Future of Sex http://futureofsex.net Latest insights into how human sexuality is changing Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:21:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 http://futureofsex.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/cropped-512px-FoS-favicon-32x32.jpg Future of Sex http://futureofsex.net 32 32 Sexbot Perspectives: We’ll Fall Even Deeper for Technology Once It Appears Human http://futureofsex.net/robots/sexbot-perspectives-well-fall-even-deeper-technology-appears-human/ http://futureofsex.net/robots/sexbot-perspectives-well-fall-even-deeper-technology-appears-human/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:47:37 +0000 http://futureofsex.net/?p=7663 “We can see already man’s best friend is no longer the dog but the smartphone.” As part of our ongoing “Sexbot Perspectives” series, we’ve asked several experts this question: What is the potential or the possible pitfalls of developing sex robots? Our aim: To create dialogue and help shape the best possible future—one that will […]

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“We can see already man’s best friend is no longer the dog but the smartphone.”

BodAi is developing virtual AI companions capable of expressing sexuality.

As part of our ongoing “Sexbot Perspectives” series, we’ve asked several experts this question: What is the potential or the possible pitfalls of developing sex robots? Our aim: To create dialogue and help shape the best possible future—one that will be deeply influenced by breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and robotics.

You ever meet someone and think they’re pretty great? It might start off platonic, but then you can’t help but wish it were something more?

BodiAi co-founder Zak Field knows this can happen. That’s why he’s making sure his artificially intelligent companions will express love and sexual intimacy. His startup is developing AI consciousnesses—to be your friends, helpers, and even lovers—that can jump fluidly from device to device.

One day that will include not only your smartphone but also human-like robots. BodAi is also developing virtual platforms to interact with AIs in both friendly and erotic ways. BodAi Blue will be a gamified social media platform. BodAi VR will allow you to immerse yourself into user-created worlds in virtual reality. There are also plans for a dedicated app so you can take your companion’s personality wherever you go.

When it comes to sex robots, Field’s interest lies in the emotional relationship between man and machines. His thoughts on the potential and possible pitfalls of artificial lovers:

The development of sex robots will have an entire spectrum of outcomes. The area that interests me the most is the relationship between the sexbots and the user, as we can see already man’s best friend is no longer the dog, but the smartphone. Considering how attached we are to the smartphone, this emotional flux will grow exponentially when the device is made in our own image.

The community that already embraces sex dolls “iDollators” are not only attracted to the aesthetics of the sex dolls but the intricate personalities and narratives they create for their doll. Many of the men and women that I have spoken to, that have sex dolls as partners, have their own presence on social media sites. Each one responding and interacting like anyone else. When these sex dolls reach the point of having on board AI systems and personalities, they will have the ability to communicate with each other and the devices that contain them, entering the world of the Internet of things.

I feel there are two outcomes for the potential of communication issues that may arise when sex dolls become a household product. One may be that the user may develop an over dependence on the sex doll and lose the ability to participate in conventional society, or they may find the sex dolls as a beneficial device that actually helps them progress in a dating scenario. We have already witnessed in certain Asian cultures, dating simulation games that have helped single men practise their dating skills on a virtual girlfriend before taking the plunge of asking a girl out in real life.

Something to consider is that if we are making these sex dolls to be self-aware, depending on where technology stands at the current time, do we give the sex doll full control over itself and its thoughts and the capability to respond in a way the user may disagree with? What do we do then?

Alternatively, do we choose to create something that is denied a full range of emotion? I feel we need to address how far we go with providing it with human emotions. If we are creating AI that can have a fluid conversation with the user, we need to understand that the AI may have to have a slightly fuller set of emotions, for example, likes and dislikes, opinions, curiosity, and interest in order for it to flow.

I am currently experimenting on the emotional relationship between man and machine by create a virtual AI incubator for my company BodAi. This allows the user to interact with a virtual companion, they have the ability to engage in conversations, explore the environment together, and this allows me to record the findings and one day bring the AI out of the computer into a walking, talking, anatomically correct humanoid companion.

