Stay on target Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower Singapore’s first robot masseuse has completed its first week on the job.Expert Manipulative Massage Automation, or EMMA, started work Monday at the NovaHealth Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic.The machine—a mechanical arm with soft tips that mimic the human palm and thumb—can measure the exact stiffness of a particular muscle or tendon, particularly in back and knee massages. A cloud-based AI also tracks and analyzes the patient’s progress, making it easier for a physician to measure recovery.“There is great potential for EMMA to be of service to society, especially as the population ages,” Inderjit Singh, chairman of NTU’s innovation and enterprise branch, said in a statement. “The massage techniques of experienced and renowned TCM physicians can be reproduced in EMMA, giving the public easier access to quality treatment.”Developed as a low-cost treatment alternative by Nanyang Technological University-based startup AiTreat, EMMA works alongside two human colleagues: a physician and a massage therapist.But the newbie already has a leg (arm?) up on her mere-mortal coworkers: “EMMA is designed to deliver a clinically precise massage … without the fatigue faced by a human therapist,” according to Albert Zhang, founder of AiTreat and NovaHealth.Situated between two beds and two patients, the third-generation prototype can do the work of two masseurs, Zhang boasted, therefore reducing manpower (and, as feared, eliminating jobs).“By using EMMA to do the labor-intensive massages, we can now offer a longer therapy session for patients while reducing the cost of treatment,” he continued.A conventional package for lower back pain—including consultation, acupuncture, and a 20-minute massage—costs anywhere from $60 to $150, according to NTU Singapore.NovaHealth, however, promises the same consultation and acupuncture, plus a 40-minute massage by EMMA and a human therapist, for just $68.“The human therapist is then free to focus on other areas such as the neck and limb joints, which EMMA can’t massage at the moment,” Zhang added.Zhang and Goh Chye Tee, director of NTU’s Chinese Medicine Clinic, are also working to measure and benchmark the robot’s effectiveness, comparing it to that of a professional (and human) TCM massage therapist.For more, see Geek’s lineup of 11 Robots That Are Going to Steal Your Jobs.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
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