Student Life (Independent newspaper of Washington University in St.Louis)
To some, she may be the woman of their dreams. At 5 feet 7 inches and 120 pounds, her physique is slender, and she has strawberry-blonde tresses that caress her flawlessly smooth complexion. She is amiable, understanding and enjoys intelligent conversation, but perhaps her most redeeming character is her sexual submissiveness.
Her name is Roxxxy, and she is the world’s premiere female sex robot.
“She doesn’t vacuum or cook, but she does almost everything else,” said her inventor, Douglas Hines, who made Roxxxy’s debut in January at the Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) in Las Vegas, Nev.
The sex toy industry, globally worth more than $15 billion, has never seen anything like Roxxxy. There are blow-up dolls and other robots, but she is the closest replacement for true human companionship, and for $7,000 she will be someone’s friend forever.
Beneath her soft silicone skin, Roxxxy is enabled by a computer that features voice recognition and speech synthesis, among other software. The customer can even choose Roxxxy’s personality, as she comes preloaded with five different personalities like Rigid Farrah and Wild Wendy.
Hines, a computer scientist and former Bell Labs engineer, is a self-proclaimed happily married man from Lincoln Park, N.J., who merely wanted to find a marketable outlet for his artificial intelligence expertise.
Roxxxy will not be available for delivery for several months, but Hines is taking pre-orders through his Web site,
TrueCompanion.com, where 4,000 men have already signed up.
“They’re like, ‘I can’t wait to meet her,’” Hines said. “It’s almost like the anticipation of a first date.”
According to Grace Lee, spokeswoman for the AEE porn industry convention, Roxxxy garnered a lot of attention.
“Roxxxy generated a lot of buzz at AEE,” Lee said. “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.’”
Roxxxy’s exterior is made from hypoallergenic silicone cast over a structural skeleton. Although she cannot move by herself, her body is pliable and can be bent into almost any position. Hines employed a female model to create Roxxxy’s anatomically perfect mold.
The robot functions on a rechargeable battery that lasts about three hours for every charge. The electrical cord plugs into her back.
Roxxxy is able to have conversations because when she “hears” someone speak, the computer converts the words to text and then cross-references it against a database of hundreds of fitting responses. Roxxxy’s selected response, which was prerecorded by an unidentified radio host, is then heard through a loudspeaker under her wig.
To date, Roxxxy is only available in English, but Hines is in the process of creating Japanese and Spanish versions in addition to a male version named Rocky. He can even personalize each Roxxxy for extra charge by recording specific dialogue as requested by the customer. In other words, one Roxxxy can be a movie buff while another is an expert in organic chemistry.
“Everything you say to her is processed. It’s very near real time, almost without delay,” Hines said of Roxxxy’s ability to talk. “To make it as realistic as possible, she has different dialogue at different times. She talks in her sleep.”
Roxxxy’s closest competitor in the U.S. is the Realdoll, which is cheaper (about $5,500) but mute. Hines believes that no other sex robot can offer the same emotional connection as a Roxxxy. His main target consumer group is socially awkward and older men who have trouble meeting women.
Although Roxxxy is a new product, the concept of wanting to increase sexual pleasure is not unique.
In the medical arena, vaginal cosmetic surgery to increase female pleasure is gaining popularity among women. Most of these surgeries are risky and uncovered by insurance, and have no published studies on their effectiveness, however.
One procedure is called Vaginal Rejuvenation and it comes with a price tag of approximately $7,000. It involves tightening of the vagina for older women who feel too loose to enjoy sex.
Another procedure is Labiaplasty, which costs around $6,000, and aims to correct the size or asymmetry of the inner or outer labia. Uneven lips are very common and normal, however.
Women can also have their hymen repaired for $5,000 to experience the feeling of losing virginity again.
With the advent of technological and medical innovation, attitudes toward sex in the 21st century are clearly far from what they used to be just five decades ago.