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 :

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.

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:

A clang, followed by another clang on August 31st, 2007

Metalsexy! on March 16th, 2009

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

typed for your pleasure on 16 October 2010, at 10.26 am

Sdtrk: ‘Noskl in Ana “Turntable mix”‘ by Masonna

Hello there! Would you like some long-delayed news about Dolls, Gynoids, and robotics in general? Yes, you would.

+ Initially, I didn’t get a chance to report on this — or rather, I had the chance, but I kinda put off doing so due to a bare-knuckle brawl between myself and my lazier nature — but you of course recall the stunning new affictitious beauty from Kokoro co. Ltd, by the name of Geminoid-F? Well, she’s been renamed Actroid-F, which makes more sense, consistency-wise. But that’s not the real important thing! Starting 11 November, she’ll be in a stageplay!

That Actroid-F’s got some nice legs on her

Following in the footsteps of Wakamaru and EveR-3, ATR and Kokoro Co. Ltd.’s Actroid-F (aka Geminoid-F) is starring alongside a human actress in a stage play called “Farewell”. The human-like android will get its voice from another (human) actress. The performance takes place November 10th ~ 11th in Ikebukuru [sic], Tokyo. The experimental play is part of Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro and Hirata Ojira’s ongoing “Robot Theater Project”, which began in 2008. The plays incorporate robots used at Osaka University and ATR Intelligent Robotics & Communication Lab to reveal the boundaries between humans and robots, while bringing together the arts and sciences.
taken from this site

Bryerly Long would be the other actress in the performance; she portrays a young woman with a terminal illness whose only company is a Gynoid that her parents have purchased her. A bit bleak, but there you are. Personally, I think the real test of both actresses’ skills were if the Organik were to play the part of the Gynoid, and Actroid-F was the dying woman…
If you happen to catch it in Tokyo next month, let me know how it goes! That is, if you can’t sneak a videocamera into the venue.

+ In the interest of presenting the opposing side of the pro-Synthetiks stance I champion all the time, this would be an article that addresses the topic that society may not yet be ready for humanoid robots. Unthinkable, yes, but like I’d said, I’m trying to do the equal time thing, here.

Poll Results: Humanoid Robots Unpopular…?

A 2008 survey suggests that people aren’t interested in robots that look like humans. The survey asked people at a home and living show about robots in daily life. Botjunkie took one look at the graphs and concluded that it isn’t a good idea to design robots that look like people. What the graphs and paper do not show is that there is a range of humanoid robots, from ones that look realistic to ones that have abstract human features.

[…] Naturally people don’t want robots to do the jobs they feel require a human touch, such as taking care of the kids, or that are considered above mechanical work, such as cooking and driving, though paradoxically they do want robots to take care of them when they get old.
the entire article is here

See, I’ll grant that a lot of people aren’t exactly comfortable with the possible so-called ‘uncanny valley’ effect that humanoid robots may have, but the thing that gets me is that there are quite a few factors at play that the poll fails to address.
One, the ‘resistance to technological progress’ factor. These are people who, if it were 1875, would grow beet red violently insisting that man would never set foot on the Moon. These are people who state that everything society needs has already been invented, and we can draw a line under it now that it’s 2010. If the group that were polled are mostly composed of people with that mentality, you’re going to get some skewed answers. If you were to ask me, as an example, questions about, say, rap music, my answers would be mostly in the negative, as I don’t like rap. Obviously you can’t run polls that cater to the audience, as it’s counterproductive, but the Botjunkie post stated that it was held at a home and living exhibition. Chances are, you’re not going to find a tremendous amount of futurists at an event like that.
Two, there are those that are initially resistant to technological progress, but when they see whatever it is in action, they eventually grow to think of it in a reasonable manner, and might well reach a point where they can’t live without whatever initially offended their sensibilities. It’s like people who have fight tooth and nail against moving someplace they initially don’t want to, and you ask them about it a year later, and they insist they love it at their new place and would never leave.
Three, there’s always the factor that most Western societies are founded on the christian ‘man cannot play god’ philosophy, whereas other cultures don’t necessarily follow suit. I’ve mentioned previously about why Japan is more enthusiastic about robots, due in part to their animist leanings — they don’t have the stigma of ‘robots will rise up against their masters and kill all humans’ as they see it as amusing fiction. I’ve also mentioned previously that I should probably move to Japan.
Four — and this is the one answer I always end up repeating — detractors always expect whatever technology to be absolutely bug-free and perfect right out of the gate, which the Windows operating system alone should have taught us all that that’s a pretty ridiculous expectation. If a humanoid robot — whose appearance might still be under development — doesn’t look exactly like an Organik human, they consider it an aesthetic failure. If you watch a video of Osaka University Labs’ Repliee Q1 from 2004, and compare her to her sister Actroid F, previously mentioned in this post, there’s a noticable difference. With that in mind, something like an artificial humanoid should be given a free pass until the artistry behind the appearance gets progressively better.
Hah. Now I’m getting beet red.

