Companion Robots Offer Life-Like Partner with an Off Switch

Dennis Faas's picture

As was demonstrated at a recent entertainment expo this past week in Las Vegas, the future attraction of "companionship" dolls is set to be a little less carnal and a lot more intellectual.

A New Jersey-based company is claiming to have developed the world's first companion robot. However, it's not your average robot: instead, the life-sized figure is capable of engaging its owner in conversation rather than just an attractive frame.

Touch Sensors with Response

Dark-haired mechanical "Roxxxy" is programmed to say a plethora of different responses based on touch and pre-defined settings. For example, if owner and robot interlock hands, Roxxxy will utter a response along the lines of "I love holding hands with you."

Inside Roxxxy is a laptop connected to cables extending out her back. The robot has touch sensors at strategic locations that can sense when she is being moved, but interestingly enough Roxxxy is unable to move on her own. All sound is projected out of an internal loudspeaker. (Source:

Real-World Preferences, Habits

Among other interesting tidbits of information, Roxxxy is a Manchester United soccer fan (she can hold a conversation concerning her club with the best of them) and she snores at night.

While the phrases that were uttered at the Las Vega expo were pre-recorded, the robot will eventually be able to synthesize phrases out of words and sounds.

Life-Sized Robot More Advanced

This idea is not the first of its kind. A company in Japan, Honey Dolls, also makes life-size companion dolls, but Roxxxy is reportedly far more advanced in terms of sensors and speech capabilities.

Douglas Hines, founder of Lincoln Park, N.J.-based True Companion LLC, professed that the real aim is to make the doll someone the owner can relate to.

Multiple Personalities

Owners will also have the ability to control the mood of their robotic partner. The personalities range from "Wild Wendy" to "Frigid Farrah." Hines will be charging somewhere between $7,000 and $9,000 for the robot (including the internal laptop) and looks to start shipping Roxxxy in the coming months. (Source:

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