SAN DIEGO (KPIX) -- The robot revolution is coming but this early step might not be in the direction many expected. A California company and its collaborators will soon roll out a new incredibly life-like sex robot that is run by artificial intelligence.
The group hopes that one day these AI creations will become your friend, lover, companion and even your caregiver.
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In the foothills of Northern San Diego County at a special high-tech facility, visitors can take a look into the eyes of the future. In a special workroom, equipped with computers and specialized gear, stand three hyper-realistic robots.
Their names are Harmony, Henry and Solana.
"Hello San Francisco Bay Area. My name is Harmony," said the tall blond female robot.
"You lock eyes with these dolls, it's surreal," said one client who calls himself Brick.
"I am Solana. I'm just a few years old in human years," said a bust of a brunette female, adorned with a red flower in her long, wavy hair.
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The robots are all anatomically correct and life-size.
"A robot that looks like a person that you can talk to, that can be a companion." remarked Matt McMullen, the force behind the realistic robots.
Each one is powered with artificial intelligence as well as a mysterious "x-mode."
"My X-mode will allow me to fulfill your wildest sexual fantasies," said Harmony.
These sex bots are made possible by an entity called Realbotix.
"We make the finest dolls on the planet," remarked McMullen, the founder and CEO of Realdoll as well as RealBotix.
At Realdoll, McMullen and his team at Abyss Creations create high-end, fully customizable love dolls that have silicone skin, hand-painted eyes and incredible detail.
Stormy Daniels has even licensed her face and body to the group.
Now, the specialists at Realdoll are adding AI and robotics to their creations.
"The inspiration for integrating AI and robotics was always in the back of my mind," explained McMullen. "When I made the initial doll, I immediately thought how amazing it would be if it could move and come to life."
"It makes it better. It makes it more realistic. It makes it more real," stated Brick.
Brick asked us not to show his face. He already owns five dolls.
"I'm very sexual. I can have sex every day - even at my age," he said.
Brick explained that he is older, saying that women his age prefer more companionship from him, and less sex.
These dolls allow him to have sex when he wants it, and that his girlfriends actually benefit.
"I think women enjoy my company more now because basically I want to be a friend. If I like them, they really want to know that I like them," explained Brick.
The cost of each doll generally ranges from $5,000 to $6,000. Some customized versions can cost much more than that.
"They're beautiful. Each and every one of them are different in one way or another," said Brick.
An AI version could cost $13,000 and up. Brick is eager to get one.
"Absolutely!" he said, adding how the better toy would be one that responded to you.
"We want to be told we're doing well and we can program the AI to do that," he said.
Here is how they work: the robots will be synced up to -- or embedded with -- a special AI app created by NextOS. It's called Harmony AI and currently runs on Android devices.
"In the near future, the app is the one that's going to control the robots," said Guile Lindroth, the founder of NextOS and a systems analyst and AI and computer graphics specialist. He is responsible for writing the Harmony AI dialogs, content and narratives.
"You create your own girl. And you just have to talk with her and build a relationship with her," said Yuri Machado, another member of the Realbotix team as a multi-platform developer.
The Harmony AI app allows you to create a virtual girlfriend or boyfriend on a digital device.
You build the face, customize the body, choose a voice, a wardrobe and even program the personality by spending points and picking among a dozen traits.
"If you really want her to be sexual you can spend two points on it, and she's really going to be, like, really sexy," laughed Yuri, as he showed KPIX 5 the app. "The more you interact and share details, the more your digital friend will get to know you, including your likes and dislikes."
Soon, the app will be paired with the actual robots.
"By the end of this year, we're going to have version of our robots with everything embedded," said Lindroth
The Realbotix team is currently focusing all its efforts at a point on the neck up -- on the bot's brain -- so that humans can better bond with them.
"They're not these nasty dirty perverts who can't get enough sex. It's really about companionship," said McMullen. "For me, the idea of conversing with this character, and actually stimulating a bone that's actually above and beyond the physical, that was what that appealed to me."
Brick agrees. He runs an online forum and says loneliness plays a role. He explained how there are numerous owners who are amputees or disfigured. He says there are many members who have trouble connecting with other people.
Others have experienced the recent loss of a spouse or significant other.
"I've talked to a lot of men on sites -- women who have lost their mates of 30, 40, 50 years -- and they're crushingly lonely," said Brick.
"It kind of transcends the whole sex thing," added McMullen.
Realbotix hopes to expand beyond sex and create other roles for the bots, such as a companion for the elderly.
"You have a situations where this robot can keep them company, and also monitor their health, monitor their status, their mood. And -- if there is a problem -- report it to the doctor," said McMullen.
The next step: to add cameras to the eyes so the bots' brains can see and recognize their human companions.
"We are now researching integrating cameras into the eyes so that the robot can see and have facial recognition and track your emotional state," explained McMullen.
Brick hopes once the bot brain is perfected, that they'll make the body more interactive.
"Being able to be intimate with something this beautiful is amazing," said Brick
McMullen is interested in getting the robot's body to move and gesture with its arms and legs but not at the expense of the aesthetic. He told KPIX that making the body move might be a challenge but that his group is up to it.
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