Itongadol/AJN.- A massage is a thing for two. Not only is another person’s touch more satisfying than our own, if we attempted to properly massage ourselves we’d most likely get injured. Massage robots, to an extent, can help us relax, loosen back-knots or bring the thrill of another’s caress to lonely souls, but so far they haven’t extended beyond cumbersome vibrating handheld devices.
That’s where DreamBots, an Israeli company with operators in China and the US, steps in with their debut gadget: WheeMe, a completely autonomous massaging bot.
DreamBot’s co-founder, CobiGurievsky, defines himself as a “businessman and robotics person.” His fascination with massage-bots started over sixteen years ago, when, as an adolescent, he created his first massage robot with friend and current CEO of DreamBot, Eyal Avramovich. This WheeMe predecessor was a bulky bridge-like contraption that traveled over your back.
Almost two decades on, this cumbersome thingamajig shrunk to become a smaller, cuter gizmo. About six years ago, Cobi and Eyal finally designed it professionally in a studio, hired engineers and WheeMe was born. The first round of funds came “from family, friends and our own savings,” until, in the second round, they had an angel investor and an undisclosed investment group, which gave Dreambots the boost it needed.
As you lie down and place the WheeMe on your back, it drives around thanks to what Gurievsky calls its “nylon finguerettes”, dented wheels not dissimilar to those of an all-terrain vehicle, the texture of which, in combination with the vibration of the motor and the robot’s weight (330 grams without batteries), creates the pleasing massaging sensation.
The WheeMe’s movement obeys to a special algorithm which, combined with its tilt sensors, prevents it from falling. When it senses an inclination in the surface, it turns into another direction, to avoid plummeting off your back. The travelling speed is of five centimeters/second. According toGurievsky, “those five seconds allow the body to create different feel-good hormones” in the massaged surface.