“EMMA” Robotic Masseuse Blends Traditional Medicine With AI

Singapore-based startup AiTreat has mixed traditional Chinese medicine with advanced technology to create “EMMA,” a robotic masseuse. EMMA is a practitioner of Tui Na, which is a form of bodywork akin to a deep tissue massage. The robot’s sensors and 3D-capable insights are able to assess the muscle stiffness and pressure points of a subject to generate a customized massage routine that promotes pain relief, aids relaxation, and hastens recovery. AiTreat hopes the mechanical masseuse can improve massage treatment affordability and join the ranks of widely-adopted preventative medicine innovations.

EMMA, or Expert Manipulative Massage Automation, uses soft-touch treatment modules at a temperature of around 100° Fahrenheit, often fooling patients into thinking a human masseuse is working on them. AiTreat’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Albert Zhang, said EMMA is meant to alleviate the workload of massage therapists in the interest of letting them focus their energies on “the 10% highly skilled part” of massages. Doing so reduces costs for therapists and their customers while lifting overall productivity and time management.

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With EMMA at hand, practitioners can oversee two robot units and engage with up to four patients concurrently. While accredited masseuses must have years of training and human body studies under their belt, particularly for specializations like acupuncture and Tui Na, EMMA is equipped with an AI-powered data point supercomputer that can instantly calculate the most effective treatment for the individual and situation.

Zhang reports that 11 EMMAs are already being put to work in eight Singapore clinics. Ahead of overseas distribution, AiTreat will conduct post-COVID-19 clinical trials in China, Germany, and its home country to prove efficacy.