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During the 1800s there were the lifelike mechanized dolls popularized by watchmakers in France, and in the 17th century, rudimentary rag dolls known as kept European sailors company on long missions.Even Thomas Edison played Pygmalion when he manufactured porcelain dolls with built-in phonographs. He took a special interest in sculpture while attending community college in Southern California, eventually taking a job making Halloween masks.His work there inspired him to create a full-size, realistic, poseable mannequin in 1994.He posted a few pictures to the internet, as one does, and soon after he started receiving requests for replicas with functional genitalia. Early on, Mc Mullen says, he saw his customers applying personalities to their dolls, treating them like flesh-and-blood companions."The push to add technology was coming from that root idea, which was the companionship," Mc Mullen says."It's an alternative form of relationship, nothing more."He's right — Harmony is far from human.At first glance, she looks like any other Real Doll — lifelike, but only to a point.Mc Mullen has been perfecting the Real Doll for nearly 20 years and his inventions have appeared in countless movies, TV shows and documentaries. Abyss employs cosmetologists, sculptors, "body builders" and an eye technician, whose sole occupation is crafting those supremely important orbs."You know the saying of the eyes being the window to the soul, really says a lot because that's really how people read each other," Mc Mullen says.
Now, as we sit in the dim light of his R&D room, staring at his latest creation, Matt Mc Mullen, the founder of Abyss Creations (the parent company behind the Real Doll), nonchalantly turns to me and says, "All I see is potential."For a man poised to bring millennia of male desire to life, Mc Mullen, a small but striking figure who looks like a reformed industrial rocker, is surprisingly calm.Versions of the Pygmalion story can be found in countless works of fiction, ballets, films, operas and TV shows.The all support the same ancient premise that real women need an upgrade."And robotics and AI was really, you know, converging those two technologies together into a doll struck me as such an obvious next step."It's easy to draw a line between Mc Mullen and his mythical predecessor, but, he says, their motivations are not the same."People have asked me this question a lot over the years, 'You know, are you making these dolls to replace women?' And, that's really never been even on the radar," he said.