In the brightly lit robotics workshop at Abyss Creations’ factory in San Marcos, California, a life-size humanoid was dangling from a stand, hooked between her shoulder blades. Her name was Harmony. She wore a white leotard, her chest was thrust forward and her French-manicured fingers were splayed across the tops of her slim thighs.
Harmony is a prototype, a robotic version of the company’s hyper-realistic silicone sex toy, the RealDoll…Her hazel eyes darted between me and her creator, Matt McMullen, as he described her accomplishments.
Harmony smiles, blinks and frowns. She can hold a conversation, tell jokes and quote Shakespeare… And of course, Harmony will have sex with you whenever you want.
She is the frontrunner in the race to create the world’s first commercially available sex robot. The current model, with a robotic, AI-enhanced head on a RealDoll’s body, will cost $15,000 (£11,700) when it goes on sale at the end of the year.
The major breakthrough of McMullen’s prototype is artificial intelligence that allows it to learn what its owner wants and likes.
The sex tech industry is less than a decade old but is estimated to already be worth $30bn, based on the market value of existing technologies such as smart sex toys that can be operated remotely, apps for finding sexual partners and virtual-reality porn. Sex robots will be the next – and potentially the most sought-after – product to hit the market.
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