* Emma is a robot masseuse specialises in back and knee massage
* Advanced sensors as well as cloud-based computing allow Emma to measure muscle stiffness, calculate the optimal massage and to track a patient’s recovery over the course of a treatment
* Emma is a product of a two-year-old technology startup called AiTreat, founded by NTU graduate, Mr Albert Zhang
Singapore’s first robot masseuse has started work today. Named ‘Emma’ short for Expert Manipulative Massage Automation, she specialises in back and knee massage, mimicking human palm and thumb to replicate therapeutic massages such as shiatsu and physiotherapy.
Emma started work today on her first patients at the NovaHealth Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic, working alongside two human colleagues – a physician and a massage therapist.
Emma 3.0 – the first to go into public service – offers a wide range of massage options which patients have described as indistinguishable from a professional masseuse.
Advanced sensors as well as cloud-based computing allow Emma to measure muscle stiffness, calculate the optimal massage and to track a patient’s recovery over the course of a treatment.
Emma is a product of a technology startup called AiTreat. The two year-old is already company is already valued at SGD $10 million (USD $7.3 million) after it recently completed its second round of seed funding, supported by venture capitalists from Singapore, China, and the US.
Founder of AiTreat and NovaHealth, Mr Albert Zhang who led the development of Emma said the company’s technology aims to address workforce shortages and quality consistency challenges in the healthcare industry.
Using Emma to treat chronic pain has the potential of creating low-cost treatment alternatives in countries where healthcare costs are high, and where aging population have a growing demand for such treatments.
Mr Zhang – a graduate of Nanyang Technological University’s Double Degree programme in Biomedical Sciences and Chinese Medicine – said Emma was designed to provide a clinically precise massage according to the prescription of a qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine physician or physiotherapist without the fatigue faced by human therapists.
HOW EMMA WORKS
Emma has a touch screen with fully articulated robotic limb six degrees of freedom – meaning she can move up, down, forward, backward, right and left. Fixed to the end of the robot’s limb are two soft massage tips that are made of Silicone, which can be warmed for comfort.
Emma’s advanced sensors and diagnostic feature can measure exact stiffness of a particular muscle or tendon. The data collected for each patient is then transmitted to a cloud server where an AI computes the exact pressure to be delivered during a massage procedure.
The AI also tracks and analyses a patient’s progress, drawing up performance report that can help a physician measure a patient’s recovery using empirical data.
[Featured photo: Nanyang Technological University]