Emma the robot masseuse gets to work

The Jakarta Post - - HEADLINES -

SIN­GA­PORE: A robot masseuse named Emma is of­fer­ing Sin­ga­pore­ans high-tech back rubs with a gi­gan­tic metal arm and warm sil­i­cone tips which its cre­ators say per­fectly mimic the hu­man touch.

The robot, the brain­child of lo­cal startup AiTreat, be­gan work at a clinic in the city-state this week and per­forms “tui na,” a type of mas­sage prac­tised in tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine.

Emma, which stands for Ex­pert Ma­nip­u­la­tive Mas­sage Au­to­ma­tion, con­sists of a white metal arm with heated sil­i­cone tips that mimic the hu­man palm and thumb, with cus­tomers mas­saged while ly­ing on a bed.

For Sg$68 (US$50), cus­tomers at the tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine clinic get half an hour of ro­botic mas­sage — on the back or other parts of the body that are aching — five min­utes of mas­sage by a hu­man ther­a­pist and around 20 min­utes of acupunc­ture.

Cal­ista Lim, a Bei­jing-trained physi­cian at the No­vaHealth TCM clinic, said the robot eases her work­load, al­low­ing her to fo­cus on see­ing more pa­tients. “There are days that [...] hu­mans feel a lit­tle tired or un­der the weather and they may be a lit­tle re­luc­tant to do ex­tra work,” she told AFP. “But for Emma, once I say go, then she goes to work.” She said the mas­sage robot is also use­ful in plug­ging a labour short­age, as it can be dif­fi­cult to find good ther­a­pists in Sin­ga­pore.

“Tui na” in­volves ap­ply­ing pres­sure to cer­tain points of the body. Prac­ti­tion­ers of Chi­nese medicine be­lieve it can help re­lieve var­i­ous ail­ments from headaches to de­pres­sion. — AFP

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