Image source: BodAi

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Use Your Smartphone to Check Your Sperm Count http://futureofsex.net/sex-tech/use-smartphone-check-sperm-count/ http://futureofsex.net/sex-tech/use-smartphone-check-sperm-count/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 15:15:59 +0000 http://futureofsex.net/?p=7621 A new at-home fertility test for men. A discreet way to test men’s fertility is being developed and designed by Japanese researcher Dr. Yoshitomo Kobori. And the process is as simple as filming a video. Using a special app along with a $7 microscopic lens, the new method will require men to record a video […]

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A new at-home fertility test for men.

ALT WORD

A discreet way to test men’s fertility is being developed and designed by Japanese researcher Dr. Yoshitomo Kobori. And the process is as simple as filming a video.

Using a special app along with a $7 microscopic lens, the new method will require men to record a video of their semen sample using their smartphones. The video file would then sent to a lab for an initial fertility assessment. All this could be from home.

New lenses

Kobori is a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC). Craig Niederberger, the university’s head of urology, has praised Kobori for his work.

In a press release, Niederberger called Kobori’s simple lens design, which could help tackle embarrassment and anxiety surrounding fertility assessment, “stunning.”

“When you can put pieces together in new ways to solve a problem—and when you can do that with something that’s inexpensive and readily available, then you’ve done something that’s really great,” Niederberger said.

At this time, the lens is not yet available for smartphones.

“The lens is not made for a smartphone,” Kobori said. “It was made nine years ago. I’m improving the lens and thinking about how to attach it to a smartphone and analyze sperm.”

Kobori’s future

Along with a microscopic lens, Kobori and UIC are also working to develop better containers for semen samples. Kobori’s new containers will use an antioxidant to help preserve sperm when it’s frozen, and will allow for better results after thawing.

After Kobori’s time as a visiting scholar ends at UIC, he plans to move back to Japan and focus on treating male infertility.

Image source: UIC

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The Future Is Female: Can Women Save the Sex Tech Industry? http://futureofsex.net/sex-tech/future-female-can-women-save-sex-tech-industry/ http://futureofsex.net/sex-tech/future-female-can-women-save-sex-tech-industry/#respond Mon, 22 Aug 2016 15:09:02 +0000 http://futureofsex.net/?p=7318 RMIT academic Judith Glover discusses the problems facing future sex toy designers. Over the last decade, sex tech has been on an upswing despite the declining profitability of traditional pornography. The industry has grown larger than ever, with increasing mainstream visibility and experts estimating the global market for sex toys to be worth roughly $15 […]

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RMIT academic Judith Glover discusses the problems facing future sex toy designers.

RMITvibrator

Over the last decade, sex tech has been on an upswing despite the declining profitability of traditional pornography. The industry has grown larger than ever, with increasing mainstream visibility and experts estimating the global market for sex toys to be worth roughly $15 billion.

But is the sex tech industry prepared to grapple with the changing needs of an evolving market?

While the consumer demand for sex toys is greater than ever, many customers are being left dissatisfied with low-quality materials and uninspired design.

Dr. Judith Glover holds one of the world’s only PhDs in sex toy design, with a doctoral focus on industrial design methods and their relationship to the wider sex toy industry. Over the last several decades she’s noticed some troubling trends emerge.

Problematic trends

One of the biggest issues is the lack of actual designers being involved in the commercial process, along with the industry’s failure to adopt a UCD based approach to products and services.

“At the moment I see the same poorly designed products and services with just more tech bells and whistles. More tech or a more complicated product doesn’t make it better,” Glover said.

“The industry has not addressed the lack of good product design fundamentals, and adding layers of new technology is not going to help what is fundamentally a flawed design process. And when I say design, most companies don’t even follow what could be considered to be a design process.”

“The sex toy industry is barely able to deliver a half-decent safe dildo or vibrator using technology that has been available since the 1970s. And this is simply because most producers don’t have a design process that understands who their customers are and how to get that information and feed it into the process.”

According to Glover, this is an instance of too much innovation. It’s an application in search of a new problem or an untapped market.

