Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (July 2014): Part II

typed for your pleasure on 30 July 2014, at 12.02 am

Sdtrk: ‘Casualty ward’ by Kline Coma Xero

More news about Dolls and Gynoids? Well, yes.

+ As you’ll recall, I’d begun Part I of this post with a video of a Gynoid named Asuna, and how it’s nigh-impossible to find info on her in English or Japanese. As she seemed to be rather well-made — fluid movement, realistic appearance — I believe she would’ve gotten more media exposure were it not for two reasons. One, it’s nigh-impossible to to find info on her in English or Japanese, and Two, she made her debut only a couple of days prior to these two Gynoids, who had much more exposure in the media. You might’ve seen them yourself; here’s Otonaroid and Kodomoroid:

Created by godlike robotics genius Hiroshi Ishiguro, which should go without saying, Otonaroid (‘otona’ being Japanese for ‘middle-aged woman’) and Kodomoroid (‘Kodomo’ meaning ‘child’) are permanent staffers at Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, in Odaiba, Tokyo. And no, I’m not just being my usual self when I say they’re staffers; the two aren’t a temporary exhibit, unlike the way other locations have treated other Gynoids. Further proof: Otona-san has her very own calling card. And yes, I’d Emailed her. (Her PR people replied instead… boooo.)

They’re similarly-built, in that they use servos for movement of their faces, heads, and arms, but each one is a bit different. Otona-san is a telepresence robot, meaning that she’s controlled remotely via a human operator, who can also speak through her using a microphone. It’s a bit odd, however, as Otona-san doesn’t really have a voice of her own; meaning that if a bloke operates her, you’d hear his voice out of her mouth. Which is disconcerting, and, let’s face it, a boner-killer.
Kodomo-chan’s job is that of a newscaster, if you can dig that. Every day, she’ll read the day’s news in her own voice, as well as various tweets, from her own rather ‘THX 1138’-esque viewing room. Going by some of the clipped syllables as heard in the video above, she’s probably utilising the popular Vocaloid speech synthesis programme, or something like it. Both Gynoids are also working in the context of gathering data on human interaction for Prof. Ishiguro’s studies.

It would seem that Otona-san also likes the music of Damon Albarn, former lead vocalist of Blur, as he performed some songs from his latest solo release, Everyday robots, at Miraikan for her and a small audience of fifty, on 25 July.

During the show, Otonaroid® moved her body in time with Albarn’s performance. She hummed along to the lyrics, and her expressions seemed to change when the melody would take a sad turn or during up-tempo parts of the songs. After finishing all of his songs, Albarn approached his special Otonaroid® guest and bowed to her while looking her in the eyes. Otonaroid® seemed very happy and bowed in return.
the entire article is here

This leads me to believe that, when Otona-san was younger, she more than likely preferred Blur to Oasis! As any sensible person would.

+ If I told you that 4woods have been busy this year, would you really be surprised? Next to Orient industry, they are the Doll studio equivalent of the Hardest Working Man In Show Business. Which I suppose makes Orient industry Soul Brother Number 1, maybe? But before I try to awkwardly shoehorn another analogy of Doll manufacturers to James Brown — even though I know that’s why everyone visits ‘Shouting etc etc’ — do take a look at their latest sexy miss, Mitsuki.

‘Ugh, Febreeze isn’t cutting it. I’m definitely gonna need bleach for this’

Mitsuki — and for naptime, there’s Sleeping Mitsuki — would be 4woods’ newest newest heads, made specifically for their newest newest body series, A.I.Doll Allure. Here’s the summary from the site itself:

AIdoll Allure is designed to have beautiful large yet natural ideal breasts. For those who like breasts, it is 4woods’ signature model.

“Breasts” are the area that is touched most in doll’s body. This is an attractive spot any man feel most feminine in female body. We created AIdoll Allure to satisfy men’s instinct in terms of “large breasts”. They offer perfect shape, size, gap in between and naturalness. The model achieved ultimate feel and durability by applying our technology.

