For decades it has been a dream of computer engineers and artificial intelligence researchers - to build a robot that can understand fashion design. Today that dream has become reality at London Fashion Week with the unveiling of the Versace 3000, the world's first ever fashion-conscious robot.
The robot has been programmed with knowledge of over a million items of clothing and can design new outfits from scratch. It is also capable of giving fashion tips to people after examining them through its built-in cameras.
The project is the brainchild of computer programmer Shaba Dresser, who was fed up of receiving insults over the years about his appalling taste in clothes. He explained, "Some days I would just wear a potato sack to avoid the embarrassment of having to choose what to wear."
Mr Dresser began designing the robot to help him out with his own wardrobe, but realised there could be money to be made from the device if he tailored it for the fashion industry.
Industry expert Mahatma Coat said he thought the robot could help fashion designers sell their products. He has seen countless ranges do terribly in the shops in the last year, including crocodile-skin lingerie, crotchless dungarees and dresses made of cheese. He said, "For some reason, these amazing fashions are just not selling. We need a new exciting marketing ploy to help flog them, and what better than a fashion robot to capture the public's imagination and wallets." He thought the Versace 3000 could be perfect for use in advertisements.
The robot was given a test run at a catwalk show yesterday, where it was asked to comment on models going up and down the runway. Upon seeing the first woman stroll by, the robot bellowed in a Dalek-like voice, "Ooh ducky, not enough chiffon!"
Later on, the Versace 3000 analysed a new dress by designer Alec Boys, observing "Darling! She should wear a hat...made of chiffon."
Mr Dresser acknowledged the imperfections in his device, saying it still needed a bit of work. Reaching for a spanner, he said, "I think I've put the chiffon setting too high. I need to turn it down a bit."
He also admitted that another flaw in the robot was that it doesn't have any awareness of what it looks like itself. The Versace 3000 is not humanoid - it is essentially a large ugly brown box on wheels that needs to be pushed everywhere.
Mr Dresser had no idea what the robot would think if it ever saw itself, and he has demanded that no mirrors ever be present near the device, or that it ever see itself on TV. He added, "In many ways it's no different from most other fashion designers."