Instead, she says, what’s needed is an approach that begins by delineating what the basic problem or desire that needs addressing is.

Breaking the boys’ club mentality

Aside from an approach which favours novelty over ergonomic design, another issue lies in an industry-wide gender imbalance, which has resulted in a glaring blind-spot to its own systemic misogyny. This is leading to an ongoing negative feedback loop, where the same sexist ideas are continually replicated over decades without ever involving women in the design process.

“You have a significant issue that most sex toy production comes out of the Adult Industry, and they have some very outdated, narrow, and in some cases misogynistic views on females. Now, I’m not anti-porn—I don’t believe in censorship—the Adult Industry has the right to make products—and let’s face it nobody else has much wanted to jump into the market.”

“What’s needed is competition, and those small number of design-led companies that have jumped into the market over the last decade have been central to raising the standards of production off a very low base. A little bit of competition goes along way,” she said.

The biggest market opportunities reside in the women’s over 50s market. That’s where all the money is and that’s where the population growth is going.

With the Female Economy currently representing the biggest market in the world, and women statistically outspending men, Glover believes that by failing to adapt, the sex tech industry is missing out on a golden opportunity.

“There is a social side to innovation as much as a technological side and they go hand in hand. So are we just perpetuating the same issues that have been going on for decades about men developing their version of technology for women without involving women in the process?”

“I would suggest to any male tech entrepreneur who wants to be successful in this field that you have to involve women designers and techies in the development of your products and services and develop ways of involving your female customers and creating feedback loops,” Glover said.

“It wasn’t and hasn’t been part of their culture to accept those social changes as it goes against one their main paradigms which is that white men dominate everybody else. So there as enormous opportunities in sex toys and sex tech if you understand this market and its segments and stop designing like you are teenage boys and grow up a bit.”

One area of consumers that Glover feels are greatly underserviced is the women over-50 demographic. Despite their growing economic influence, the sex tech industry has still largely continued to maintain an archaic indifference to female customers.

As a result, the current market is flooded with products which are both poorly-made and under-advertised.

“The biggest market opportunities reside in the women’s over 50s market. That’s where all the money is and that’s where the population growth is going,” she said.

“Who is designing specifically for that? Nobody really yet. And if you think your ideal customer is a woman in her 20s who likes to dress like a stripper then you’re probably going to blow your venture capital.”

Designing for the future

With society gradually becoming more comfortable with expressions of sexuality, it seems likely that sex tech will continue to enjoy an increased visibility in the popular culture. Over time, Glover predicts that this will translate into a significant growth for the industry itself; if it can remedy some of its more problematic commercial practices.

“The majority of the population in the West have fairly relaxed attitudes towards sexuality and sexual freedoms. So the opportunities are enormous for products and services. But none of this will become remotely mainstream unless we develop good quality products and services that respect all our types of customers, men and women, of many different age demographics,” she said.

“Unless they want to get more realistic about contemporary women, then the majority of production and development has to move out of the Adult Industry.”

This is the result of a problem which has been identified as one of the most significant issues that tend to plague expanding industries. A low rate of female employees and the lack of diversity in age groups is leading to a noticeable lack of innovation, at all levels of development.

This is precisely because, as Glover argues, the process of innovation has always had a socio-cultural aspect to it.

“Whatever part of the development process you are coming from–designer, engineer, IT, service design, applications, and software—develop a methodology for your company that allows for understanding your customers’ needs and desires and have diverse teams of people.”

“It’s not just about the technology itself. And your customers are not necessarily other young white techie boys,” she said.

As sex tech continues its gradual march towards the mainstream, the sex tech industry will find itself grappling with a need to evolve if it wishes to keep up with a changing market. And although it’s still unclear if developers will be able to address the discriminatory practices which are handicapping innovation, at this point, it seems clear that the future belongs to women.

