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Remote massaging services via tactile pads and "blankets"

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jnikola Dec 21, 2021
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This idea was inspired by Darko Savic's session on Tactile shoulder pads.
The idea
I read about telemassage as a service where a professional masseur guides one partner to massage the other.
But what I propose is repurposing a tactile material that can be remotely controlled by the tactile pad, tablet, or smartphone into a massaging tactile pad that can be placed on your back, leg, injured knee, or face and its pressure remotely controlled by the masseur.
The benefits
  • shy masseurs can give massages without real physical contact
  • masseurs can work from home (no need to hire a nanny, can cook lunch in the break)
  • adjustable pressure without affecting the masseur's way of massaging
  • increased safety of massaging
  • no chance for sexual assault
  • "massaging to sleep" option
Additional features
  • pad can have an integrated speaker for musical background or talk during the massage
  • vibration option
  • temperature regulation
The problems
  • Since pressure of the masseur can be really strong, the pad should be heavy, but safe.
  • Person who wants a telemassage should buy or rent a pad.
  • How to deal the problem with using oil to ensure gentle touch and oily massage remotely?

What do you think? How could we build the sensing/tactile pad? Should it be a pad or a blanket? Is there a better solution?
How could we solve problems mentioned above?
What are the other purposes of the tactile pad/blanket?
Creative contributions

Using air pressure-controlled suit to telemassage

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Dec 22, 2021
Have you used the automated blood pressure monitor? It automatically generates pressure in the cuff and a small sensor in the cuff measures the blood pressure. I suggest constructing a suit (like a diving suit) instead of a blanket or pads because the suit is in contact with the entire surface of the body most of the time compared to the latter two. The suit will have cuff-like pressure generators throughout. Every single point on the suit will be able to generate pressure locally. When all these points synchronize, a wave of pressure will be felt by the user - a wave similar to that felt when a masseur/se rubs their hands on the body. Instead of rubbing, the pressure points on the suit will get activated in the direction of the rubbing motion. This will avoid the friction of the suit fabric with the skin. Additionally, since there is no lateral motion on the skin, no oil will be required, making the process less messy and reducing the overall time (including oiling and bathing).
Here is an ideal version of the telemassage package I envision - the masseur/se owns a plastic doll (human size) with sensors. The masseur/se massage the doll as though they are massaging the client. The sensors record the location of the pressure, movement of the masseur/se's hands, and the intensity of the pressure. The information gets sent to the client/ user suit real-time using the telemassage software. The software converts the information into instructions for the suit to apply the same pressure and give a massage to the user. The suit can be bought or rented. The masseur/se can use the same massage bot to treat all their clients. The software also enables video calling so that the client and the masseur/se can talk to each other regarding any stiffness, pain, pressure requirements, etc.
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William Hubbard2 years ago
Very innovative! I agree that the challenge would be mimicking the pressure points done by a masseuse. As you mentioned, the blood pressure cuff idea can generate radial pressure around arms and legs, but to replicate varying point load/pressure across the surface of a body, you'd need something affixed or rigid to counter the pressure of the load points. I think you could replicate the motion (somewhat) if you could design a rigid suit along with the principle of a pin "moldboard" (see attached) Maybe the pins would somehow be spring-loaded? And maybe the vertical travel of the pins would be replicated from the masseuse to the client? Just a thought!!...lol😎

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni2 years ago
Hi William Hubbard! Yes, you pinpointed the challenge. The solution you propose is great. I think it should work. The only drawback here is that the moldboard will be a lot heavier to carry around easily. Moreover, both the clients and the masseurs/es will need it at their place. Individual clients may not afford it. However, I think this is the best solution we can think of using the available resources and technology.
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jnikola2 years ago
Very cool idea! I like how you developed the idea and the mechanism of generating pressure. I must admit I don't like the feeling when being pressured by the automated blood pressure monitor. It is a really strong and unpleasant feeling. Therefore, the suit should, in my opinion, ensure that the client can control it any time since it could be easily (with some scary modifications) be turned into a torturing device from which you cannot escape :D Maybe I am too dramatic, but that is my only concern. Besides that, everything seems very cool and I like it!
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Massaging mattress/bed

jnikola Dec 22, 2021
Since creating the pressure that is equal to the real massage seems to be the main problem, I propose using our own bodies to create pressure. There would be no device producing pressure on top of our body, but the body's weight would be the main source of the pressure.
How would it work?
A person would lay on a specially designed mattress or a bed, that can be remotely controlled. Similar to the massaging chairs in the malls, these beds/mattresses would produce pressure on your back using many small devices (ball-shaped, massaging arms, massaging surfaces mentioned by Darko, covered with a thick layer of the pressure generating mass...). The massage could be programmed and repetitive (like in massaging chairs) or remotely controlled by the professional masseurs. The masseurs would have real-sized dolls at home and the signal would be transmitted the same as Shubhankar Kulkarni described in his contribution. If you want the front part of the body to be massaged, the mattress should have an opening for the head so you can breathe and lay in a comfortable position.
No uncomfortable suits, oils or expensive additional gear. You can enjoy the professional massage by laying in your own bed, any time.
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Repurposing the new haptic gaming vest

jnikola Dec 29, 2021
I found an incredible toy for all the gamers - a haptic gaming vest from the company OWO. They built software and hardware called Sensations Technology. It's made of lycra and elastic wires. Users wear it directly on the skin, to enable the "elastic patches" to give the users realistic feels of getting hit in the stomach, feeling the light breeze, or being shot by a bullet. Although it's secret, rumors say that they manage to create these sensations by smart conductance of electrical pulses. The possibilities behind these are endless and fun, leading us to the idea of this contribution.
What if we used this vest to massage someone? Massages aren't always medically and physically pleasing the customer but are also a mental getaway. This vest could possibly be used to deliver the users a gentile massage and relaxation without using any physical force. What do you think?
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General comments

Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
Another limitation of such telemassage is that touch through the pad and direct touch with hands are very different. Massage therapists often use oil and slide their hands easily along the person's body, this would not be possible when using the pad.
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jnikola2 years ago
Povilas S That's a solid problem! Maybe the body could be oiled before putting the pad on it to ensure the "oily touch". Not the same, but thank you for highlighting this problem, I'll put it in the session description.
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