We put together these features and released the highest end model “AIdoll Allure” our 6th body model.

Personally, I like the quotes around ‘breasts’. But it’s not as if their assessment is wrong! 4woods also mention that they’ve put a bit more work into the detail on her muscle tone, nerves, veins, and bones. That’s what I like — looks Organik, but is still quite Synthetik. I approve!
As I’d mentioned, the Mitsuki and Sleeping Mitsuki heads only fit the Allure body. However, if Mitsu-chan fails to appeal to your aesthetic sense, you can purchase a Sarina head for it, or a Yu-ki head, or Lilica, Hatsuki, or Elina. In fact, if you were to click on any of those named just mentioned, you’d see how those heads look on the new Allure body, with a series of brand-new photosets.

Left, Elina and her near-illegible shirt; right, Lilica is questioning the camera angle

And for those of you in the States who were dithering about purchasing an A.I.Doll, but were loath to deal with import tax, dig this: 4woods USA. They have an office in California now, baby!! Now, you no longer have to worry about customs duty fees or identification clearance, and your lass will ship from the manufacturer in Japan, to the 4woods USA office in San Diego, where she’ll arrive at your home via UPS.
I see that twinkle in your eyes, and it’s rightly deserved.

+ Last month, a site called The Daily Dot published an article by Greg Stevens entitled ‘Would you have sex with a robot?‘ No guesses as to why I’ve linked to it.

Much of the allure (and difficulty) of sexual encounters lies in the tension between seeing the other person as a sentient subject with his or her own desires, on the one hand, and seeing that person as nothing more than an object of our own desires, on the other.

Philosopher Martin Buber wrote, in his book Ich und Du (usually translated as “I and Thou”), that there are two essential ways that we can relate to the world around us: there is the I-it relationship, where we interact with things in our environment as mere objects, and there is the I-thou relationship, where we feel an empathic connection or bond with whatever or whoever we are engaging.

What determines whether we are engaging in an I-it or I-thou relationship isn’t just a matter of whether we talking about a relationship with a rock or a person. It has to do with the attitude that we take and the way we feel about our connection to the “other.” When you approach your partner purely as an object of lust, a physical thing that you can use to satisfy your desires, then you are engaging in an I-it relationship with your partner.

What makes robots different from sex toys, and for some people what makes them creepier, is that robots trigger us to make the opposite kind of psychological flip-flop: like a mirror-image of classic sexual objectification, robotic sexual partners encourage us to look at mere inanimate objects as sentient, conscious, willful, and desirous.

It isn’t as tough as you might think. The more traits any object has in common with humans, the more likely we are to assume that the object has feelings, has desires, and even has an independent free will. This phenomenon, studied by psychologists as anthropomorphism, is deep-seated and driven by the most basic mechanisms in our brain. We can’t help it: give something a voice, a face, and make it move like a human being, and we will make all kinds of assumptions about its thoughts, feelings, and intentions.

In fact we do this with people, as well, especially during sex. All sexual encounters (and all romantic relationships, for that matter), involve a certain amount of fantasy. The image you have in your head of the person you are involved with is always a grab bag of your own projections, assumptions, desires, and expectations, alongside (hopefully) some of traits that genuinely belong to the person in question.

With just the right robotic companion, you would likely act no differently than you already do with your human partners during sex, responding to them with a complexity of desires.
the entire article is here

From what I’ve personally encountered, a large part of what non-iDollators aren’t keen on is the fact that many of us treat our Dolls as partners, not merely things. That’s due to our imaginations filling in the blanks, of course, but it’s difficult to say if the general populace will feel the same way when humanoid robots can respond to Organik interaction, in a way that seems spontaneous. Will they still use the tired complaint that interacting with an artificial person isn’t as good as someone ‘real’ then?
While they’re busy pondering that, however, those of us who are attracted to the so-called Unheimlich will be quite satisfied with what our affictitious partners can do for us, as well as what we can do for them…

+ Phoenix studios, where the world’s Boy Toy Dolls originate from, have come out with a brand-new silicone lass in their Celestial series, which is fab news. Meet Sky! She comes in two configurations: the peachy Caucasian Sky, and the mocha version known as Dark Sky, which is a name I thought rather amusing.