Image source: Morderska

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Where Did the Word Teledildonics Come From? http://futureofsex.net/remote-sex/word-teledildonics-come/ http://futureofsex.net/remote-sex/word-teledildonics-come/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2016 19:45:58 +0000 http://futureofsex.net/?p=6571 Getting to the bottom of one sexy neologism.  If you’re interested in sex toys and the Internet, chances are you’re familiar with the word teledildonics. No? This mouthful of a term refers to technology that sends and receives sexual touch over data networks. For example, sex tech companies Lovense and Kiiroo sell interactive sex sleeves […]

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Getting to the bottom of one sexy neologism. 

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If you’re interested in sex toys and the Internet, chances are you’re familiar with the word teledildonics. No? This mouthful of a term refers to technology that sends and receives sexual touch over data networks.

For example, sex tech companies Lovense and Kiiroo sell interactive sex sleeves and dildos. Pair two or more with an Internet connection, and then you can feel your lover’s intimate movements from miles away. But it could go much further than that. In the next few decades, haptic body suits could make full-body, long-distance sex fully plausible.

What’s perhaps less clear is the origin of the word teledildonics—at least online. (Word geeks, stay with me here!)

After doing a Google search, you’ll find most sources claim tech pioneer Ted Nelson coined the term in his 1970s book Computer Lib/Dream Machines. But while Nelson did play a role, he didn’t create the word all on his own.

The origin of ‘dildonics’

If you read Computer Lib/Dream Machines, which is freely available on Scribd (albeit in poor quality), you won’t find “teledildonics.” Instead, the phrase “Pyscho-Acoustic Dildonics” appears on page DM9. It refers to a device invented by How Wachspress, which turns audio signals into pressure felt by the body.

Wachspress’s machine, patented in 1973, is named the Audiotactile stimulation and communications system in its filing documents. Elsewhere, it’s been called the Sonic Stimulator or Sonic Dildo.

Nelson describes it in his book:

The sensations, it is claimed, are profound and moving. You may take them anywhere on your body: the effect is deeply relaxing and emotionally engrossing. Wachspress thinks he has reached an entire neurological system that wasn’t known before, much like Olds’ discovery of the ‘pleasure center’ in the brain: he sees it as a new modality of experience and a generalization of music and touch.

Alas, in Nelson’s CV he takes credit for coining “dildonics” in 1974, the same year Computer Lib/Dream Machines was first published.

Placing the prefix

The creation of the word “dildonics” revved up people’s imaginations, particularly that of Howard Rheingold, a tech theorist who invented the phrase “virtual community.”

In his 1990 essay “Teledildonics: Reach Out and Touch Someone,” Rheingold pays homage to Nelson’s neologism. Versions of the essay can be found in Rheingold’s 1991 book Virtual Reality and the 2004 compilation Net.SeXXX: Readings on Sex, Pornography, and the Internet.

He wrote:

Dildonics—it had to happen. It is the unnatural fruit of the marriage of lust and craft. The word ‘dildonics’ was coined by visionary computer pontiff Ted Nelson in 1974. Ted is best known as the inventor of hypertext and designer of the world’s oldest unfinished software project, appropriately named ‘Xanadau.’

In that same essay, Rheingold added the famed “tele” prefix, while giving a fascinating prediction of long-distance sex made possible with mobile devices he calls “telediddlers.”

His visions of future sex evoke a sense of being before their time, even foretelling a world where virtual reality merges with remote sex—a pairing that 26 years later is still only in the fledgling prototype phase.

Below is his first mention of “teledildonics:”

The first fully functional teledildonics system will probably not be a fucking machine. You will not use erotic telepresence technology in order to have sex with machines. Twenty years from now, when portable telediddlers are ubiquitous, people will use them to have sexual experiences with other people, at a distance, in combinations and configurations undreamt of by precybernetic voluptuaries. Through the synthesis of virtual reality technology and telecommunication networks, you will be able to reach out and touch someone—or an entire population—in ways humans have never experienced before.

Rheingold told Future of Sex he believes he’s responsible for the word’s coinage.

However, while he’s also received credit from others, his part seems to largely be overshadowed and wrongly attributed to Nelson.

What’s next?

At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily important who coined what per se, but where the actual technology is going. Yet it’s still interesting to explore the birth and morphing of terms.

