Continuing Japanese efforts to automate and robotize everything has led them to develop a robotic face massage system, the photos of which hint more at electroshock therapy than a pleasant experience.
The WAO-1 robot, which stands for Waseda Asahi Oral Rehabilitation Robot 1, is being developed initially for patients with jaw-related medical problems who require facial massages as part of their treatment, according to project leader Atsuo Takanishi.
The robot’s arms are fitted with ceramic golf ball-sized spheres that roll over the skin. The arms’ movements are controlled by a complex set of algorithms designed to emulate massages, while six sensors at the base of the arms measure and adjust the pressure applied by the spheres, Takahashi said.
The technology is more refined than those in electric massage chairs because the facial bone structure is much more fragile than back or spine bones, he said.