Your next masseur or masseuse may not be a human.
Guangzhou Haozhi Industrial Co. Ltd (昊志机电, 300503.SZ), a manufacturer of motor drive, spindle and other components used for robotics, recently surprised the industry by launching a massage robot in partnership with its client, the company announced on February 7.
In a post on Haozhi’s WeChat account, it said its massage robots have been adopted at several self-operated stores of Naturade, a domestic beauty salon chain and have won praises from customers.
Chinese-style massage, combining the techniques of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapy, especially acupuncture, has been a market valued at billions of yuan but it in recent years has been beset by a series of issues.
Specifically, the market faces a shortage of professionally trained massage therapists, varied levels of expertise among practitioners, a lack of industrial standards, long training cycle, rising labor cost, among others.
In response, Haozhi began to design and develop core components for massage robot in 2015 and worked with its client on aspects such as computer vision, force feedback, safety, range of motion control, and machine substitution for the TCM therapist.
The company, however, did not name the client it cooperated with on the project.
Haozhi said its robot is equipped with six-dimensional torque sensors, joint electric current sensors, position sensors, which generate data to guide the robot’s trail of motion with accuracy and enable real-time monitoring of its safe operation.
Incorporating TCM theories on acupoints, the robot can perform movements such as press, rub, push and pat on the customer — and with the amount of force deemed appropriate by built-in AI algorithms.
Notably, Haozhi claims to have replaced all its imports over the years with self-developed parts essential to robotic manufacturing, such as high-precision encoder, all-in-one joint module, six-dimensional torque sensor and high-performance harmonic gear reducer.
The company, which was founded in 2006 and went public on Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2016, was surveyed by institutional investors on February 6 and expected its gear reducers, control system and large- and medium-sized spindles intended for EVs will bolster its market performance, it said in an exchange filing.
Haozhi disclosed its full-year 2022 results on January 31, estimating a net profit attributable to the company shareholders at between 35 million and 52 million yuan (US$7.64 million), down 62.74% to 74.92% year on year. Haozhi ascribed the decline to an industrial downturn and the impact of Covid.