“This is the natural progression and the next stage of products in the doll industry.”
At the moment, the EX Doll Robotic Head is but a prototype. However, it is well on its way to changing the entire doll industry, seeing how it marks a giant leap forward in the development of robotic doll technology. If everything goes according to plan, the final product will hit the market at the end of the year, and of course, it will also be available from Cloud Climax (www.cloudclimax.com), an official, authorised reseller of EX Doll and DS Dolls in the UK and in mainland Europe. In our interview with Paul Lumb, the founder and owner of Cloud Climax explain how much of a game changer the new EX Doll Robotic Head really is.
DS Dolls have presented a prototype for a robot doll. Is this a quantum leap for the industry?
Paul Lumb: The product prototype video that has been released of a robotic head by DS Dolls, is the first to be released by one of the main high-end, Sex Doll manufacturers. This is the natural progression and the next stage of products in the doll industry. EX Doll is currently releasing the redesigned silicone doll heads, one by one, with Studio Level Make-up and a matte finish. This new process is providing greater detail and realism on the faces than ever before. The next stage forward from this is going to be the robotic heads.
Robot doll, sex robot, mechanical companion – how exactly would you describe the DS Dolls creation?
Cloud Climax will be marketing this new robotic creation as an EX Doll Robotic Head. The beauty of the product is that current DS Doll owners will be able to upgrade the head to the new robotic one without buying a full new doll. The main features of the product are that her face will be able to make lifelike expressions, blink, move her eyes and verbally interact. Currently, the project is only for the Doll head to be robotic, and the body will be a choice between the currently offered styles from 158 to 167cm. DS Dolls are currently working on the skeletal structures of all of the Dolls and the ultimate 167cm sex doll has just had 5kg taken off her weight, so combined Head and body is now only 32kg, very light for such a high-quality silicone doll. All bodies will be upgraded prior to the release of the robotic head.
How long has DS Dolls been working on this prototype?
DS Dolls have been working on this project with their in-house research and development team in Dalian since 2014. It has been a lengthy process to move ahead to the point of being able to produce this prototype and much development has been made through this time. The final head will be released between the end of 2017 and beginning months of 2018. More development will be done in this time to ensure that the processes and method used to manufacture are to the high levels produced by Ex Doll / DS Dolls.
Would you mind telling us what the prototype can do, i.e. which features and functions it offers?
The prototype is able to blink, make facial expressions, move her mouth, eyes, and eyebrows to give further expression, she can speak and answer questions, she can sing too. She currently only converses in Chinese. English and Japanese versions will be developed too with the use of a voice actor, to ensure correct and natural language usage and translation. She is controlled with a game pad controller or an app which will be available for download by owners. The user can use the app to edit and control particular expressions of the face. She can listen and answer questions. EX Doll employed a famous voice recognition software company to assist in integrating this awesome feature. It is a very similar experience to speaking into your mobile phone.
In what way will artificial intelligence revolutionise the doll market?
Words cannot describe how enthusiastic the doll aficionados are about this product. It is revolutionary in the way that you will be able to speak to her and bespoke the type of interaction you want to receive in return through the app. I think that the AI element was always going to come into the doll market, it really is what people are wanting now with all the technological advancements we have seen in other markets as well as with the Sex Tech products that are available.
What we must remember, where there have been major, publicised advances in technology in other areas of the industry, the doll industry has been slowly and discreetly evolving over the last 15 years to get to the point of realism that we can experience today. Where the current popular discussion seems to be about ‘sex robots’, the experienced doll manufacturers and doll owners have seen this development coming over time and embraced it, rather than it suddenly appearing as the shocker being portrayed in the eyes of the mainstream media.
Being a doll owner myself and of course also a reseller, to say that I am excited is an understatement. This technology cannot come soon enough.
“I think that the AI element was always going to come into the doll market, it really is what people are wanting now with all the technological advancements we have seen in other markets as well as with the Sex Tech products that are available.”
Can the user control the robot doll, or will it also be able to make a few decisions independently?
The doll will not be able to act independently, nor will it be able to ‘think’ for itself. It is pre-programmable to give answers to particular questions. Facial expressions and personal details will be programmable. She will be able to look towards the direction that she ‘hears’ vocals coming from. If you were to ask her about the weather a week on Wednesday, the programming she is based upon would search the internet in order to provide a relevant answer (probably raining!). The company that has produced this voice interaction and recognition software also provide the software to various companies that produce approximately 80% of the world’s smartphones and IOT devices for voice recognition.
I think that the doll acting independently ‘thing’ is being seen as somewhat controversial in the eyes of the media and the portrayal of these kinds of products. What I would say is that no man-made product such as this one is able to think or feel for itself. It is the owner that makes the doll what she is, whether robotic or not, and it is the feelings of the owner towards the doll that make her special. I think that you can think too deeply into these things from a psychological point of view and that people will always have differences of opinions regarding advancements of technological nature.