+ Back to sensibility: admittedly, the only thing by Ray Bradbury I’ve ever read would be ‘Dandelion wine’ back in high school, which I thought was godawful. On the other hand, the man is a futurist who apparently spins a good yarn about robits, or so I’m told. In this response letter he’d written in 1975 to an author by the name of Brian Sibley, Bradbury attends to Brian’s, and by extension, many people’s, groundless fear of robots:

P.S. Can’t resist commenting on you fears of the Disney robots. Why aren’t you afraid of books, then? The fact is, of course, that people have been afraid of books, down through history. They are extensions of people, not people themselves. Any machine, any robot, is the sum total of the ways we use it. Why not kknock down all robot camera devices and the means for reproducing the stuff that goes into such devices, things called projectors in theatres? A motion picture projector is a non-humanoid robot which repeats truths which we inject into it. Is it inhuman? Yes. Does it project human truths to humanize us more often than not? Yes.

The excuse could be made that we should burn all books because some books are dreadful.

We should mash all cars because some cars get in accidents because of the people driving them.

We should burn down all the theatres in the world because some films are trash, drivel.

So it is finally with the robots you say you fear. Why fear something? Why not create with it? Why not build robot teachers to help out in schools where teaching certain subjects is a bore for EVERYONE? Why not have Plato sitting in your Greek Class answering jolly questions about his Republic? I would love to experiment with that. I am not afraid of robots. I am afraid of people, people, people. I want them to remain human. I can help keep them human with the wise and lovely use of books, films, robots, and my own mind, hands, and heart.
the entire article is here

Profound is a shockingly inadequate way to describe what he’s said, but it’ll have to do.

+ This bit of relevance was submitted by alert readers Wolfgang and Via Kalí at near-simultaneous speeds from their respective countries of Japan and Austria: science is bringing us closer to artificial skin that can feel.

Robotics breakthrough: Scientists make artificial skin
by Richard Ingham | Sun Sep 12, 3:35 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – Biotech wizards have engineered electronic skin that can sense touch, in a major step towards next-generation robotics and prosthetic limbs.

The lab-tested material responds to almost the same pressures as human skin and with the same speed, they reported in the British journal Nature Materials.

Important hurdles remain but the exploit is an advance towards replacing today’s clumsy robots and artificial arms with smarter, touch-sensitive upgrades, they believe.

“Humans generally know how to hold a fragile egg without breaking it,” said Ali Javey, an associate professor of computer sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, who led one of the research teams.

“If we ever wanted a robot that could unload the dishes, for instance, we’d want to make sure it doesn’t break the wine glasses in the process. But we’d also want the robot to grip the stock pot without dropping it.”
the rest of the article is here

Obviously, it’ll be a couple of decades before we have robots that have as responsive skin as we Organiks do, but it’s encouraging to know that progress is being made.
I have to say, though: I snickered at the use of the term ‘biotech wizards’ in the opening sentence, as it reminded me of the famous Arthur C. Clarke quote, ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. Also, it made me think of blokes wearing lab coats and pointed hats with stars and moons embroidered on them.

+ Now, taking the same forward-thinking attitude of Mr Bradbury, combined with the artificial skin advancements mentioned above, we have to ask ourselves, what if the humanoid robots in question resembled someone appealing? Someone like, say, that delightful Christina Hendricks? Would small-minded Organiks still fear them?
I for one would welcome our busty ginger Gynoid overlords. But that’s a given.

+ And as I’ve started this post speaking about Actroid-F’s stunning acting debut, it turns out that South Korea’s EveR-3 actually beat her to the punch, way back in February!

Korean Gynoid Snow White, on a Segway

Robot to take starring roles in S.Korea plays
(AFP) – Feb 9, 2010

SEOUL — A South Korean-developed robot that played to acclaim in “Robot Princess and the Seven Dwarfs” is set for more leading theatre roles this year, a scientist said Wednesday.

EveR-3 (Eve Robot 3) starred in various dramas last year including the government-funded “Dwarfs” which attracted a full house, said Lee Ho-Gil, of the state-run Korea Institute of Industrial Technology.

