Inventor unveils $7,000 talking sex robot

Posted at 02/02/2010 7:57 PM | Updated as of 02/03/2010 11:30 PM
Roxxxy the sex robot (left) in a product photo on www.TrueCompanion.com, where clients can order the doll. Customers can even order customized versions of the doll according to their preferred make-up, pubic hair color, and skin tone.

Las Vegas, Nevada -- To some men, she might seem like the perfect woman: She's a willowy 5 feet 7 and 120 pounds.

She'll chat with you endlessly about your interests. And she'll have sex whenever you please -- as long as her battery doesn't run out.

Meet Roxxxy, who may be the world's most sophisticated talking female sex robot. For $7,000 (about P320,000), she's all yours.

"She doesn't vacuum or cook, but she does almost everything else," said her inventor, Douglas Hines, who unveiled Roxxxy last month at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lifelike dolls, artificial sex organs and sex-chat phone lines have been keeping the lonely company for decades but Roxxxy takes virtual companionship to a new level.

Powered by a computer under her soft silicone "skin," she employs voice-recognition and speech-synthesis software to answer questions and carry on conversations.

She even comes loaded with five distinct "personalities," from Frigid Farrah to Wild Wendy, that can be programmed to suit customers' preferences.

"There's a tremendous need for this kind of product," said Hines, a computer scientist and former Bell Labs engineer.

Roxxxy won't be available for delivery for several months, but Hines is taking pre-orders through his Web site, TrueCompanion.com, where thousands of men have signed up.

"They're like, 'I can't wait to meet her,' " Hines said. "It's almost like the anticipation of a first date."

Women demand

Women have inquired about ordering a sex robot, too. Hines says a female sex therapist even contacted him about buying one for her patients.

Roxxxy has been like catnip to talk-show hosts since her debut at AEE, the largest porn-industry convention in the country.

In a recent monologue, Jay Leno expressed amazement that a sex robot could carry on lifelike conversations and express realistic emotions. "Luckily, guys," he joked, "there's a button that turns that off."

Curious conventioneers packed Hines' AEE booth last month in Las Vegas, asking questions and stroking Roxxxy's skin as she sat on a couch in a black negligee.

"Roxxxy generated a lot of buzz at AEE," said Grace Lee, spokeswoman for the porn-industry convention. "The prevailing sentiment of everyone I talked to about Roxxxy is 'version 1.0,' but people were fascinated by the concept, and it caused them to rethink the possibilities of 'sex toys.' "

Artificial intelligence

Hines, a self-professed happily married man from Lincoln Park, New Jersey, says he spent more than 3 years developing the robot after trying to find a marketable application for his artificial-intelligence technology.

Roxxxy's body is made from hypoallergenic silicone -- the kind of stuff in prosthetic limbs -- molded over a rigid skeleton.

She cannot move on her own but can be contorted into almost any natural position. To create her shape, a female model spent a week posing for a series of molds.

The robot runs on a self-contained battery that lasts about three hours on one charge, Hines says.

Customers can recharge Roxxxy with an electrical cord that plugs into her back. A motor in her chest pumps heated air through a tube that winds through the robot's body, which Hines says keeps her warm to the touch.

Roxxxy also has sensors in her hands and genital areas -- yes, she is anatomically correct -- that will trigger vocal responses from her when touched. She even shudders to simulate orgasm.

When someone speaks to Roxxxy, her computer converts the words to text and then uses pattern-recognition software to match them against a database containing hundreds of appropriate responses.

The robot then answers aloud -- her prerecorded "voice" is supplied by an unnamed radio host -- through a loudspeaker hidden under her wig.

"Everything you say to her is processed. It's very near real time, almost without delay," Hines said of the dynamics of human-Roxxxy conversation.

"To make it as realistic as possible, she has different dialogue at different times. She talks in her sleep. She even snores." (The snoring feature can be turned off, he says.)

Prototype

Roxxxy understands and speaks only English for now, but Hines' True Companion company is developing Japanese and Spanish versions.

For an extra fee, he'll also record customizable dialogue and phrases for each client, which means Roxxxy could talk to you about NASCAR, say, or the intricacies of politics in the Middle East.

Hines believes that Roxxxy is a step above other love dolls -- the similar but mute RealDoll costs about $5,500 -- because her conversational abilities provide something close to emotional companionship.

His customer base? Shy, awkward or older men who "have trouble meeting girls," he says.

In an industry known for pushing the technological envelope, observers are curious about how Roxxxy will fare in the marketplace.

"Is this a viable product? Yes," said Sherri Shaulis, an editor at Adult Video News, a trade magazine for the pornographic industry. "There's a market for it. Granted, it's a very small market."

Maybe not. TrueCompanion claims that more than 4,000 men have placed pre-orders for Roxxxy robots, and another 20,000 or so have requested information about the product.

TrueCompanion also is developing a male sex robot, named Rocky.

"There's really nothing like this on the market," said Hines, who speaks of his unique creation with what seems like genuine affection. "Whenever she's out in public, everyone wants to talk to her and pose for pictures. It's so cute."