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.
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.