GBAtemp Exclusive Interview with Naomi Wu aka. SexyCyborg

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Costello, Apr 20, 2018.


    Front-page GBAtemp Exclusive
    A new episode in our interview series: today, we'd like to introduce Internet celebrity Naomi Wu, also known as SexyCyborg. Beyond her stunning good looks, Naomi is an incredibly skilled maker and electronics genius. She answers us from her workshop located in Shenzhen (southern China) where she resides. As always, interview questions & answers are reported 'as is' / unaltered.

    Maker_tutorial_on_configuring_a_Raspberry_Pi_2. naomi-wu-700x525. x11-e1510084187964. Naomi-Wu.

    GBAtemp: Hi SexyCyborg, thanks for agreeing to talk to us. Could you introduce yourself and what you do, for those of our readers who don't yet know who you are?

    Hey everyone, my name is Naomi Wu. I'm a DIY and hardware enthusiast from Shenzhen China. I focus on 3D printing, fashion-tech wearables, automation, 360 Video and hardware reviews.

    There's always a bit of "does she really make that stuff" with people who first encounter me- yes, but I get help with posting in English and like all Makers I learn as I go along and turn regularly to the community with questions. Here's a playlist of my builds, anyone doubt I can do something let me know and I'll try and dig up the uncut footage.

    GBAtemp: When we asked you if you'd agree to this interview, your first reaction was "but I don't play video games". Is it something that does not interest you in particular? Do you believe the Chinese government ban on video game consoles has anything to do with that?

    Part of that is respect- I'm visible for obvious reasons but there are women out there who are actual gamers, have put the time in and deserve recognition for that. If this was a print interview or a situation where I thought interviewing me meant an actually qualified woman was not being featured I would have declined. From checking around that did not seem to be the case.

    As I said I don't game- but I do use concepts from gaming. If you're competitive (and I am), you turn to the people who compete at a high level to learn strategy. In Shenzhen, that's the gaming community.

    To borrow some gamer terminology I don't play video games because I'm Min-Maxing. I have a limited amount of time and I can get really good at a few things, or not very good at a lot of things. I don't have a lot of leisure time so if I were to game I'd want to take it very seriously and put in the hours required to do it well. I'm not the sort of person to do things casually. As with gaming- if you want to dominate, choose a niche without a lot of competitors, in China that's DIY and Making. If I tried to compete as a gamer here it would be incredibly difficult- we have some very, very talented people.

    To extend the analogy, local engineers will hop on WeChat video and Power-Level me on say...motion control or pneumatics if I need that for a project and get stuck- not to the point where I truly understand the underlying concepts, but to the point where I can complete the project that I had in mind. You want that kind of high-value Power-Leveling in the Chinese gamer community- you need to pay or be on a team. They don't have the same mindset as the hardware community about sharing and education. If you have a competitive spirit you're going to play to win, that means you choose the game you're most likely to win- for me that's Making and DIY.

    As far as the console ban- plenty of people here still have them but China is all about PC and mobile gaming.

    GBAtemp: As you stated in other interviews before, Naomi Wu isn't your real name. Can you tell us why you chose to hide your name? Is it to protect yourself from cyber-bullying and stalkers? Are they a major problem in your everyday life?

    Everyone but my parents calls me Naomi, I go by my English name even when speaking Chinese. Although in forums and when writing I'm known as "Machinery Enchantress" (机械妖姬). But sure, of course I have a legal Chinese name. Most Chinese in interviews and stuff don't give that though. Our data protection laws are not very good and a real name plus about $50US gets you real home address and hourly cell tower location ping. It's a bit of a challenge interacting with the West because things that are no big deal there can be major OPSEC issues here. I look a bit unusual, there are going to be people who want to knock on my door and say hi, an abundance of caution is required to avoid awkward and potentially unsafe situations.

    GBAtemp: As a highly skilled maker and electronic genius, what is your opinion on electronic device hacking and jailbreaking? Should everyone be entitled to hacking their own devices (be it game consoles, smartphones, tablets...), using custom firmwares / modified OSes?

