Earlier this month at a demonstration in Tokyo, a new hair-washing robot washed the hair on a mannequin, revealing to onlookers a new approach to caring for the elderly and infirm.
Always seeking to break new ground in the cyber world, Panasonic has created a robot with 24 high-tech fingers, which replaces the touch of the human hand and represents the newest in cyber technology.
“Using robotic hand technology and 24 robotic fingers, this robot can wash the hair of the elderly or handicapped in the way human hands do in order to help them have better daily lives,” says bot developer Tohru Nakamura.
The action occurs in what looks like a regular salon chair. Leaning back over a sink, the customer (washee?) is then treated to a routine including a shampoo, rinse and massage of the scalp that takes about three glorious minutes. Another five minutes is added onto the process to cover the time needed for conditioning and a blow-dry.
This robot represents a burgeoning need to blend technology with care-giving for a dynamic elderly population. It is expected this trend in time will expand to other Asian nations as well, including South Korea and China.
The price of this bot has not yet been established, and at this time it is not available to consumers. The unit is slated for sale sometime next year and its target market will initially be nursing homes and hospitals.
Caring for the aging population is a societal obligation all of us must face in our lifetimes as one day it will be us. And so it goes…