The lifelike EveR-3 is 157 centimetres (five feet, two inches) tall, can communicate in Korean and English, and can express a total of 16 facial expressions — without ever forgetting her lines.

Lee acknowledged that robot actresses find it hard to express the full gamut of emotions and also tend to bump into props and fellow (human) actors.

But he said a thespian android was useful in promoting the cutting-edge industry.

“South Korea is an active frontier in developing robots and we thought that making it would be a good way to promote our technology,” Lee told AFP.
the rest of the article is here

This would be the second time EveR-3’s trod the boards — perhaps she can teach Actroid-F a thing or two. That is, if Actroid-F can suppress her giggling at the fact that EveR-3 rolls about on wheels, instead of actually walking from place to place. Don’t judge.

Right; that’s it for this half! As I seem to have gone a couple of months between posting these — why didn’t you lot tell me?? — I had to break it up, otherwise people would be even less likely to read it. As you’ve seen, this installment dealt with robotics-related topics, so the other post will focus more on Dolls. And fret not; it’s already written. Yay!
Watch this space! Whatever you do, don’t take your eyes off this space

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, robot, Synthetiks, iDollators,
Kokoro Co. Ltd., Geminoid F, Actroid F, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Osaka University Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, uncanny valley, Animism, Repliee Q1, Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine, Brian Sibley, Arthur C. Clarke, Christina Hendricks, Broken Bells, KiTECH, EveR-3

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

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

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Sept 2009)

typed for your pleasure on 22 September 2009, at 6.00 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Cet air là’ by France Gall

This is another reason why I ended my recent Holiday from Blogging a couple of days early — news concerning the World of Synthetik Companions is fast and ever-flowing, like a… high-pressure fire hose. Yeah, that’s it! No, that’s not it.

+ KnightHorse have been busy developing raw affictitious sexiness. For only $2500 USD plus shipping, those ‘leg people’ amongst you can now make their dreams come true with their newest product, Lovable Legs. And really, why wouldn’t you?

She’s half-off, har har har

Here are the full measurements on the Lovable Legs (and therefore also the legs of the body 1 and 2 Lovable Dolls):
Total length of piece: 42″ from top of torso to the heel
Inseam (inside leg measurement from groin to ankle): 28″
Thigh at widest point: 18″
Waist: 22″
Hip: 30″
Buttocks at fullest point: 36.5″
Shoe size: 7 for open toe shoes, 8 for closed toe shoes and boots
Weight: 43lb

I bet the rest of her is concealed by the back of the loveseat

For convenience, they come with an eyebolt and a carabiner for hanging. I approve! Now, all KnightHorse need to do is create Lovable Dolls that are just the Doll from the waist up, so over-enthusiastic customers can re-enact that one scene from the film ‘Beetlejuice’. You know which one I’m talking about.
They’re exactly like the Lovable Feet, but, well, with more behind it, pun intended. As a matter of fact, keep watching ‘Shouting etc etc’, as I might well be able to tell you more about their Lovable Feet rather soon…

Not only that, they’ve finalised two new heads: Ally (left), and Sayuri.

Ally’s sculpt is based off one of Hiroo’s (head of 4woods) favourite models, and the Sayuri head is inspired by ideas from an iDollator. Very impressive!

Finally, KnightHorse are negotiating with various adult film stars, to make licenced Synthetik versions of them. Further news is pending, but when they know, I’ll know, and when I’ll know, you’ll know, and when you’ll know, your pets will know. Is that how it works? I don’t know.

+ Speaking on the topic of Gynoids momentarily, the site Plastic Pals mentions that one of KiTECH’s EveR-series lasses has taken after HRP-4C, and made her debut, walking down the runway in a fashion show. But not really.

‘They’re really big rollerblades! SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE’

Korean Android gets to “walk” the runway, too

South Korea’s Yongsan National Museum had a fashion show this Saturday, August 29th 2009 – that featured a robot model posing on the catwalk in designer Lee Young’s latest threads.

Though this move mirrors the recent appearance of the Japanese android HRP-4C appearing in a fashion show and later in a wedding dress, EVE (the android developed by KITECH) doesn’t actually walk as it is not a biped. The dress hides the robot’s wheeled base.
the rest of the article is here

On the one hand, you have to say ‘well, she’s moving, so that counts for something,’ but on the other hand, that’s a wee bit deceptive, KiTECH. It’d be more honest for them to simply admit that their Gynoid doesn’t walk, but I’m sure once they saw the initial footage of HRP-4C making her sexy mechanical way in front of the cameras, they probably felt the need to step up their game. After all, Baeg Moon-hong did promise that EveR-4 would be a walking model. I am holding you to that promise, sir.

