Sunday, June 22, 2008

But Can She Cook?

Sega Toys in Japan has produced a robotic girlfriend that kisses on command. Named “EMA” (Eternal Maiden Actualisation), the 15 inch tall “toy” runs on batteries and uses infrared sensors to enter “love mode” when a human head gets close. EMA can also hand out business cards and sing and dance, yet Sega will target “her” to a market of lonely men.

“Strong, tough and battle-ready are some of the words often associated with robots, but we wanted to break that stereotype,” said Minako Sakanoue, a spokeswoman for Sega.
“She’s very lovable and though she’s not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend.” (Are you kidding me?)

EMA will go on sale in September for around US$175 and Sega hopes to sell 10,000 in the first year.

Japan, the undisputed leader in robotic technology, envisions a ten billion dollar market for artificial intelligence in a decade. Like something out of the Spielberg/Kubrick hybrid A.I., it is envisioned by some that sex with robots will be commonplace within 50 years.

I can see the advantages of robot love - you can turn her off if she begins to complain. And it’s not so hard to imagine given the battery-powered aids already in circulation. But devices such as EMA will only further detach an already technology-drunk population. Besides, if she can’t cook you a meal, what good is she?

by Max Drake

(Source: Reuters. Max Drake is a freelance designer for GritFX. Max has an interest in all things weird and will have regular posts on this blog.)

For more robotic madness, check out the video of the humanoid at the 2006 Akiba Robot Fair

Friday, June 20, 2008


Mathematicians were confounded after a crop circle formation was discovered in a barley field near Barbury Castle in Wiltshire, England on the 1st June 2008. The circle is, apparently, a coded image representing the first ten digits of pi.

Measuring 285 feet in diameter, the formation had experts and enthusiasts perplexed until it was eventually identified by retired astrophysicist, Mike Reed.

Maths codes and geometric patterns have long been important factors in crop circle formations – the most famous of which was a formation in a field near Stonehenge some 12 years ago which depicted a complex set of fractals known as The Julia Set.

Yet despite the abundance of crop circle formations each year, their occurrence is rarely mentioned in the mainstream media, if at all. Most people still consider the crop circle phenomenon a hoax, regarding as proof the infamous TV demonstration many years ago of a circle being formed by a couple of guys with some rope and board. However, as most crop circle researchers attest, the most intricate geometric and mathematical formations (such as the recent pi formation in Wiltshire) would be impossible to create with such precise detail and on such a scale.

Other factors which should not be dismissed include the magnetic energy often recorded in the centre of crop circles and the biological changes that occur in the affected crops. These and many other factors cannot be explained by the ‘rope and board’ theory.

So what the hell are they? Who or what causes the formations to appear? Many theories have been extrapolated regarding crop circles, from electromagnetic fields to extraterrestrial meddling. Perhaps it is beam weaponry technology – maybe some bored NASA geeks using orbiting satellites fitted with invisible beam weapons are making their ‘hoax marks’ on the Earth’s surface.

Then again, maybe the extraterrestrial theory is more plausible.

by Max Drake

(Max Drake is a freelance designer for GritFX. Max has an interest in all things weird and will have weekly posts on this blog.)

For more on the crop circle phenomenon, including a more intricate explanation of the 1st June Wilshire formation, visit