Freaky-awesome massage vest rubs you up with your own tunes

An app-connected vest triggers a soothing massage using the music library on your iPhone. Yes, this is real.

iMusic BodyRhythm vest
CNET Crave blogger Amanda Kooser gets a "Gangnam Style" massage. Amanda Kooser/CNET

LAS VEGAS--If you ever wanted to know what it would feel like to have Mick Jagger massage the knots in your back muscles while you listen to "Tumbling Dice," then I have the perfect gadget for you. The iMusic BodyRhythm massage vest sits over your shoulders and upper back. Plug it into your iPhone, fire up the app, and enjoy a rubdown to the beat of your favorite song.

I got to try out a fully functioning prototype of the vest at CES 2013. The vest's creator Uwe Diegel hooked me up with some "Gangnam Style" massage action. I could see going for the full-album experience and having an extended session with "Exile on Main Street." It would be a very different way of experiencing the music.

The app doesn't just mine the massage possibilities of your music collection. It can also be used like a personal drum machine where you trigger your own massage beats. If you really want to get crazy with it, then you can set it to react to shaking the iPhone. I tried out this mode and it feels like having half a dozen cats dancing on your back.

Diegel says that the vest isn't a medical device so much as a fun way to relax while enjoying your favorite music. He sounds a bit bemused that he has spent a considerable amount of time designing medical devices, but this oddball creation is getting all the attention. Diegel has gotten enough encouragement for the concept to launch a Kickstarter project.

A $69 super-early-bird pledge will get you a vest of your own should the Kickstarter project reach its $50,000 goal. The regular pre-order price is $149.

There is something both surreal and comforting about this vest. Even though I wore it in public at CES, I can't really see wearing it in public. Still, in the privacy of my own home, with a glass of champagne and some Nick Lowe, this might be just the ticket for a relaxing evening in.

 

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