Doll ownership has always been controversial. What you must remember is that no two people are alike, and so what is the norm for someone, can be the total opposite for someone else. If I was to say to you I have a virtual reality headset and I pay for a pornography subscription, nowadays, that would be seen as regular. If I was to tell you, I have a sex doll with a robotic head that I can talk to if I wanted, and she can smile at me, you would perhaps judge me for this choice… your thought process has led you to come to those conclusions based on societies basis for judging norms.
Societies norms and opinions are ever evolving and sexuality perceptions are changing for the better. We live in a much more inclusive world and soon this will include Doll ownership too.
When discussing the forthcoming robotic head, most Doll owners have told me that the feature they look forward to the most is the facial expressions. This will be the feature they feel will most enhance their connection and engagement. Many doll owners do not have sex with their doll and use her for photographic purposes and the ability to produce different expressions will add to the photogenic nature to the EX Dolls.
“We live in a much more inclusive world and soon this will include Doll ownership too.”
Is it correct that the robot head can be put on regular dolls?
As we discussed earlier, the robotic head will be able to fit onto a regular DS Doll / EX Doll body. You will be able to buy it with a regular silicone doll body, or as the head on its own to fit on the doll you already have. The fitting upon the neck is still to be finalised as the development continues, but it will most definitely be made to fit all DS Doll bodies.
When will this project reach market maturity? When can we expect it to launch?
The development continues, and the Chinese version should hopefully be available by the end of the year. With the extra work involved in the English and Japanese versions, we do expect these to take a little longer, but all updates and breakthroughs will be documented on our website as they happen.
Will this robot doll even be affordable for people with an average income?
One of the most important aspects of making the robotic doll head for EX Doll is that it be an affordable product. What is the point in making a product that is out of reach financially for a lot of people? The aim is to get the product right in the development stages so as to make a high-quality product that can be produced effectively, with great materials and software, that looks beautiful and is at the right price for consumers to want to buy her. A doll is always an investment, however, the robotic head will not be out of reach for those who want one.
There is lots of talk about ‘robot sex’ in the media, and a lot of moralisers are wagging their fingers. Given your position as a reseller for these dolls, you are obviously a bit biased regarding this topic, but still: Is it morally reprehensible to have sex with a robot?
I think we touched on this a little bit on another question. What I would like to say is that it is extremely difficult to explain the sound byte that is sex robot. The medias portrayal is always with the aim to engage the reader or listener, with a snapshot view, no matter what the topic. In a topic such as sex robots, it will always attempt to make controversy and to drive opinion. That said, I believe that the technology involved in the EX Doll robotic head and engaging in sex with that doll is no different to using a masturbator with a headset. It is a virtual interactive experience just on a much more realistic and grander scale.
The topic of Robot Sex has recently become the trend to talk about and to publicise. I see this as a good thing. It is not so long ago that sexual orientations were the current taboo and look how far we have progressed with LGBT+ at this time. The level of progression is inspiring.
Right now, full robots for mainstream are still a long way away. The interactive head is coming soon, but it is still not going to be cyborg-style like the media portrayal has been. This is more an interactive enhancement to an already amazing product.
I think that there are many morally reprehensible activities that should be focused on eliminating, rather than technology advancements and robotics. To touch upon the psychology element, my belief is that to understand the human psyche truly, first, would be a better use of resources. It saddens me that so many people struggle in their lives without appropriate psychological assistance and that the energy and time spent on discussing and understanding the use of a mechanical implement for sex seem to be far more interesting than helping these people with their mental health issues.
I myself cannot see how there can be an issue with having a sexual relationship with a sex Doll can be seen as wrong in the eyes of these ‘finger waggers’. The only instance that the doll has emotions and feelings is those imagined by the owner. I think people who have not had experience of owning a doll should take the time to have the experience and then be in a better position to comment. The companionship element of doll ownership is a very big factor in a lot of new owners choice to buy a doll. Generally speaking, it is one of the main reasons, it is also the case that people buy a doll for sexual purposes and then come to realise the companionship that they get from having a doll.
Creativity and imagination are a large part of most people’s lives and are just another outlet for those natural elements of a person. These two elements are the main basis of most educational systems throughout the world.
Companionship is a large part of life and personal wellbeing. Some people may find it more difficult to keep and sustain a real-life partner for numerous reasons, some may have lost their life partner or find it hard to trust. This is where we are already seeing dolls playing a big part in people’s lives. This is likely to become more mainstream as it becomes more and more acceptable and the Dolls become lighter in weight and even more realistic. You cannot suffer loss or trust issues. It is a relationship upon your own terms, not shared terms which is preferential to all kinds of people.
There are many more, explicit, harmful and illegal acts and behaviours that take place that are far more concerning for society and these should be focused upon rather than something that is not harming anybody and is beneficial to the mental health and state of people and their happiness.
Silicone Dolls are the ‘new VR’ and will become more and more mainstream as positive attitudes towards doll ownership develop and tolerance increases.