Panasonic shampoo robot hits the salon

This sensual machine 'offers a degree of comfort that users cannot experience with human hands.'

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
2 min read
If you think 10 fingers feels good on your scalp, try 24. Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

If I were near Tokyo Station right now, I'd hop on a bullet train to Osaka lickety-split. Why? To get my scalp cleansed by Panasonic's shampoo robot, of course.

Hair salon Super Hair Seo in the nearby city of Nishinomiya is playing the lucky host to the electronics giant's Head Care Robot, which is undergoing its first tests alongside hairdressers.

Introduced back in 2010, the device consists of a reclining chair and a mechanized washbasin. It first scans your head to get an idea of its shape, and can accommodate a variety of noggins, according to Panasonic.

Then it releases shampoo jets and gets to work on your scalp with its 24 robotic fingers, as the promo vid below tells us. Eight of the fingers work the back of your neck while the rest knead your scalp.

How does it feel? Panasonic says a human hair washer can't offer such a relaxing experience. With more than double our fingers, how can we meatsacks compete?

The machine is being developed to help care for elderly and disabled users, and Panasonic says it wants to commercialize it soon after getting feedback from trials at Super Hair Seo and elsewhere.

After shampooing, meanwhile, the robot applies a conditioner mist, gives you another 24-finger massage, and finally blow-dries your hair. Then you're ready for a new 'do.

You can forget the tip. But then again, you don't even have to tip the humans in Japan.