+ Speaking of that EveR-3 lass, remember how I’d briefly mentioned in July’s post how she was performing in a play? Apparently back in May of this year, Swiss director Christian Denisart teamed up with Swiss robotics group Bluebotics SA, and put together a play unexpectedly entitled ‘Robots’. Yes, in Switzerland. Now were there actual robots involved? Of course there were!

Shame she doesn’t resemble EveR-3. But I like his dress sense

Robots steal the musical show | May 6, 2009 – 10:56 AM

They could be accused of giving somewhat mechanical performances, but this was the first time Igor, Leila and Bruno had trodden the boards – and they are robots.

The three high-tech actors are currently starring alongside two human thespians in the world premiere of “Robots”, a musical which mixes drama, humour and science.

An eerie sound echoes above the audience from the lungs of the world’s biggest cinema organ. The curtain opens and a flickering candle glides into the 19th-century-style living room, carried by Igor, a metallic butler, accompanied by Bruno, a state-of-the-art robotic dog.

The two humble servants prepare to wake their master, a man (actor Branch Worsham) who lives in self-imposed exile with his automatic friends. They announce the imminent visit of a woman (Laurence Iseli) who will turn his passionless, controlled world upside down, forcing him to choose between the new intruder and her robotic double, Leila.
the rest of the article is here

To be honest, the plot sounds a wee bit trite — ‘Cherry 2000’, anyone? — but once again, I completely support the idea of utilising robots as actors, as it’ll be simply another method of assimilating artificial beings into society. Frankly, once it gets to the point where robots, Androids, and Gynoids are actors in plays and films that I personally can’t stand — such as anything by Michael Bay, for example — that’ll be a turning point. Because among other things, that will mean that having them as cast members will no longer be a novelty or gimmick, and the general public will have grown used to the idea.
If you’re further interested, there’s a site called Robots Forum, where a podcast was made from an interview with Mr Denisart and Nicolas Tomatis from Bluebotics SA, that you can download from right here.

+ Summertime is a rather big deal for the Japanese. Traditionally, they hold festivals, light fireworks, and set things on fire in general. In that vein, Orient industry have done a set of photos as yukata matsuri (kimono festival) postcards, bearing the images of some of their lovely CandyGirls wearing light, gaily-coloured summer yukata. Nice!

Mizuki, of the Real Love Doll Ange line, thinking about arson

Not only are they artfully done, they’re even safe for work! Print up a couple, and tell your coworkers that they’re models you happen to know.
In the interest of full disclosure, they were originally available as downloadable .pdf files, but only from 07 – 31 August. Sorry! I was away, what do you want??

+ And according to the News section of Orient industry’s site, it appears there is a film due out from Japan, entitled ‘Love Doll‘. It’ll be out on 10 October, and the DVD release is on 20th November, a week after my birthday. Hint, hint. The English section, as of this writing, isn’t online yet, but it doesn’t look too bad. Scenes of Dutch wives in contemporary Japanese settings? You have captured my interest. What will you do with it?

Looks bleak back there. Did she take a bus to Seventies-era Manchester?

It looks like a video collection of still shots, from the look of things, but nevertheless, as I’m a collector of this sort of thing (I prefer the term ‘archivist’), it’s a must-buy regardless…

Well now! The Autumnal Equinox has just ticked over, and we should be all caught up on the World of Synthetik Companions, right? Far from it, my friend. Far from it.
*cue ominous music*

Technorati tags: KnightHorse, Lovable Dolls, 4woods, iDollators, KiTECH, EveR-3, HRP-4C, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, AIST, Baeg Moon-hong, Christian Denisart, Bluebotics SA, Android, Gynoid, robot, Orient Industry, CandyGirl

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typed for your pleasure on 23 July 2009, at 1.05 am

Sdtrk: ‘All saints’ by David Bowie

As hinted at in the Prelude, this month’s edition can honestly be referred to as JUMBO-SIZED!!

+ This just occurred yesterday, so unfortunately, there isn’t a surfeit of details as of yet, but remember our lovely Gynoid HRP-4C? She apparently lined up another modeling gig, this time making her way down the catwalk at the 2009 Yumi Katsura Paris Grand Collection in Osaka.

