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What is Smart Doll?
Designed, manufactured and assembled in Japan by a startup called Mirai, Smart Doll is a line of 60cm tall articulated fashion dolls designed by myself Danny Choo. The Smart Doll product is a fusion of art and both modern and traditional molding methods which enables us to create a stylish and fashionable line of fashion dolls for an international market.
The “SM” from “SMART” means “Social Media” while the rest means “ART.”
Smart Doll is art which connects people in ways that an online social media service cannot possibly do in an offline world.
What problem does Smart Doll solve?
Smart Doll solves a variety of problems when compared to similar products - not only from a usability and design standpoint but also an availability standpoint for the international customer too - read on to find out exactly what Smart Doll is changing in the fashion doll world.
Who is Smart Doll for?
Smart Doll is designed for all races, ages and genders. Owners are from all walks of life from a variety of backgrounds. Owners are notably creative who love to customize and take photos of their Smart Doll.
So far we have shipped Smart Doll to thousands of customers in 40 countries around the world which are the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Australia, France, Malaysia, Germany, China, Qatar, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Philippines, Spain, , Finland, Brunei, Brazil, Denmark, Netherlands, Mauritius, Kuwait, Norway, Panama, New Zealand, Hungary, Switzerland, South Africa, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Poland and Japan.
You can see some of our customers photos on the Smart Doll Pinterest Board which we look for on Social Media using the tag #SmartDoll.
My first and foremost priority is to provide constant availability of Smart Doll in regions outside of Japan first. Folks who have either read my profile or are familiar with the Culture Japan brand will know that it has always been in my interests to share Japanese culture with the world.
Who is Mirai Suenaga?
The first Smart Doll released in June 2014 is modelled after Mirai Suenaga (pronounced "mee-rai soo-eh-na -gah") who is the mascot character for Culture Japan and heroine for the story Mirai Millennium.
Originally created with the purpose to prettify the website “dannychoo.com," Mirai ended up turning out to be more than a website mascot and went on to collaborate with various anime and game companies such as Square Enix, Good Smile Company, Bushiroad, Ascii Media Works, King Records and Nitroplus.
In April 2015, Mirai starred in her first live action drama doS Deka (Tabe Mikako, Yoshida Yo) which was broadcast on NTV in Japan. This first episode reached a record high 12.7% viewership across Japan.
Who is Kizuna Yumeno?
The second Smart Doll released in November 2014 is modelled after Kizuna Yumeno (pronounced "kee-zoo-nah you-may-know") who is also a mascot character for Culture Japan and one of the main characters in the story Mirai Millennium.
Kizuna has also appeared with Mirai in the Square Enix game Million Arthur.
Japanese aesthetics tailored for an International fashion scene
The design of Smart Doll is influenced by Japanese Pop Culture but modified for an international audience. Combining the level of detail that can be achieved at being 60cm tall, the visual expression of the free flowing hair and crystal clear eyes gives Smart Doll a look that has not been experienced on an international level up until now.
A modern apparel line for your Smart Doll
While there are already many apparel items on the market that also fit Smart Doll giving them an instant wardrobe, in addition to the default casual wear that Mirai & Kizuna already come in, we also design our own line of apparel especially designed to fit the contours of Smart Doll. Our apparel design is influenced by many cultures and fashion trends around the world.
The philosophy behind the design and choice of materials is that just because the apparel items are for dolls - it does not mean that they should be designed in a way with cheap materials that would be uncomfortable for a human to wear. If we used cheap materials and employ cost cutting designs, our Smart Dolls would end up looking cheap too which is not what I want.
For example I work with my father Datuk Jimmy Choo on the design of the Smart Doll shoes which are made with the same techniques used to make human footwear.
Fully articulated and posable
Housing an internal frame, Smart Doll strikes a balance between aesthetics and poseability. Conventional dolls have a parting line located in the middle of the waist but Smart Doll was designed with the parting line located behind the bust line which provides a more natural look.
There are 3 busts sizes available - not as many cup sizes as starbucks but just enough. Smart Doll by default comes with Small bust.
Smart Support Socket
Up until now, doll owners have been faced with either the "saddle stand" or "C waist stand" which go around the waist or shin - both completely spoil the look of the doll and your photos - it did not have to be this way.
Smart Doll is designed with a Smart Support Socket in the back of the torso strategically positioned to not interfere with any of our apparel items when in use.
While Smart Doll can stand on two feet unaided, the Telescopic Stand included with Smart Doll provides extra support in situations when needed while the Air Stand enables poses mid air.
The making of Smart Doll
Smart Doll is designed and manufactured in Japan utilising modern 3D prototyping technologies and traditional molding techniques.
I’ve documented the manufacture processes extensively - folks interested in any form of product manufacture can apply the ideas and knowledge to their own creative projects too.
Designed for the outdoors
Smart Doll was designed to be robust enough to be taken out n about.
Unlike conventional dolls, Smart Doll joints are designed to be a long lasting tight fit to avoid dangly arms or legs. The Smart Support Socket was designed so that the included lightweight Telescopic Stand can provide extra support when standing on uneven surfaces.
Caring for Smart Doll
Folks may be intimidated by the apparent amount of care they need but there is nothing to it!
There are only 3 basic rules:-
(1) no bright light
(2) don't get them wet
(3) never feed them after midnight.
Folks who have just purchased a Smart Doll should read the following section which outlines how they should be cared for.
Company culture affects all aspects of design behind any product.
Our first and foremost priority is not to make money - but to make a world changing product. Quality issues surface and working environments start to degrade when products are developed solely for the purpose of making money.
I talk about the design philosophy and learnings behind the creation of Smart Doll which I would like folks to read to get a better understanding of what Smart Doll stands for.
The robotics project has now been rejuvenated as Smart Doll Plus.