Every so often at CES you see a disproportionately large group of people gathered at a booth and holding up traffic. Sometimes it’s to watch the dance of the Parrot AR Drones, occasionally it’s to be present for a giveaway drawing, and once it was (to my great disappointment) to get a look at Snooki. One such gathering arose around an attractive blonde model with what appeared to be a toy car driving on her. On closer inspection, she was receiving a massage from a new entry into the autonomous mobile robot servant category: the WheeMe massage robot.
WheeMe Massage Robot: What it does
This little guy comes with three massage modes. There is your standard mode, which I guess is just the robot scooting around on you and letting its knobby silicone wheels naturally stimulate whatever it rolls over. There is a vibrate mode, which adds a little rumble to the rolling. And then there is the tickle mode. This is what was happening to the model in the booth. In addition to the rolling and scooting, there are two rotating flexible arms that spin around like helicopter blades as the tips gently skim over the recipient’s back and shoulders.
WheeMe Massage Robot: How it works
According to the representative in the booth, a typical session with the WheeMe lasts about fifteen minutes. It runs on two AA batteries that provide around 15 total hours of massaging activity. I asked him about the algorithm, and there weren’t many specifics. It can tell when it is losing traction or is about to roll off of the user, so it can keep itself in massaging position. From watching it on both the live model and the mannequin there for the demonstration, it seems to like the upper back and shoulders. It never ventured down to the lumbar region, but I may not have watched long enough. While it may not have a carefully mapped, physiologically optimized massage path, it still seems to get something done in stress relief. It will take a hands on review to know whether this thing is more closely related to the Roomba or the Hexbug, but one thing is certain… they know how to make an impression at CES.
And to see what happened when WheeMe met Cali, check out that video here.