Panasonic's shampoo robot starts trials with 24 magic fingers

A salon in Osaka, Japan is host to the trial of the first proper shampooing robot to autonomously care for your head. While Panasonic's Head Care Robot is being tested alongside real hairdressers, it has a bit of an advantage over the competition: 24 robot fingers to massage the client's scalp for sweet, sweet relaxation.

You all may remember us reporting about this story back in 2010. And woe to you doubters that thought the prototype would never make it to the real world. It's here in all its mechanized glory — from the washbasin to the final blow-dry.

After a client reclines at the washbasin, the experience begins with a scan of the head so the robot can adjust to the shape of their particular head. Jets roll back and forth dispensing water, shampoo and conditioner interspersed with massages.

Ah, the special 24-finger massage — arguably the best part of the experience. Eight robot fingers work on your neck while the rest knead your scalp.

We can't argue with the fact the Head Care Robot trumps us on the number of digits. But whether Panasonic's claims of it beating a human hairdresser are true is hard to say. Can the robot ask if the water is too warm? Can it vary the pressure of the massage? Can it ask about our love lives or our work, like a human hairdresser?

Alright, that last bit probably isn't that important in the scheme of things.

After the Head Care Robot completes its trial at the Super Hair Seo Salon and the company receives feedback on its performance, the plan is to offer it for sale.

Whether you will be able to see it at a salon near you is uncertain as for now as Panasonic plans to market it for the elderly and disabled. Something tells me that once word gets out about that 24-finger massage we might see something of a market breakthrough.

As for the robot barber? We're not so sure.


For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook