CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

Your 'Westworld' sexbot is almost here, thanks to RealDoll

Abyss Creations, maker of the life-size RealDoll, releases an AI named Harmony on the unsuspecting world as its first step toward personal sex robots.

Abyss Creations

The maker of the RealDoll, a life-size faux-human you can have sex with, is stepping up its game.

After months of teasing, Abyss Creations on Saturday released Harmony AI, an app with a "brain" determined to help your silicone RealDoll cater to your every whim and desire. Well, eventually.

Once you're set up, you can interact with the AI using only your voice. Harmony will then continue to learn about you and remember "key facts" meant to "create an engaging simulation of a relationship," according to Abyss. Presumably, the more she learns, the more she'll transform into your dream girl.

Created by a new Abyss subsidiary called Realbotix, the AI app is the precursor to Abyss' future female sexbots (also known as gynoids). Abyss says the app will let users create a unique AI personality and even control how happy, shy, sensual, funny and talkative their RealDoll is. That advancement takes the 20-year-old RealDolls a step beyond Samantha, a preprogrammed gynoid recently introduced by a Spanish engineer. Harmony also lets users create a fully customizable 3D avatar.

While it seems only female robots are currently being developed, Abyss CEO Matt McMullen says the app's foundation is genderless. Once "the male version of the app is complete, subscribers will be able to easily choose different genders when creating their AIs," he told the publication Future of Sex in February.

So how can you get the app? Well, due to those pesky restrictions in the app stores, it's not as easy as an app store link.

Since the Harmony AI app is unavailable in either the iOS or Google Play app stores, you have to sign up for a $20 yearly subscription (that's about £16, AU$26) on the Realbotix page and download the app straight from there. Also, because the app must be side-loaded onto your device, it's currently available only for Android users.

Abyss says this is not only so users can avoid the fees associated with each app store, but because it's the only way the company can integrate "unedited and uncensored" content into the app. Abyss isn't discounting the possibility of an Apple App Store release, saying it may release a "PG" version of the app in that store later.

To be clear, this isn't just an AI set to talk about sex. Sure, she can do that too (obviously), but the ultimate goal of Harmony is to provide a next-level relationship, beyond what current RealDolls can. The AI will later be built into a robotic-head system that can be placed on a RealDoll.

While her limbs won't be robotic yet, the enhanced RealDoll will be able to move her neck and shake her head, and will have full jaw movement/lip sync with the Harmony app, in addition to blinking, roving eyes and moving brows. The Harmony head will also be able to smile at you, or express disappointment, with a frown. You'll also be able to customize her face and makeup, much like you can with current RealDoll options.

Targeted for release sometime this year, Harmony's head is expected to cost "under $10,000" (about £7,985, AU$13,200) for the basic versions -- and you can preorder her now with a $2,000 deposit (just under £1,600, AU$2,640). Half of that is nonrefundable.

We first met a sex robot -- Roxxxy, billed as the world's first -- back in 2010, and robots designed for sexual gratification seem destined to be an inevitable part of our future. A few years back, author and GigaOm lead researcher Stowe Boyd predicted in a Pew Research Center survey that by 2025, robotic sex partners will be commonplace.

So, when do I get to meet my own Maeve Millay?