    I don't know about that haha. Most of what I do is about Middle-School leveling in the West haha. As for open hardware- of course, early on in my Making I was lucky enough to make friends with Bunnie Huang- he hacked the Xbox way back when and when we hung out when he was in town he talked to me about Open Source Hardware philosophy, it really appealed to me. I actually ended up creating the first Open Source Hardware Association certified project in China- the sino:bit. An educational board for our schools here. I've also done a lot of work getting Chinese 3D printing companies to honor the GPL- which if you know anything about our track record here with GPL violations you can see why I might be pretty proud of that. I try to use FOSS applications and avoid proprietary platforms as much as I can.

    GBAtemp: What is the most exciting 3D-printing project you have ever worked on?

    A 3D printed bikini, originally I thought it up as click-bait because I really wanted a laser cutter and hoped the ad revenue would get me enough money to buy one, but a bikini entirely printed out of soft plastic ended up being a lot more challenging then I thought. A specially modified extruder from my printer was required and dozens and dozens of failed iterations before I got it right. The bottom is probably not healthy to wear too long- who knows what's in those plastics, but the top is actually quite comfortable.

    GBAtemp: What is the strangest thing you have ever 3D-printed?

    I built a little release mechanism for my DJI Spark drone, so I could drop a wifi-spoofing payload on the roof of a local fake Makerspace I don't like very much.I used an ESP8266 but you could use a Raspberry Pi Zero depending on what you were trying to hack.

    GBAtemp: Do you see global scale potential in home 3D printers? Do you believe every home will have them in the future, just like everyone has computers and smartphones nowadays? Or will they remain a tool that's mostly for professional use?

    The problem isn't really the printers- it's the software. 3D printing is pretty easy and reliable now, CAD still has a steep learning curve and that really hurts the usefulness of 3D printers. When you can scan a broken part, auto-repair it in software, and print a new one, then we'll really have a better idea if printers are going to be a household thing, or a neighborhood store thing. Right now they are still a great tool for hobbyists and professionals- people come to Shenzhen with their hardware startups and they've been able to do a lot of the work back home in their countries thanks to 3D printing. I use mine daily for projects around the house.

    GBAtemp: What do you think of the state of VR technology so far? Do you use VR headsets in your design work?

    I don't use them for design. Shenzhen has a huge VR development community though so I know lots of people in the business. Personally, I anticipate pretty severe regulation coming with any real improvements in VR technology. All our chat platforms and games are becoming very tightly controlled, virtual space will be as well. We don't know how hard it will be for the VR hardware with the best functionality to run procedurally generated or user-created content locally. We already have places where smartphones are required to run state-authored apps that continuity check the memory for contraband images and video, there's no reason this could not be extended to other platforms. This will obviously dampen some of the appeal VR has. While I might want to spend hours a day in a virtual flying castle if that environment is DRMed for political ideology I might prefer to just curl up with a good book instead.

    GBAtemp: Tell us about Shenzhen. Do you feel that this city is the dream place to live for a tech enthusiast such as yourself? And do you think if you lived elsewhere you'd be able to do what you do?

    Naomi: Oh, I certainly could not do my DIY projects anywhere near as easily without access to local hardware and engineering advice. It is an amazing city for tech, but a lot of that is online- in WeChat groups and stuff. People visit and they expect physical locations- sure there's Huaqiangbei, our huge electronics market. But the really innovative stuff at DJI, Tencent, Huawei- all that is off limits to the public. Unless you read Chinese and get to know local engineers, get hints about what's next- you miss a lot. But if you have an idea for a product and want to get it made Shenzhen is the best place in the world to do that.

    GBAtemp: What is your favorite video game character? (we know you don't play video games, but surely you must have one still?)

    Naomi: Hmm, Ms. Pacman?


