A robot massage therapist known as 'Emma' is giving doctors in Singapore a helping hand to relieve their patients muscle strain and injuries. Roselle Chen reports.
It's a therapy that has been practiced for thousands of years, now the art of massage has been given a 21st century makeover thanks to a Singapore-based start up. Robot "therapist" Emma -- short for Expert Manipulative Massage Automation -- was designed to improve productivity among traditional physicians in the healing art of tuina, a Chinese medical massage. Emma was developed by AiTreat, a company founded by NTU Singapore (Nanyang Technological University) graduate Zhang Yizhong. He says that Emma was not designed to replace doctors, but to help them manage their workload. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AITREAT FOUNDER, ZHANG YIZHONG, SAYING: "It's their helper. So part of the most tedious and time consuming and physically demanding job is shipped over to this system so they can focus on more value added, more human interactions and more knowledge transfer to provide patients with a better experience and maybe treat more patients." The robotic masseuse treats patients and athletes at the Singapore Sports Hub, using manipulative therapy to relieve muscle strain and injuries. Data from a patient's treatment session can be stored and progress can be analyzed and generated into a performance report. Zhang said this is extremely valuable for athletes, as their injuries, treatment and recovery can now be measured and monitored by their physicians and therapists.