Interview: FriXion and the future of connected sex

Interview: FriXion and the future of connected sex

We chat remote access to porn stars, social networking, and groundbreaking API coding with the guys from FriXion.

Late last year we covered a very interesting new technology designed to make long distance sex more of a hands-on proposition. FriXion combines social networking and remote hardware control to provide a wide variety of, essentially, remote-operated sex-toys to the lonely, the adventurous, the curious, and the just downright happy-to-do-it however-they-can.

You can read that article here, or check out a preview video of the tech in action – though it is a little bit on the naughty side.

Being un-averse to getting our freak on, we were curious and got in touch with the company, to learn a little more...

PC&TA: Technology like this has been promised and talked about for yours. What’s helped you guys get it to this point after all this time?

FriXion: The biggest thing holding the technology back has been a combination of stubborn patent and license holders stifling innovation, combined with a “toy” mentality in the industry as it stands.  Our mainstream perspective gives us an advantage to use resources that others just haven’t tapped.  For example, much of the work we’ve done to bring a true remote intimacy solution is to tackle patent and licensing issues as a predicate to our development, which was no easy task; most adult businesses just don’t think this way and get shut down half way in and give up. 

What are WE doing differently? ROBOTS!  Not toys, not trendy vibrators that pretend to be smart or interactive, not gimmicks – reflective force feedback creates a true sense of physical connection and intimacy between users over any distance, which is amazing already, and to adapt it for sex was an easy and intuitive step after that.  We’ve got “actual” sex, or at least the act of it.  Everything else until now has been varying levels of masturbation.  The technology this is all based on is from remote presence robots that are used for remote surgeries – for example one $30,000 robot would track the edge of a doctor’s scalpel to the micron, while the other in another part of the world replaces his movements 1:1 exactly. The Falcon does this same translation, but as a consumer robot with a retail price of less than 200$ with precision to the millimeter.

Now it’s important for me to make clear, FriXion itself is a *platform* not any one device.  We’re very proud of our work with vendors to create the kind of experiences in the video, but the true breakthrough is the telemetry translation API.  We’re inventing a whole new language to describe haptic interactions between users that will support any device today or in the future in any configuration where their functionalities overlap.  Not just for the teledildonics, but videos, games (AI), and other software all use the same telemetry that can be recorded from live “mocap” or graphed manually with extreme precision. 

Our foundation with the patents and licensing puts us in a powerful position to be able to make FriXion a safe haven for third party developers to thrive both in innovation of new software and new hardware.  Through the community social network, we’re aggregating the relatively new demand for user to user haptic experiences while at the same time providing the killer app for the devices themselves.  We see our platform driving the growth of a new niche of development in the haptics space with yet unimagined experiences becoming available in the future that wouldn’t be possible without the work we’re doing now. 

This kind of thing was always an eventuality and people have expected this for a long time.  We’re happy to be the ones to follow through.

PC&TA: Oh, and that is actually a Novint Falcon controller behind the technology? Is that something you’re working with Falcon on?

During our initial development Novint went through a restructuring and we were able to be introduced to the current rights holders to the Falcon devices and were immediately able to see that these robots really solved every problem we were attempting to address with the benefit of already being certified and manufactured.  We worked with their full cooperation to show the demonstration you’ve seen in the showcase, and we couldn’t be more excited with the results.

PC&TA: The usefulness of this goes far beyond lonely people and random hook-ups, doesn’t? I’m seeing not only couples and long distance partners being interested, but the one-to-many capabilities seems like an amazing opportunity for the porn industry – is it wrong of me to imagine popular porn-stars getting their own remote sessions where they connect to their fans?

FriXion: This technology will definitely disrupt many current adult business models out there and we’re excited to see that shake out.  It’s easy to imagine an escort able to make an appointment for one hundred $50 hand jobs on a Wednesday afternoon and be done for the week, which is a great mechanical advantage! 

However on the other end you can imagine what this means to a webcam model who currently pays the bills on her back faking masturbation – which is fairly easy relatively speaking.  Now the demand will be for her to be more like an escort and maybe she won’t be comfortable with that. 

It’s easy to imagine a star like James Deen setting up a promo event for his brand on FriXion where he has one-to-many interactions with hundreds of his fans at the same time, the same with popular female stars. The telemetry encoding could be applied to Hustler’s entire back catalogue to 1975 for video on demand if they wanted to. New scenes could be shot with strategically worn accelerometers or mocap trackers to encode videos live in real time, with minimal post production required to support a relevant “4D” haptic experience for the viewer regardless of their gender.  Games, artificial intelligence, voice control [can all be a part of it]. With a webcam we can even measure a user’s heart beat and reflect that in the telemetry of their partner’s device with a soft pulsing that speeds up in time when they get excited, and they get the same haptic feedback from the partner – or the AI partner can react to it.  It’s truly some sci-fi stuff we’ve got set up here.

PC&TA: I’m curious to know more about the social network aspect of FriXion – can you tell me a bit more about that side of things?

FriXion: The social network means that users have profiles, followers, friends, timelines – there are social hubs with associated content sharing tools and hangouts-style multi-cam chat rooms to meet people. There will be dating-site-style matching for compatible users. We want the experience to be engaging enough that our users that will want to use and check in often.  It’s a piece of the puzzle that I’m especially interested to see how it will be used.  When the users have the “real” chance to get laid with anyone, any time, with no consequences, it could trigger some very interesting dynamics. Maybe even more class or politeness as users try to impress each other and flirt their way to having real, free, organic intimacy with users they actually like and enjoy. 

Well, maybe that’s optimistic. We’ll see anyway!

PC&TA: What kind of pricing/funding model will you be pursuing?

FriXion: The intention is that FriXion is free to use. Transactional encounters between users themselves will be supported but not obligated; premium subscriptions are available to unlock things like HD video and customisation of channels for people who intend on using the platform to do shows, or users that want special flair or access to various VoD libraries and other premium content.

The funding ramp we’re on now is private information shared with accredited investors only – let us know if you or anyone you know is interested in getting involved!

PC&TA: If only – thanks for your time

Note: The amounty of times we almost typed PCT&A in this article was rather alarming...

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