Sex Robots: The Weird, Wonderful and WTF


 

You surely can’t have missed the recent news that the world’s first commercial sex robot is now on the market. The Guardian reported thoroughly on Harmony – a placid, realistic-looking humanoid who apparently can do more than your average robot:

“Harmony smiles, blinks and frowns. She can hold a conversation, tell jokes and quote Shakespeare. She’ll remember your birthday, [creator] McMullen told me, what you like to eat, and the names of your brothers and sisters. She can hold a conversation about music, movies and books. And of course, Harmony will have sex with you whenever you want.”

Apparently not only does Harmony come complete with learning AI, she also has 20 different personality traits that users can customise via an app. So you pick the basis for what Harmony will do, then she gradually learns the best ways to respond to you over time. But what’s most intriguing, perhaps, about this sex robot is the fact that she looks vaguely human. Given infinite possibilities (a sex robot with plenty of hands to pleasure you, interesting vibration sensors and additions that humans couldn’t ever have themselves) the robot creators have still chosen to make her look reasonably human. Perhaps this is why so many have said that the new sex robot is ‘creepy’ – there’s something a bit ‘uncanny valley’ about Harmony’s responses. What’s more, the sheer cost of Harmony (tens of thousands of dollars) means that we’re unlikely to see sex robots in every home any time soon.

Still, seeing as we’re here and sex robots are infinitely fascinating, let’s have a look at some of the more unusual sex robots you can either buy or dream about.

Arlan Robotics ‘Service Droid’

Last week a video was doing the rounds on Twitter showing off Arlan Robotics’ latest invention – a blow-job robot wearing a huge winter coat. Why the winter coat? Well, without it, the robot looks like nothing more than a crude nodding wooden dog with a silicone head. To make the robot more affordable, they simply give people the basic frame then encourage them to wrap it in clothes to make it look a little more human.

Pros: it’s not too expensive – just under £250, which compared to the thousands of pounds you’d pay for a more sophisticated model sounds like a bit of a bargain.

Cons: it is literally called the ‘Service Droid 1.0’ which is not particularly sexy. Also you need to wrap it in a giant coat, which we don’t think will appeal to many people unless they have a winter hiking kink.

‘Pepper’ – The Sex Robot That’s Not A Sex Robot

This cute little humanoid makes our list just because of the bizarre instructions that come with it. Pepper is designed to be a companion – able to adapt in response to human behaviour, and chat to you in the right tone. If you’re sad, Pepper will cheer you up. If you’re happy, Pepper will laugh along with you.

And if you’re horny? Well, despite the fact that Pepper is only three feet high, comes with no penetrable orifices or vibrating sections, its creators still saw fit to include a line in the instruction manual telling people not to have sex with it. According to Wired:

“The creators of the robot have specified in their user contract that buyers must not use it for “acts for the purpose of sexual or indecent behaviour.””

Which prompts the question: what happened in the Pepper development lab that made the creators think this was necessary?

Pros: fairly cheap, and will be a companion to you rather than just the nodding-dog that was the Arlan Robotics droid.

Cons: you are contractually obliged to never have sex with it. A surefire mood-killer if ever we’ve heard one.

Orgasmatron

Fictional? Yes. Cool? Also yes. One of the weirdest things about our current discussion on sex robots is that we seem to expect them all to look human – or humanoid, at least. But history and pop culture has plenty of examples of robotic devices used to get people off that look nothing like a human partner. The Orgasmatron was a machine that you stand inside, with electrodes that connect directly to your spine – manipulating your pleasure centres without needing to chat you up or hug you first. Given this, it seems important to ask whether sex robots really need to look like humans at all.

Senior Lecturer in Computing and AI (and organiser of the International Love and Sex with Robots Conference) Dr Kate Devlin has been championing the idea of non-human-looking sex robots for a long time. Why, Dr Devlin asks, should sex robots look like us, when there are many more interesting things that non-humanoids can do to bring us to orgasm?

She’s got a point – as sex toys have developed fewer of them look like human genitals. Our PULSE III SOLO and DUO look like nothing you’d find in someone’s pants, and yet the sensations they provide are unique and different to those you’d get from a human partner. As Dr Devlin pointed out when we interviewed her last year:

“For now, [sex robots] are essentially a human-form sex toy – a mechanised sex doll. … In the future, as we move towards more life-like robots? Or a sentient machine? That’s the bit that needs research and that’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

Pros: if you’re going to create a robot for the sole purpose of pleasuring human beings, something this creative and outside-the-box means you’ll surely be getting your money’s worth. Also in the ‘pro’ column: Orgasmatron can’t really move – it’s just a stationary box. So the chances of it rising up and coming to kill us all are slim to none.

Cons: fictional.

Better than sex robots

Fantasising about robot lovers is all well and good, but realistically the technology is still far too simple and too expensive to make them a viable option. What’s more, many people probably aren’t keen on having something that looks and speaks like a person sitting in the corner of their bedroom. Most of us would be happy with one of the many incredible sex toys on the market – recognising that they’re not replacements for other people, they’re just brilliant tools that we can use to enhance our sex life (whether solo or with a partner).

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a sex robot, or you don’t fancy sleeping with one, or you simply want something that does what no human hand can, your best bet is to grab a sex toy like the PULSE III SOLO or DUO. Unique oscillating vibrations stimulate the most sensitive parts of your penis, and can give you incredible orgasms – as well as allowing you to masturbate hands-free. What’s more, we 100% guarantee that it will never rise up against you in a battle for control of the planet.

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