Fembot fetish

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 June, 2008, 12:00am

It's hard to know who to be angry with - Japanese men, Sega Toys or the hi-tech industry, for trying to dehumanise the planet. Let's go with Sega, which has produced a 38cm-tall robotic girlfriend that kisses on command. It will go on sale in September for US$175. Now what kind of man wants to confess his girlfriend is an animated Barbie doll?

Using infrared sensors, this plastic Lolita puckers up for nearby human heads, entering what designers call her 'love mode'.

'Strong, tough and battle-ready are words often associated with robots, but we wanted to make something sweet and interactive,' says Minako Sakanoue, spokeswoman for Sega Toys. 'She's lovable and can act like a real girlfriend.'

Sega hopes to sell 10,000 in the first year. Japan - home to almost half the world's 800,000 industrial robots - foresees a US$10 billion market. Maybe this is how the world will end, overrun by pink, kissing robots.