There are several therapeutic robots out there, but this one is a bit different. While robots like Paro the baby seal require you to stroke them, the DreamBots Wheeme caresses you.
According to the company, this massage robot uses "unique tilt sensor technology" to move slowly across a person's body "without falling off or losing its grip." As the bot roams around, its four sprocket-like rubber wheels press gently on the skin.
Founded by a group of Israeli electronics and defense engineers, DreamBots will show off the WheeMe at CES next January. There's no word on price yet. The company admits the robot can't give you a deep tissue massage, because it's very light (240 grams, or 8.5 ounces). But they claim the device can provide "a delightful sense of bodily pleasure."
It's unclear how big the market is for a body-rolling robot. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, watch the WheeMe navigate someone’s back:
Another video and more images:
Joshua J. Romero is a software developer and journalist. A former IEEE Spectrum senior editor, he holds a bachelor’s degree in astronomy and physics from the University of Arizona and a master’s in journalism from New York University.