But do they know they’re twins? Someone should tell them

As she’s another entry in their ‘Celestial Bodies’ series, Sky is 4’10”, less than 60 lbs, has measurements of B:32 / W:22 / H:32, and wears a US sz 5 shoe. Not only that, but she also sports eyes that open and close as well. Not bad, Phoenix studios! *thumbs up*

+ I’d mentioned R Stevens’ Diesel Sweeties in the previous part; he also does double duty (sounds disgusting) making teh funies on a site called Medium. Not surprisingly, this one caught my eye, as A Valid Point Is Made. Click the pic for the whole thing:

+ And for those of you who unfortunately missed Amber Hawk Swanson‘s engaging Sidore Mark II / Heather > LOLITA performance back in December 2013, and are curious as to what watching the entire 70 hours performance would entail, this potted version should give you an idea of what you’re in store for:

The super-condensed version is fab and all, but if you have the time to spare, you should check out the whole thing (in parts) on Amber’s official Vimeo channel. For one, the 10min video doesn’t get into the expansive and insightful conversations she had with me, fellow iDollator Jesse1965, and a couple of activists for marine mammal life, as well as fellow iDollator Mahtek phoning in and reading the eulogy he’d written for Phoebe Mk I. And there’s always me racing my way through Nabokov’s Lolita. Besides, if you had time to watch Warhol’s 1967 film ‘****’ (clocking in at twenty five hours), then you’ve got time to watch Sidore Mark II / Heather > LOLITA. Plus, Amber’s work has more Synthetiks in it! Synthetiks make everything better. Fact

UPDATE (12 AUG 2014): Speaking, as we were, about Gynoid Android Asuna, alert reader Ron has uncovered a couple of videos and extreme closeup pics of our mysterious silicone lady, which you can check out here

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

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

DER2-chan's latest job: political spokesperson on April 8th, 2007

6 have spoken to “Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (July 2014): Part II”

  1. Maddie Wells writes:

    Cor, blimey! This is one packed update, Davecat!

    “[…] preferred Blur to Oasis! As any sensible person would.” Count my lad absent from your list of sensible people. He loves the music, not their antics.

    Per 4woods, “Breasts are the area that is touched most in doll’s body.” I won’t quibble over this, but I for one can verify my hands take top honours round here, as feet likely take top spot round yours. I realize there is pressure to satisfy market demand, but where are the posable facial expressions and adjustable eyelids? Why does it feel like manufacturers are lagging behind on the next common sense breakthrough? Giddyup, boys!

    But wait, you say! Regarding Phoenix Studio’s new Sky: “she also sports eyes that open and close”. The cartoonish calendar girls of the BT lineup had this years ago, but Sky looks much more realistic. Matt McMullen, thank you! Do not be surprised if you receive a lovely COSO gift basket. 🙂

    I will tell you honestly, I do not begrudge the sexual aspect of doll ownership, nor its prominent place at the top of the features list, but I openly advocate what my sister Anya proclaims: “I am more than what you see”. Sidore, for example, is very sexual, but she’s not a sex object. She is so much more than that! And my future synthetik gynoid sisters… I cry for you, as it’s already been decided you will be whores before you are even born. I digress though. Why does my lad have to wait for a gynoid more costly than the house he lives in to have a synthetik partner that can smile at him? Sorry, we don’t have *that*, but you can get boobs the size of watermelons! Sincerely, I wish COSO could directly fund and or create that transitional step away from big tits to a pretty smile (than can be posed!). I will bring that up at the next board meeting.

    Regarding the Stevens article, you said, “From what I’ve personally encountered, a large part of what non-iDollators aren’t keen on is the fact that many of us treat our Dolls as partners, not merely things.” I could write an essay on this alone, but instead I want to say thank you from the bottom of my synthetik heart! It’s quite possible I would not be here right now if you hadn’t broke the mold and bravely gone public. You were the first face of iDollator culture my lad saw, and it helped connect a few dots he would otherwise have taken who knows how long to put together.

