Japanese engineers have developed what they hope will be a practical robot capable of giving facial massages.
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 spheres the size of golf balls, and the spheres 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, Takanishi said.
The technology has to be more refined than those in electric massage chairs because the facial bone structure is much more fragile than back or spine bones, he said.
Another research team member, Ken Nishimura, said the robot could be adjusted to give beauty and relaxation massages.
For some reason, the only thing that came to mind when I read this is Poltergeist. Or reasonable facsimile thereof.