    That's all folks! If you enjoyed this interview, make sure to read our other interviews as well ("Interview with a Switch hacker"). There are more to come!
    Discussion (54 replies)
  1. Brawl345

    Brawl345 GBAtemp Fan

    Jan 14, 2012
    This is the reason why I am registered here! :P
    EDIT: Thanks for the interview of course, I enjoy these :)
    Last edited by Brawl345, Apr 20, 2018
  2. DarthDub

    DarthDub Amateur Hacker

    Jan 26, 2016
    United States
    Your mom's basement.
    This certainly makes up for the Sponsored post. :P Enjoyed the read!
    elBenyo, NutymcNuty and tozevleal like this.
  3. Costello

    Costello Headmaster

    Oct 24, 2002
    yeah, we needed the money to buy an interview from her!

    j/k. She has been really nice and replied to us quickly :) if you're reading this, thanks again Naomi
  4. hippy dave

    hippy dave BBMB

    Apr 30, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I hadn't heard of her but this made for an interesting read, thanks. I really want a 3D printer, can't quite justify it at this point tho.
    NutymcNuty and x65943 like this.
  5. Pluupy

    Pluupy _(:3」∠)_

    Sep 13, 2009
    United States
    Never heard of her. Her gadgets look neat, I guess. Kind of odd to interview her and post it on this site, even having a question in which she herself is puzzled by a video game site interviewing her because she doesn't really play games.
  6. leon315

    leon315 POWERLIFTER

    Nov 27, 2013
    i heard all residents of China's main land don't have access to YOUTUBE, how did she upload those videos?
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  7. Lord M

    Lord M GBAtemp Maniac

    Oct 31, 2014
    There's nothing that a chinese people cannot do
  8. drazenm

    drazenm Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    United States
    She looks absolutely average, even for an Asian, average, if she didn't have does plastic tits I'd think she's a dude or a trannie.
    Subtle Demise, netovsk and gameboy like this.
  9. AdamFX990

    AdamFX990 Confused Humanoid

    Jan 22, 2017
    United Kingdom
    Santraginus V
    She's female, she's attractive, seems like the sort of content gamers want to see to me! :P
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  10. Costello

    Costello Headmaster

    Oct 24, 2002
    so this is what average asians look like? damn I have got to move there

    (... oh wait I already live there)
  11. Super.Nova

    Super.Nova GBAtemp Fan

    Dec 20, 2009
    Saudi Arabia
    Under Government Suppression
    Damn, she's gorgeous!
    What wouldn't I do to find someone like her with the same interests :(
    I, too, actually have a 3D printer (5, in fact) and love to tinker, toy, design and make things all day :D
  12. Veho

    Veho The man who cried "Ni".

    Former Staff
    Apr 4, 2006
    Proxy servers.

    GBAtemp is also interested in modern technologies, cool gadgets and high-tech doo-dads and fiddling with same to see how they work, and on the other end what she is doing goes under the heading of hacking and homebrew so there's an overlap in common interests.
  13. GhostLatte

    GhostLatte Yet Another Shitposter

    Mar 26, 2015
    I think Sexy Vegan would have been better.

    jRRRRRRRRRRR likes this.
  14. Kourin

    Kourin Touhou Maniac

    Jan 24, 2016
    Ripple Star
    tfw no cute asian gf to talk about hacking things that goes right over your head as you pretend to understand her

    Seriously though, that was a pretty good read!
  15. leon315

    leon315 POWERLIFTER

    Nov 27, 2013
    btw how do you guys know her and her works? just curious...
  16. ov3rkill

    ov3rkill GBAtemp Maniac

    May 10, 2009
    in a cardboard box
    I saw her on serpentza's channel. I didn't know who she was and that she was a techie.
  17. Viri

    Viri GBAtemp Addict

    Sep 13, 2009
    United States
    For some reason I had news title as "Interview with Brianna Wu" and was like oh dear god no, anything but that!
    tbb043 and Chary like this.
  18. Sonic Angel Knight

    Sonic Angel Knight GBAtemp Legend

    May 27, 2016
    United States
    New York
    I hope she remembers that no one has to play games to be here, many people are here for different reasons and that's what makes this a commercial community forum. :)

    First time I heard of this person, thanks for spotlighting people of different interest. Maybe some day she may play a game and want to talk about her experiences or just enjoy it. ^_^
    Costello likes this.
  19. k3rizz3k

    k3rizz3k GBAtemp Fan

    Oct 16, 2008
    United States
    This is some awesome stuff. Wish i were as smart as her.