The customer leans back in what looks like a regular salon chair, over a sink, and the machine -- upgraded from a 16-fingered version -- shampoos, massages the scalp and rinses in about three minutes. Conditioning and a blow-dry add another five minutes. Nakamura said Japan's aging society supports a healthy market in care-giving robot technologies.
"We will develop more care-giving technologies for the elderly or handicapped in Japan and will export those technologies to other aging societies, such as South Korea and China, in the future," Nakamura said. The hair-washing machine is not available to consumers at this point, and a price has yet to be set. Panasonic plans to start sales next year, targeting nursing homes and hospitals. (Reuters)