Hanako is a lovely young Japanese woman who spends every day in a dentist’s chair. She does this so that young dental students can practice their newly-learned techniques on her. She’s a trooper, alright, although technically speaking, she’s not really human. She’s a very realistic-looking robot, and if she looks like she’s ready for some hot sex, it might be because she was made with the help of Orient Industry, Japan’s leading producer of life-sized sex dolls. After concerns that the previous version of Hanako was not realistic enough, her creators (Showa, Waseda, and Kogakuin universities and Japanese robot maker Tmsuk), teamed up with Orient in 2011, who replaced the PVC plastic of the old Hanako with silicone, producing a much more realistic skin, tongue, and mouth lining. The new Hanako can now do all kinds of fun things, like open and close her mouth, move her tongue, shake her head, blink, cough, sneeze, choke, roll her eyes, and tell the dentist, “Ouch! It hurts!”
Dentists believe that the more realistic the robot is, the more dental students will identify with it on a psychological level, which in turn will ensure a higher level of care for their patients.
It’s not all happy news, though. In a disturbing turn of events, Hanako was recently arrested when she was discovered moonlighting on a Tokyo street corner, offering her services to passing motorists.