whole exercise is partially a sociological experiment as to how humans interact with non-human beings, so naturally the idea piqued my interest. Besides, the method with which she’s going about it is just plain adorable. Throw in a talking dog, a cat, and a ferret, send the four of them across the country, and you have a family-friendly film just waiting to happen!
So if you reside in NYC and you happen across a Tweenbot that needs assistance, do the right thing, eh? A robot might just help you one day

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typed for your pleasure on 8 January 2009, at 2.22 am

Sdtrk: ‘(Keep feeling) Fascination’ by the Human League

Barely relevant: I recently dreamt that I was back at my old highschool for some reason or other, and I was trying to find the auditorium where the arts & theatre classes were usually held. Unfortunately, since the last time I wandered down those corridors, they’d shuffled a couple of rooms around the campus. So I found myself running down the halls, pinwheeling my arms, frantically searching for the arts department.
Let that be a lesson to you.

While I was doing that, alert reader Kat spotted this in the news:

If there’s a male in a dress, it must be Kids in the Hall

Actor robots take Japanese stage
BBC News | Published: 2008/11/26 11:26:22 GMT

First there were dancing robots, then house-sitting robots and now a new breed of acting robots is making its big debut on the Japanese stage.

The play, which had its premiere at Osaka University, is one of Japan’s first robot-human theatre productions.

The machines were specially programmed to speak lines with human actors and move around the stage with them.

Playwright Oriza Hirata says the work raises questions about the relationship between humanity and technology.
the rest of the article is here

There’s actually video excerpts from the play on Robot Watch (under some pictures, you’ll see characters that read ‘動画’; you’ll want to click on the characters).
It should go without saying that I’m looking forward to a day when Androids and Gynoids will be utilised as actors. In fact, I think there’d be a lovely irony in having a bunch of Synthetiks play in a stage production of Karel Čapek’s ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots‘ — only have them play all the non-robot roles, and have the Organik cast members portray the robots…

O, and twenty Cool Points will be immediately shipped, in a refrigerated container, to the person who can tell me where this post’s title comes from. If you need another hint, you’ll just have to listen carefully to the radio in the next vehicle you carjack

Technorati tags: robots, Wakamaru, Robot Watch, Karel Čapek, Rossum’s Universal Robots

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typed for your pleasure on 26 November 2008, at 2.03 am

Sdtrk: ‘Get closer’ by Valerie Dore

It must be Winter (not officially, as the Winter Solstice hasn’t taken place, but nevertheless), as I’m currently losing my voice and fighting a flu with my bare hands. In between extended seven-hour naps, however, I managed to nominate the original version of Actroid, ReplieeQ1-san, to Carnegie Mellon’s Robot Hall of Fame.

A vote for Actroid is a vote for a Sexy Future

It seems that they hold induction ceremonies every two years, and I’d missed the one for this year. The nominees can include both real and fictional robots, such as Osamu Tezuka’s titular Astro Boy (inducted 2004), and Sony’s late-lamented AIBO (added 2006).

Here’s hoping that a) they choose to nominate Actroid-san, and b) the people will do the right thing and vote her in. Actroid in 2010!

Technorati tags: Carnegie Mellon, Robot Hall of Fame, Osamu Tezuka, Astro Boy, AIBO, Actroid, ReplieeQ1, Android, Gynoid, robots

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‘A’ is the first letter

typed for your pleasure on 6 August 2008, at 12.31 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Satellite’ by Depeche mode

Andy Warhol, iconoclast and Pop art meister, would’ve been 80 today, on 06.08.08. Personally, I think he was early by like two days.

‘I don’t know where the artificial stops and the real starts’

Many happy returns, Andy!
That having been said, where’s his Android when you need him?

Technorati tags: Andy Warhol, robots, Android

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Metal machine maiden

typed for your pleasure on 3 August 2008, at 12.21 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Nu, Iside’ by LAShTAL

What with SoulCalibur being one of the two fighting games I like (the highly-underrated Rival schools being the other), how pleased was I to see that one of the characters in SCIV is a Gothic Lolita automaton lass? As punch. Meet cute, rustproof Ashlotte:

Between her metal dress and the head of that crazy spear she’s rockin’, she seems to have an ‘iron maiden’ motif going, which is entirely appropriate. And did you spot the gears in her midsection? Mmm, lovely. All she needs is a great big key sticking out of her back, and that would be fantastic. Clang clang, indeed…

Normally, my fave SoulCalibur character is the luscious British alchemist Isabella Valentine, even though SCIII screwed up her movesets. SCIII screwed up a number of things, such as not nipping that whole file corruption bollocks in the bud, to be honest. But don’t worry, our Ashlotte will put things right!
Now all I need is a PS3 or an XSLAB 360! Ergh

Technorati tags: Rival Schools, SoulCalibur, Gothic Lolita, Ashlotte, Technosexual, Isabella “Ivy” Valentine

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