She’s just proving that a Gynoid would make someone a fine bride

Naturally, I’d want to see her in less — technically, we’ve all seen her in less, that’s her natural state of being — but after viewing the video, I thought the bridal gown was actually quite impressive, and you will, too.

More details as I hear of them! One detail that I have to confirm is that several news sources are reporting her name as being ‘Miim’ now. Err, that’s something that needs to be looked into. After all, when Holon-chan first hit the scene, a few sites were saying that her name was Phorene…

+ Orient industry has changed their layout (again)! And they’ve retconned their model types! Again! O gods, this shit’s ridiculously confusing, and it’s doing my head in.
Right, they’ve gotten rid of the separate model lines for the CandyGirl Jewel Diva and the CandyGirl Jewel Rosa; both of those types are now listed under either CandyGirl Love Doll Rosa, or CandyGirl Real Love Doll Ange. As a result, they’ve stopped production on the Jewel Diva models known as Lisa, Mao, Miki, and Ran. Which is a real shame, as Mao-chan was a gorgeous lass. In addition, they’ve added a new line, known as Love Doll Separate, which means that you can now have a custom-made CandyGirl with detachable head and limbs, for easy storage and transport. Which is double-confusing, as that’s pretty much what all CandyGirls were up until a few years ago, when they began making certain model lines out of silicone, instead of the sofubi (short for soft vinyl, aka PVC) that they were made out of previously. And now it’s a distinct model line? For no discernible reason??
They’ve also added two new heads — the sexed-up Jun and the mature Yoko — which can be used with used with the Rosa or Separate lines. Consolation prizes for your patience?

OI! Stop writhing around and close those doors, you’re letting the heat out

‘Sounds like Jun-chan’s in the other room, letting the heat out’

Quality products aside, Orient industry retcons their product lines so much, I’m sure working there is hallucinatory. Imagine being employed at an auto company — say, Subaru, for example — and you’ve been working there for around two years, helping assemble the popular 360 and 1000 models; which, I should add, are two totally different looking vehicles. One day, the company heads announce that not only will you be making 1000s under the new name 360, but the original 360s will no longer be made. In addition, you’ll be building these cars out of silicone. It makes no sense, frankly.
At any rate, the previous links for those model lines found on ‘Shouting etc etc’ are all redundant, but they’ll at least take you to the main site proper. I can’t be arsed with swapping them out for the new ones, cos who’s to say they won’t change again in a couple of months?

+ Phoenix Studios has finally released Miss Spring, of the Boy Toy Seasons line! For a while, I was starting to think they forgot about her, what with it now being summertime and all.

It stands to reason that spring is the wettest season

She has a MILFy quality about her that’s definitely enticing, wouldn’t you agree? When you couple that with her stunning rubbery qualities, that’s a deadly combination…

+ Here’s the definition of ‘slipped past the keeper’: apparently in April, South Korea’s KiTECH finally debuted EveR-3 at the Hannover Messe industrial exposition. Of course, 90% of the info that I can locate about her is in Korean — oddly enough, Robot Watch, my go-to source for additional news about Japanese and Asian robotics, didn’t make a single mention of her — but I was able to find some pics, as well as this video:

Despite the fact that they had her singing awful K-pop like her older sister, her movements seem more fluid and natural than… well, her older sisters. Plus, this version’s face seems softer, and more appealing.

‘Man, I feel like I’m in a cone when I’m wearing this thing’

As she’s representing Korea, she’s wearing a hanbok, which is one of those incredibly high-waisted traditional dresses. Not exactly flattering, but tradition trumps style in this case. It looks as if she’s incapable of walking, or even moving a single leg, much like Actroid DER3 can, so perhaps that’s why KiTECH hasn’t exactly gone global with the news of her existence.
Further ‘investigation’ shows that she was acting and singing in a play back in February! Don’t ask me what it’s about, as my hangul kung-fu is pig dung.

+ A couple of Saturdays ago, Zip Gun tipped me off to a pair of upcoming Gynoid-related series due out later this year: Karakuri Odette, which is a six-volume manga series by Julietta Suzuki, and Fallout Toyworks, which will be a five-issue comic series by Brett Lewis and Sam Basri. According to Tokyopop, who happen to be the American distributors of Karakuri Odette, it’ll debut on 01 Oct, which will obviously be something to mark on your calendars. Its synopsis?

What does it mean to be truly human?…Odette is a lovely android built by Professor Yoshizawa. Curious to find out what it’s like to be human, she convinces the Professor to enroll her in high school. And thus, with a new group of friends in tow, Odette sets out to discover the true meaning of life as a human, where even the simple stuff is an adventure! A touching slice-of-life comedy, Karakuri Odette does nothing If not uncover the incredible possibilities of the “human” spirit!