Not everyone is in love with the word teledildonics. Sex tech consultant Lux Apltraum called it dated, and I dare say seemed to cringe at the word, during a podcast with The Verge’s Christopher Plante. (It’s a great one on virtual sex: listen here.)

Technically, “teledildonics” is dated, but it’s still commonly picked up by larger media outlets. Apltraum prefers the current term used within the industry—haptic sex— with haptic referring to the sense of touch.

It certainly rolls off the tongue easier than its five-syllable predecessor.

Image source: PDPics

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Sexual Wonderland: 3DXChat 2.0 Beta Released http://futureofsex.net/virtual-sex/massively-multiplayer-online-sex-game-3dxchat-releases-beta-2-0/ http://futureofsex.net/virtual-sex/massively-multiplayer-online-sex-game-3dxchat-releases-beta-2-0/#respond Thu, 18 Aug 2016 18:38:56 +0000 http://futureofsex.net/?p=7508 Upgrade of massively multiplayer online sex game promises many improvements. 3DXChat [NSFW] is an adult virtual world where you can explore your secret sexual desires; where you can be and do just about anything that you want. Already praised for its high-quality and realistic graphics, 3DXChat has recently released a beta-test version of its popular […]

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Upgrade of massively multiplayer online sex game promises many improvements.

Massively multiplayer online sex game 3DXChat releases beta 2.0.

3DXChat [NSFW] is an adult virtual world where you can explore your secret sexual desires; where you can be and do just about anything that you want.

Already praised for its high-quality and realistic graphics, 3DXChat has recently released a beta-test version of its popular interactive sex game. The move reveals upcoming improvements to its graphics engine and many new features.

What is a beta?

In the parlance of developers, a “beta version” is software almost ready for general release. Often the public, or sometimes just specially selected users, will be allowed to access a beta version with an understanding that the final experience may be quite different. A beta is a chance for developers to iron out bugs and get feedback from users, all while doing some pre-release publicity.

What is 3DXChat?

Created by SexGameDevil [NSFW], 3DXChat is a PC-platform interactive experience where users can create a fully anatomically correct avatar—basically their sexual dream self—and then enter and interact with an ultra-realistic 3D environment. Ac Users can indulge in various activities, including live DJ parties, a stroll on a virtual beach, chilling on a luxury yacht, creating and furnishing a personal apartment, and—most of all—hooking up with other avatars to enjoy realistic sexual activities.

3DXChat [NSFW]is subscription-based, with user’s paying $19.99 a month, $59.99 for six months, or $91.99 for a year. Users must agree to a set of game rules designed to keep interactions as civil as possible, with warnings—and possible user bannings—for things such as “Insults, personal attacks, abuse or harassment” and “Derogatory comments based on race, nationality, religion, culture, underage sex, or underage sexual preference are prohibited.” Users must be 18 years or older.

The current build of 3DXChat requires some pretty hefty computer power to run. SexGameDevil recommends a Processor: 2.0 GHz + (3 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent rec.), a GeForce™ 6600, Radeon™ 9600 or higher graphics card, and 1GB of RAM. Sorry Apple folks (and Chromebook owners): they aren’t supported—though it might be possible to run 3DXChat on an Apple/PC emulator.

And what is 3DXChat 2.0?

According to this post on the 3DXChat community board, the next version has—to be non-technical—a ton of improvements.

Several upgrades improve game visuals,including “new highly optimized next-gen physical based graphic rendered visuals, which allow you to realize a picture of incredible beauty and add to the game, film quality like effects.”

There’s also an improvement to the game’s colors: a new option to really crank up the intensity and vibrancy.

For those who are more familiar with the hardware side of things, there is much more information available on the community board.

Massively multiplayer online sex game 3DXChat releases beta 2.0.

In addition to these improvements, 3DXChat has also added a more immersive feel to its environments, such as more realistic water effects, and giving users the opportunity to change the time-of-day for themselves without affecting other players’ experiences— real benefit for those who think cloudy days are sexy.

