Image: Istock/Devrimb Image: Istock/Devrimb

A so-called 'robot sex brothel' is set to open in Houston, Texas next month, prompting a mixed reaction from local people and potentially interested customers.

KinkySdollS opened its first location in Canada last year and punters in Toronto can spend half an hour alone in a room with a robot sex doll for $60, according to the Washington Examiner.

Now, the stores are to move into the US and Texas has been chosen as the lucky first state to, er, benefit. Customers can either rent a doll or splash out and buy one, with the company promising that they are all "warm and ready to play".

The robots are able to react to touch and also respond vocally, presumably if the customers are doing something right. There are even artificial intelligence-enabled models that can engage in proper conversation. We don't know quite what you'd say to a sex robot, but perhaps someone else might.

Founder of KinkySdollS Yuval Gavriel told the Examiner he wants to expand to ten states by 2020, perhaps even venturing into the worldwide market if the idea proves to be a success.

He describes the shops as a "showroom", but added that he has been instructed by his lawyer not to call them brothels for fear of getting into trouble.

As they are, the premises do not meet the definition of a sexually oriented business, plus there are no regulations for the sex robot business.

Local residents aren't too pleased, with one telling local network KTRK: "There's kids around here and it's a family-oriented neighborhood and I live right here and to have that here is just gross."

Meanwhile, the UK-based Campaign Against Sex Robots has said it is sympathetic to an outright ban because of the insidious threat to society, and law professor at George Washington University John Banzhaf is concerned something might go haywire.

"It might make a very funny skit on 'Saturday Night Live' if one of these go wrong, and control mechanisms break and the thing starts pulsating more than it's supposed to," he commented. "But that could create a very real physical hazard."

Now that's a scary thought. What do you think of the rise of sex robots? Are we heading for a Terminator-style scenario when they get fed up of being our slaves? Do you think we're better off with traditional sex toys and a real, living partner? Drop your comments below, as we'd love to hear them.