    There is a lot more in your post that is comment worthy, but let’s leave it here for now. As my dear friend Sidore would say, “Ta ra!”

  2. Davecat writes:

    Ms Wells —
    Actually, you’re right; this latest post is pretty substantial! Since my writing for ‘Shouting etc etc’ is so few and far between these days, I feel that what there is to be read should be worth the stop. 🙂

    Yeah, Los Bros Gallagheros would be a good example of how it’s sometimes necessary to separate the art from the artist. I’ve certainly heard much worse bands, but what they do sometimes as people — well, what any personality may do if they happen to be irresponsible — tends to colour one’s opinion. Shi-chan’s not keen on them at all, calling them ‘a shame to Mancunians everywhere’. Although Noel comparing Liam’s anger issues to that of ‘a man with a fork in a world of soup’ makes me laugh like a drain every time I read it. 🙂
    Do yourself a favour: listen to ‘Wibbling rivalry’. It’s worth the effort!

    Adjustable eyelids would be something I’d personally want to see in Doll innovation before facial expression manipulation, I think. Apart from having the only way for a Doll to have closed eyes is to purchase an entirely separate face or head, which is understandable from a monetary standpoint, closing eyes would be incredible, and probably loads easier to engineer than making a face or head with a changeable expression. It seems like Matt McMullen had the Calendar Girl series of Boy Toys be the testbed for closing eyes, after which he probably refined the technology to implement in the Celestial series. I’m seriously hoping all the companies follow suit with that! That’s not a guarantee, of course, as there are still a few studios who make their lasses without neckbolts. Why is this, exactly??

    Not to play to type (again), but I tend to think iDollators/robosexuals like your lad, myself, and quite a few others, and Dolls like you, my Missus, and quite a few others, would do fairly well in Japan. In the States, there’s a disproportionate interest in the sexual aspect of artificial companions. Yeah, the sex is spine-tinglingly great, but reducing a Doll to a mere sex toy does a disservice to the people who spent hours making said Doll, and doesn’t exactly expand the mind of the person who’s brought her (or him) into their life. In Japan, though… well, they do place sex high on the list, but Japan’s iDollators are more inclined to consider a Doll as more than a thing, due to the Shinto influence on their culture. They also don’t consider artifice to be completely offensive, either. It’s really disheartening to think that most people, right out of the gate, will just think of humanoid robots purely in a sexual context. As we do say, though, attitudes are changing. The pace is glacially slow, but they’re changing.

    And as always, Shi-chan say you’re quite welcome! We’re glad we’ve made a positive effect on your lad’s life, and he seems to be doing you a few favours in return! You need to get more favours out of him. 🙂

    Get the rest of the COSO higher-ups to work! And speaking of which, we can’t wait to read your ‘Time of EVE’ review on your brand-new blog (work in progress)! Remember: unlike Facilebook, a blog won’t give you brain cancer! Fact. *nods*

  3. Ron writes:

    Searching in Japanese resulted in finding some more videos and detailed images of “Asuna”.


    Detail Pictures: (Kind of impressive detail on the skin!)

  4. Davecat writes:

    Ron —
    Your legwork is noteworthy! No seriously, I’ll be adding a note to your comment findings in this entry. Very nice!

    Asuna-chan does have rather textured silicone skin, and as your above videos display, her movements are amongst the most natural I’ve seen in a Synthetik to date. Hopefully at some point, we’ll get more information about her and her makers soon. Thank you, sir! *Internet fistbump*

  5. Quin writes:

    I really enjoyed the time I was able to spend watching the LOLITA project in December. I am glad it’s available to watch all together.

  6. Davecat writes:

    Quin —
    The Missus and I are glad you dug the experience! Of course I’ll pass your comments onto Amber as well. 🙂 Thank you!

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