And anyone who knows me knows that I loathe the so-called musical style knowns as ’emo’, and it appears that Fallout Toyworks is inspired by the ideas and music of Fall out boy, specifically a song entitled ‘Tiffany Blews’, but as it’s about a Gynoid, I suppose I can overlook that fact. According to the press release, the serial

tells the story of a brilliant young robot maker who risks his entire company for his factory’s newly produced android named Tiffany as she becomes his greatest passion and potentially his own destruction.
taken from this site

As long as I don’t have to listen to any whiny emo caterwaulings, it sounds like something entirely worthwhile! Image Comics will be releasing Fallout Toyworks’s first issue on 02 September, and you can check the website-in-progress here.

+ The folks o’er at Private Island Beauties are coming out with three alluring new faces for their Bathing Beauty body type: Desirae, Fujiko (a Japanese lass), and Gaia (an African-American lass). They’ll be joining the yummy ranks of Angelique, Bella, Calli, and Eden. Gotta love how all the faces they’re developing have names in alphabetical order. Nineteen to go, lads! Get sculpting!

Eden (left), tasting Desirae

I’d show more pictures of the other new girls, but the one above is one of the few on the site where the Dolls don’t have one or both of their loverly jubbleys out. Under normal circumstances, I obviously wouldn’t be complaining, but this is a family blog. Feel free to check their site for more information, though. And pics, if you’re into that sort of thing.

+ Whilst there was a lull in the filming of our segment for the National Geographic documentary, director J.Siberry asked me if I’d seen the monograph of RealDolls wearing Dolce & Gabbana fashion accoutrements. No, was my frantic reply, followed by OMGWHAT’SITCALLEDWHERECANIBUYITHOWMUCHISIT. After the other members of the film crew forcibly pried me off of him, I learned more about it, through the Series of Tubes.

Sexiest marionette show EVAR

Dolce & Gabbana have released a book of photographs that highlight the art of embroidery called Diamonds and Pearls. […] One of the really interesting facets of the book is that the pieces are modeled by “real dolls,” rather than human models to create a “timeless” beauty. […] The photographs were taken by Guenter Parth and features shots in nature, as well as the studio.
taken from this site

Now I can recall back maybe about three or so years ago, ‘Still Lovers‘ photographer Elena Dorfman had mentioned that Abyss creations was tentatively working on a high-fashion haute couture shoot, but I’d heard nothing about it since then, and simply thought the project fell by the wayside. I guess it didn’t!
I don’t know what’s sadder though: the fact that the book’s suggested retail price is $270 USD, or despite that fact, I’m still saving up for a copy. Hrrm. And hey, You are not helping.

Sometimes it’s hard to choose the right face to go with your ensemble

+ Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of online comic xkcd, as it’s too mathy, but it’s easy to see why I included this one strip:

+ Finally, thanks to a tip from good friend and Gynoid-in-training Alice Keenan, we now have a bit more of a peek at the film that I’d mentioned in last month’sDoll-related news’ post, ‘Kuuki Ningyo’. Here’s the trailer:

If she wasn’t inflatable, I’d swear that she was an Erie Doll
Looks winsome! And to satisfy your curiosity, Kat, you can peek at five additional clips from the fillum right here. I only watched one, as I didn’t want to spoil myself, but you lot can knock yourselves out!

Happy 23rd! ‘Shouting to hear the echoes’: where affictitious is synonomous with delicious

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Sept 2008)

typed for your pleasure on 4 September 2008, at 12.02 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Syncopot’ by Ron Geesin

Four days into the month, and it looks like a slim showing of news. Perhaps things will pick up, though… I mean, apart from Simroid-chan and Holon-chan, what’s Kokoro Co. Ltd been up to? Or KITECH, for that matter? Didn’t Baeg Moon-hong promise that EveR-3 would be making her debut before we see the back of 2008?? And should I even enquire about the company that brought the world Dion? Don’t tease us, people; it’s impolite…

So what have we got for September? We have

+ a new model of Personal Companion by the name of Brandi-Lynn, from the good blokes at 1st-PC.

CAUTION: does not come with hairbrush

At 5’5″ and around 55 lbs, boasting measurements of 36.23.35, she seems rather pleasing! And to me, she bears a passing resemblance to Heather Graham. I think it’s the hair. Put her in a pair of rollerskates — the old-style ones, not the inline kind — and see if I’m wrong…

+ Phoenix Studios, as expected, has added yet another sexy Boy Toy to their sexy stable.

