From baby oil to WD-40: Robots dance at Sapphire

Two pole-dancing robots built by British artist Giles Walker perform at a gentlemen’s club Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas. The event was held to coincide with CES International.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

It could have been a scene straight out of a science fiction thriller. Sapphire gentlemen’s club in Las Vegas this week welcomed two new exotic dancers—a pair of robots. They debuted at the club Monday night and will perform all week while CES is in town.

The pole-dancing robots, named R2DD and TripleCPU, were created by Giles Walker of London and made out of old automotive parts. And, just like the club’s other dancers, they attracted a crowd.

Patrons responded to the robot dancers like the human ones who also danced onstage alongside them, wooing and whistling at them and tossing money on the stage. They are affixed to poles, so there are no lap dances or private shows.

Sapphire managing partner Peter Feinstein said he wanted to connect with the more than 180,000 CES visitors, who make up most of his business during the week.

“We’re trying to give a different feel to the business, to the effect of CES, going a little high-tech, and it’s also kinetic artwork,” Feinstein said.

For the women who regularly dance at the club, fear of robots taking their jobs didn’t to be an issue.

“I can do things they can’t,” said Connor, a female dancer at the club. “I can twerk it out, do the splits, talk sports, drink them under the table and much more [a robot can’t].”

Feinstein said the addition of full-time robotic strippers would be the next step in the club employing more technology in the business. Walker is developing another version of the robot and could potentially sell all three to Feinstein once they’re complete.

“He wants to make the third generation and then bring them over for us,” Feinstein said. “They’ll have more movements and be a little more advanced than the two on display.

Sapphire also added a pair of Tesla Model X sport utility vehicles to its fleet to pick up patrons at various locations around Las Vegas—distinct from the usual limousine service.

“Nobody has a Tesla here that they’re using to pick up their customers,” Feinstein said. “People are getting such a kick out of seeing them pick them up. I did turn off the automatic pilot. We’re not going to pick up five guys from a bachelor party without a driver in the car.”

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