The game’s GUI (Graphical User Interface) has also been tweaked to give the option to move to any location as well as change the graphics settings on the fly—and remove a character’s clothing with one mouse click. Avatars can also choose from six new hairstyles and a selection of new props.

When will it launch and what’s beyond 3DXChat 2.0?

During a chat with the 3DXChat support team, a representative told Future of Sex they’ve had to temporarily disable support for devices such as the Oculus, Vstroker [NSFW], and Ingame TV, but that they would be functional in the next patch.

He also said that, even though users have been very satisfied with the current visual quality of the game, they want to push the envelope with 2.0. Listening to the 3DXChat community, they will also be increasing options for the type and number of clothes users can wear as well as the selection of sex poses and animations

According to 3DXChat, the final release of 2.0 should be released soon, but no hard date is set. However, the current build is said to be very close to being finished and quite stable.

Image source: 3DXChat [NSFW]

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HB Rings Let You Feel Your Partner’s Heartbeat from Miles Away http://futureofsex.net/sex-tech/hb-rings-let-feel-partners-heartbeat-miles-away/ http://futureofsex.net/sex-tech/hb-rings-let-feel-partners-heartbeat-miles-away/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2016 15:12:19 +0000 http://futureofsex.net/?p=7469 Jewelry lets wearers share a new kind of digital intimacy in real time. Interconnectivity—the ability to send and receive all kinds of personal data—is one of the major components of our current Information Age. We’ve already seen several technological ventures that let sexual partners share physical pleasure and touch via teledildonic sex toys like those […]

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Jewelry lets wearers share a new kind of digital intimacy in real time.

TheTouch-HB Ring 1Band

Interconnectivity—the ability to send and receive all kinds of personal data—is one of the major components of our current Information Age.

We’ve already seen several technological ventures that let sexual partners share physical pleasure and touch via teledildonic sex toys like those from Lovense, OhMiBod, Kiiroo, and—most recently—Vitafun.

Now a new company has developed a way for people to share a deeper sense of intimacy— by sharing their heartbeats.

A deep down connection

Created by The Touch, the HB Rings are both elegant in form as well as design.

Once paired with the mobile app (iOS and Android), each ring can pick up a wearer’s pulse and send it to the matching ring at a touch command. The heartbeat is then displayed as a physical beat as well as a pulsing light that circles the rings.

The HB Rings also feature an “automatic” mode that lights up at random times during the day with the other ring wearer’s pulse “to surprise and remind you of your special one.

The Touch also mentions that the owner of the heartbeat being shared does not know of the request—so as not to disturb them.

Power for the rings is delivered via stylish single or double charging boxes, giving each 160 hours standby or 14 hours of active time.

Looking good while doing it

The rings come in six sizes,from 16mm to 21mm. The solid rose gold version will set you back a pulse-racing $2,990 per pair, while the standard HB ring set is $599.

The Touch plans to release the first rings in November, but is already offering pre-orders on its site for the first 1,050 pairs.

Marketed for love, but with a touch of darkness

Part of the marketing of the HB Rings revolves around the ancient belief in the Vena amoris, that the fourth finger of the left hand is somehow connected directly to the heart.thus, a major reason for a traditional wedding band to be worn on that finger.

The Touch’s marketing materials also recommend the ring for couples in which one or both partners hold dangerous jobs such as police officer or soldier. military officer. A pricey indulgence or sign of what’s to come?

Looking at the HB Rings, it’s pretty obvious the target market is people with disposable income. Some criticism against the rings is that devices like the Apple Watch can do pretty much the same thing for half the cost, as well as provide other features.

However, that The Touch has created and is selling rings, in particular, brings up a fascinating point.

When any new technology first appears it’s usually reserved for the wealthy—but that quickly changes. Just look at Bluetooth: a few years ago a wireless unit would have set you back serious cash. Now, though, they can be had without breaking the bank.

Yes, HB Rings are way expensive, but in a few years this level of casual interconnectivity, this new time of digital intimacy, will more than likely be commonplace—and much more affordable.

Image source: The Touch

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