Meet Emma, the First Physiotherapist Robot

Next time you make an appointment with a physiotherapist you might not be met with the warm touch of a human. Instead you might just meet the mechanical but scientifically-accurate robot taking over the physiotherapy world. Meet Emma!

So what exactly is Emma? Here’s how Asian Scientist described her:

Emma consists of a single, six-axis robotic arm capable of highly articulated movements, a 3D-stereoscopic camera for vision, and a customized, fully rotatable 3D-printed massage tip. In-built safety features, which work in tandem with advanced pressure sensors, ensure the comfort and safety of its patients.

So is Emma here to replace human physiotherapists?

physiotherapy technology

The founder of Aitech, the company behind Emma, emphasies that Emma isn’t here to replace physiotherapists. Mr Albert Zhang instead says Emma is there to support skilled physiotherapists in treating multiple patients to improve productivity.

Emma has worked successfully on multiple different patients. Some of these patients include sufferers of tennis elbow, stiff neck, stiff shoulders, lower back pain and muscle pulls.

How the heck can a robot know what to do?

emma

While a robot won’t get hurt feelings over how you just insulted her, she will know how to do what she’s carefully programmed to do. For Emma, this is alleviating pain.

To do this, Emma uses sensors and diagnostic functions to measure how her treatment is progressing. THis means she can literally feel a muscle getting less stiff, enabling her to know how much pressure to apply and when to stop. Pretty cool huh? Kinda like your own physiotherapist, except made of metal!

Emma also charts your progress and sends this to the cloud, where your medical data may be stored. Real time reporting say whaaaat.

If you want to try Emma for yourself, you may need to wait a little while. She’s currently happily using her skills at Chinese medicine clinics and sport centers. But when she hits mainstream New Zealand, you bet I’ll be trying her out!

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