CAUTION: pointy hair

Miss September is an enticing lass, I’d say. And did you notice that she’s got, err, more to offer in the bust department? ‘I come with enhanced breasts at no extra charge!’ she says. That’s a pretty positive selling point, so you have to admire her initiative.

+ And rounding out this month’s report is a personal item; this Sunday past, I was once again the subject of a blitzkrieg ten-minute interview conducted by Tanya Gold, for The Independent, a newpaper from the UK. She’d sent an Email asking if I’d be willing to speak about being Sidore’s long-suffering husband, so I naturally said Yes. At the very least, it should be interesting; for one, she seemed genuinely startled when I mentioned that my ideal partner would be a walking, talking Gynoid… I mean, who knew, right? *gestures to ‘Shouting etc etc’ in general*
She tells me the article should materialise sometime next week, and of course, once I know, you lot will know. You know?

Technorati tags: Simroid, Holon, Kokoro Co. Ltd., KITECH, 1st-PC, Phoenix Studios, Boy Toy Dolls

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Feb 2007)

typed for your pleasure on 23 February 2007, at 12.55 am

Sdtrk: ‘Why you never became a dancer’ by whitehouse

So I’d mentioned that I’d found a couple of additional scraps of info about the Chinese Gynoid known as Dion, right? I quite literally happened to luck into them, as the thought of navigating sites in Chinese fills me with an unescapable dread. The company that built her — with the fantastically-lysergic name of Beijing Yuanda Super Robot Technology Co., Ltd. — has some facts about her on their home page. In English, yet! Well, as good as they can get it.

Lovely choice of top

Characteristics of the simulated intelligent robot developed by Beijing Yuanda Super Robot Technology Co., Ltd. are as follows:

His (her) figure and body height are same as that of actual person;

He (she) has the facial features and hair just like that of actual person;

He (she) can have all kinds of rich expressions on face, such as happiness, anger, sadness, pleasure, sorrow, naughtiness, shyness and displeasure, etc.;

His (her) degree of lip-rounding is the same as actual person’s when speaking, he (she) can use different tone, manner of speaking and languages to talk with people;

He (she) has the artificial skin, dermatoglyph and elasticity just like that of actual person;

He (she) is the same as us, has body temperature, pulse, breath and heartbeat.

His (her) main parts of body like head, neck, waist, arm, hand and leg, etc. can hold various postures and any actions just like that of actual person.
the rest of the article is here

The ‘his (her)’ bits indicate that they’re referring to their Androids as well. The one Android bloke I saw footage of was rather funny. He’s dressed in a military uniform, and he doesn’t so much speak, as tersely shout. That’s his schtick, I suppose — the cranky, shouting Android from mainland China. Cranky as Geminoid looks, at least he doesn’t shout. Indoor voice, sir; indoor voice.

And The Korea Times comes through again, with an update on everyone’s favourite (completely) Synthetik pop star, KiTECH’s EveR-2 Muse.

Android to Get Plastic Surgery
By Kim Tae-gyu, Staff Reporter | The Korea Times, 02-12-2007

Korean “female” android, dubbed the EveR-2 Muse, undergoes a plastic surgery for more attractive looks, according to its creator Baeg Moon-hong at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology on Monday.

As the country’s second female android (technically gynoid), the EveR-2 Muse gained prominence late last year with its ability to sing a song.

In response to opinions that it looks homely in comparison to its predecessor EveR-1, however, EveR-2 has not appeared in public events for the past couple of months.

“Originally, I thought that EveR-2 is prettier than EveR-1 because the former looks like a real, flesh and blood human being while the latter looks like a doll,” Baeg said.

“But the public seems to disagree with me and has favored EveR-1. So we decided to conduct the facelift of EveR-2 while making its hands smaller,” said Baeg, who also crafted EveR-1.

Baeg said his team may change the facial skeleton of EveR-2 and the skin will be replaced with a better one. Then he predicts EveR-2 will be a “beauty.”

“Unlike humanoids geared mainly toward developing a variety of functionalities, androids need to look good since they meet people face-to-face,” Baeg said.

“Through the ongoing surgeries, EveR-2 will give a better impression. Good appearances will help its various expressions and good shapes stand out,” the 48-year-old said.
the rest of the article is here

Now see, this is the thing I don’t fully understand. During my image searchings for EveR-2 Muse, I’ve seen three different versions of what she’s supposed to look like.

