By Sophia Rahman
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / director: Jordi Perez Donat
Producer: Sophia Rahman, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal
Robotics expert Dr Sergi Santos and his partner of 16 years, Maritsa Kissamitaki, are the brains behind ‘Samantha’, an artificial intelligence-driven love doll that he says is capable of enjoying sex.
Sergi, from Rubi, Catalonia in Spain, credits Samantha - who has three different sexual personas, ranging from shy to raging nymphomaniac - with enhancing his sexual endurance.
He also says the love bot improves his marriage by offering a sexual outlet when his wife isn’t in the mood.
Sergi, aged 39, told Barcroft TV: "A man wants to feel in general that the woman is desperate to have sex with him. And if a man feels like the woman will not enjoy (sex) fully, most men do not like the sex. And this is the cause of many sexual problems.
“Because me and my wife for example, I need sex some times of the day that my wife doesn’t want to, and I said, ‘Look, sex is breaking already many relationships because of lack of synchronism’, and I would not put that pressure to my marriage.
“I’ve had couples coming in and just by the way they look I think, ‘This couple is in trouble’, because one of the two is not having enough sex at the right time. Any of us can have this problem and eventually could divorce.
“So if I have the doll I’ll not divorce because of sex. In my case I think that’s good enough."
An electrical engineer by profession, Sergi says his wife gave him the idea to implant his AI network into a sex doll - and the pair now run their business Synthea Amatus together.
Their range of dolls start at around £2000 with the top of the range AI dolls costing around £5000.
Maritsa told Barcroft TV: “It didn’t start as making a sex robot - it started as creating a brain. As he was working on that, it became obvious we needed some sort of body or object to house this brain.
“Then I discovered that sex dolls exist, and thought, ‘This is absolutely perfect’.
“We started researching it and found out - before anyone was making the robots - that wives were buying them for their husbands because they understand the kind of need that their husbands have, and how this could benefit their relationship.”
Maritsa doesn’t see any problems with Sergi’s intimate relationship with the dolls.
She said: “People tend to ask me questions; ‘Ohh, what did you think when he said he would do this?’ As if they think that I came home from work one day and I found the doll sitting on my sofa. It wasn’t like that at all."
But while Maritsa says she doesn’t see Samantha as competition, Sergi now plans to build a male sex robot and says that he would feel jealous if Maritsa slept with a male doll.
He said: “I think I would feel jealous if she used the male sex robot. If I found that she likes the male doll better than me, in the sense that she doesn’t want to be with me, I’d get divorced.
“I don’t see a problem with that. We are not objects, and nobody belongs to anybody. If everybody in the world divorced and got a sex doll, I wouldn’t mind. I’d say, ‘If they got what they wanted, why not?’"
But Maritsa admits that she would be tempted to try out a male version of their sex robots.
She said: “I do find the idea of making a man robot interesting. I would very much like to make one. If I would personally use it, I don’t know. Probably out of curiosity."
Over time the couple have constant improvements to their sex robots, adding in-built vibrations that make their dolls sensitive and reactive to touch, and believe that they feel ever closer to the real thing.
Maritsa said: “I believe that, penetration wise, it’s almost the same. The only thing is maybe with the heat but you can heat it up."
The couple have found people contacting them about the robots in many different circumstances.
Maritsa said: “With some, for whatever reason, they don’t have a person in their life, and are socially awkward or don’t have a social life.
“There are people with social lives, but who still feel lonely. It’s nice to see that you are helping people in some way who are lonely.
And Maritsa believes that even within an existing loving relationship, introducing a doll can have a positive outcome.
She said: “With couples, I think as long as there is trust in the relationship, and mutual respect, then introducing a doll is something that can help.
“Even if you are compatible on so many other things but maybe not sex, a doll can be a complimentary element, and can be a solution.
“As Samantha is now, there is nothing to be jealous of. Very soon she will evolve.
"I think in the next five years she will be much more evolved than she is now.”