Meet Robosapien, the wolf-whistling toy that breaks wind and is already walking out of the shops so fast for Christmas the Hong Kong company that makes it can't keep up with demand An army of hi-tech, Hong Kong robots that dance, belch, wolf-whistle, break wind and do kung-fu chops at the click of a button is marching irresistibly towards world domination in the toy market this Christmas. Robosapien, made by Tsim Tsa Shui-based toy company WowWee, is tipped as the No1 Christmas toy after scooping a host of international awards, including the eminent Hamleys Toy of the Year title last weekend. WowWee is now struggling to ship enough of the charismatic 35.5cm tall robots - described as 'a fusion of technology and personality' - to keep pace with exploding demand. More than 1.4 million have already been snapped up worldwide, and toy shops in the US and Britain were last week completely sold out of the robots. They are being produced at the rate of 5,000 a day in two Guangdong factories. Invented by former Nasa robotics expert Mark Tilden, the Robosapien took 21/2 years and about US$1 million to develop. It was turned down by WowWee's former parent company, US toy giant Hasbro. Five thousand of the $699 robots have been sold in Hong Kong since its launch six weeks ago, and sales have accelerated since a special edition, gold-coloured Robosapien was put on the market. 'I'm sitting here in Hong Kong turning out a robot army - I feel like a James Bond villain,' said Dr Tilden, 43. 'Our problem is that we have exhausted our factory bases here. We have shipped out every robot we possibly can. 'We need more factories. This is a real problem right now. It is the sort of problem every toy company wishes it had but there are less than eight weeks to Christmas, and we have people screaming for supplies. 'There are begging wars going on around the place. Stock that didn't move in Czechoslovakia is being vectored to Virginia. It's cool to watch. By the time you eventually get your Robosapien, there's a good chance he'll have more frequent-flier [points] than you ever had.' British-Canadian Dr Tilden said the company hoped to expand production from two to up to 10 factories to meet demand. But he said: 'Robosapien is at the top end of toy tech. We squeezed the silicon until it screamed. It is well beyond what many of the Chinese factories are capable of.' Ten years' experience as a Nasa scientist, when he created robots used on Mars missions, helped Mr Tilden invent Robosapien. 'When I was in Nasa, all of the robot things were deadly serious and it was for a very good reason - the last thing you want to do is let government spooks know you are having a good time,' he said. 'Now [that] I'm no longer with them, I can take a very different approach. With Robosapien, robots can be fun.' Dr Tilden said he modelled his invention on himself. 'He is exactly me. All those burps and farts and gestures, and even the dancing, it's me,' he said. 'I'm probably the most prolific father in the history of mankind.' WowWee creative director Philip Duffy, who assisted on the robot's design, said Robosapien was being widely tipped as the world's No1 Christmas toy. 'With the hype we have had, it's pretty much a fair bet,' he said. 'I didn't know it was going to be this big. It has come as a complete surprise - especially after the amount of negative feedback we got during development. 'It [got] cancelled by Hasbro. They said it wouldn't be a success. There were times when Mark and I said 'Do you think this will work?' It was a rough development. But when we finally saw the working samples, we had complete belief.' Mr Duffy said he believed the Robosapien had the capacity to redefine the toy industry. 'We want to establish robots as a new category in the same way the video game industry was created in the mid-1970s with games like Pong,' he said. 'The more people who get involved the better - as long as we stay on top.' Dr Tilden, who has lived in Hong Kong for four years, said the complexity of his creation made it difficult for counterfeiters to cash in without first spending huge sums copying the design. 'The Robosapien has seven motors - most remote-control cars have two - and if you lose one, it doesn't work,' he said. 'It's been on the global market for eight months and we haven't seen one Temple Street Market knock-off yet.'