Three faces of Eve(R-2 Muse)

The far left was, I suppose, some prototype sculpt; the middle was the one that made her ill-fated singing debut; and the last was the version that was featured recently. It might well be a case of the second and third are the same, just with different hairstyles; I always thought the middle one was the least attractive, but if she’s the same as the third pic, it just goes to show you how stage lights can make anyone look horrible. In any case, a facelift wouldn’t go amiss. But I like the last one!…

And since it’s once again that time again, Shi-chan’s got some more videos up at her site; as always, the link is at the top of this blog. Happy 23rd!

Finally, surprise upswing regarding voting on spending quality time with a modern-day Gynoid, thanks to blurbs on both tiny nibbles and Shake Well Before Use. Seems like Actroid DER2 was chosen Most Likely To Be The Populace’s Favourite Sexy Gynoid Overlord. Now how do I go about showing the results to Hiroshi Ishiguro?
Coincidentally enough, one of the new videoclips uploaded is her nattering on about whatever. Enjoy it responsibly, and thanks to all that voted!

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, Synthetik, Actroid, Hiroshi Ishiguro, EveR-2 Muse, KITECH

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Best idol singer EveR

typed for your pleasure on 5 January 2007, at 2.35 pm

Sdtrk: ‘My little brother’ by Art brut

KITECH, Korean creators of the EveR series of Gynoids, have been making all sorts of ace statements recently! You can’t stop ’em!

Korea to Create Dancing Android
By Kim Tae-gyu, Staff Reporter | 29 November, 2006

Korean scientists are working on creating the first android capable of walking and dancing like an entertainer.

Baeg Moon-hong, who crafted the country’s first female androids (technically gynoids) called EveR-1 and EveR-2, Wednesday said that his team aims to develop a mobile model by 2010.

“Beginning next January, we plan to upgrade our EveR series to EveR-3 by 2008 and EveR-4 by 2010,’’ said Baeg, a senior researcher at the state-run Korea Institute of Industrial Technology.

EveR-4 will be able to walk and dance as well as sing a song. Its intelligence will also substantially improve by then,’’ the 48-year-old said.

There are several humanoids that can move with a human-like gait, including Hubo of Korea and ASIMO of Japan, but scientists have yet to develop a walking android.

“Humanoids have thick legs because of the many modules, motors and actuators incorporated in them. Thick legs are OK for humanoids, but we must cram all of them into the thin legs of androids since the latter should look like real flesh and blood human beings,’’ Baeg said.
the rest of the article is here

I have to stop here and give a hearty thumbs-up to the reporter, for actually using the term ‘Gynoid’ in their article. Well done sir/madam! There’s quite a difference between Androids and Gynoids — mainly that Androids are designed to look like male Organik humans and Gynoids are modelled after female Organik humans — so it’s best to get used to using the proper terms now. After all, you wouldn’t call a young lass ‘mister’, would you? Unless, of course, you have poor eyesight. Or you’re utterly deranged.

If they can pull this off, that’ll be beyond amazing. Mechanical balancers are a tricky bit of business, however, and being able to put all of that machinery into a Synthetik and still have her retain a petite shape and weight (well, more than likely, the first proper Gynoids are probably going to be rather heavy — EveR-2 Muse clocks in at 135 lbs, and she doesn’t even walk) will be quite an accomplishment. Given their track record, KITECH should be able to do it, though. Unless Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kokoro Co. Ltd pull it off with Actroid-chan first, of course.

But think about it: in three years’ time, we might very well have mobile Synthetiks. Three years is really not that long of a timeframe. Granted, we’re not going to have Cherry 2000 right out of the gate, but as Sidore-chan would say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was I’.
The fab thing with technological advances, particularly in this day and age, is that it takes relatively less and less time to move forward — for instance, it took less time to go from computers that used punchcards to the laptop that I’m typing this post on, than it did to get from the wheel to the first horseless carriage — that’s the phenomenon that futurist Ray Kurzweil calls ‘the Law of Accelerating Returns‘. I’ve known about this concept for a while; I just never knew it had a name. Note: must look more into this Kurzweil bloke… But the upshot of it is is now that we’ve had Gynoids since 2003 (the year Actroid Repliee made her debut), the developments will start to come more and more quickly, each subsequent iteration being better than the previous one.

Really, what it all boils down to is one very important question: Should I start saving up for a Gynoid now, or should I wait a couple of years?

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, EveR-1, EveR-2 Muse, KITECH, Actroid, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Kokoro, Ray Kurzweil

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