Meet Samantha: a smart sex robot that you need to seduce before you get busy

Do you ever stop and ponder what it would be like if Siri or Alexa possessed the same ability to answer everyday questions, but had a propensity for orgasms, was shaped (more or less) like a human woman, and was way more difficult to explain to your houseguests?

If so, you may be interested in Barcelona-based engineer Sergi Santos’ new robotic dolls. Called Samantha, the life-size dolls are designed to replicate, erm, sexual acts — but with artificial intelligence that means she’ll respond to different touches by showing supposed emotional reactions.

In essence, it’s a chatbot, but one with the added “bonus” of having a body to go alongside the voice. Touch Samantha’s hands and she’ll say things like “I love this,” while kissing her or touching her mouth will yield a different response. Other body parts also behave accordingly.

Oh, and occasionally she’ll request songs on Pandora to improve the mood!

Whether a robot that you have to seduce is a step toward a consent-oriented approach to sex dolls or a weirdly reductive, gamified version of a human relationship remains to be seen (could it have hints of both?), but Samantha is certainly a unique way of spending that $5,374 paycheck that’s hanging around your bank account.

samantha sex robot emotion dsc04462

“Tools like [Amazon’s] Alexa are interesting, but the ultimate goal of everybody is to build something with a body and a brain, right?” Santos told Digital Trends. “I wanted to do something that would make my mother say ‘wow’ when she sees it. My mother never said that about any of the other things that I showed her. She’d always say they were funny and then go off and do something else. This project was different.”

Without getting into what Freud would make of that rationale, Santos insists there’s more to Samantha than simply cybercoitus. “I’ve got a Samantha in the family home that can give philosophy quotes or health information,” he continued.

Over time, he thinks the robot will evolve to be a more fleshed-out (no pun intended) companion, with the ability to link different touch sensitive body parts to verbal or communicative cues yielding all types of fun interactions. No, we don’t think we’ll be buying a Samantha robot to chat with our grandmas, but it’s hard to deny that he’s thinking big with his plans.

And with ambitions to make the software open source, who knows what will come out of the project long-term?

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.