Russian scientists develop robotic masseur for cosmonauts
Source: Sputniknews 23.1.2023
Researchers from the Bauman Moscow State Technical University have been working on a robot that would be attached to the body of a cosmonaut and perform massages without distracting them from their work. The developers will present their ideas at the Korolev Readings in Moscow from 24 to 27 January.
The Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IMASH) of the Russian Academy of Sciences has made and tested its full-scale kinematic model to determine how such a masseur could work.
Massage is considered one of the most effective non-medicinal ways to treat and prevent injuries and the most common areas to be massaged are the lower and upper extremities, including knee and elbow joints. The simplicity of such massage makes it a popular choice on a space station.
According to scientists, there are many problems in space. Because of weightlessness, a massage cannot be effective without a second cosmonaut which would take both crew members away from their work. Those robotic masseurs which already exist are only suitable for certain body areas.
To solve these problems, scientists proposed a new - symbiotic - approach, by linking the robot to the cosmonaut's body. This would enable the cosmonaut to carry out routine work while enjoying the benefits of the massage. Furthermore, the robot could be programmed to avoid inappropriate areas of the body - such as moles or wounds - before starting the procedure.