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EMMA is the world’s first massage assistive robot which aims to relieve the shortage of trained therapists
in the TCM industry. The robot has a customised, fully rotatable 3D-printed massage tip, a 3D-stereoscopic
camera for acupuncture points recognition and localization and a user-friendly interface and recommended
guidelines for various sports injuries. Sensors and diagnostic functions measure the progress of the patient and
the diagnostics data is then uploaded into the cloud where a client progress report can then be generated to
adjust personalised treatment programmes. AiTreat aims to build a cloud-based, artificial intelligent driven
collaborative robotic system which can perform TCM check-ups, take TCM records and perform professional
therapeutic massage under the TCM physician’s instruction.
Hi, Good morning! My name is Conghui and I am co-founder of AiTreat. Firstly, I’d like to thank our mentor Veronica, Susan, Prof. Neo and many other people who gave continuously support to AiTreat. This is a fantastic program for our engineers and we benefits a lot through this particular learning journey. Today, I am very happy to share with your our story and introduce you an revolutionary massage system, which has potential to disrupt the traditional TCM industry.
Firstly, Let me introduce a little bit about our team members. Our CEO and founder, Mr. Zhang Yizhong is a registered TCM physician who has been worked in a local TCM clinic for 5 years. He prepared this project three years and envisioned that an assistive robot has the potential to solve the problems in his daily working in a local clinic. Recently, we has appointed our CTO, Dr. Qiu Chen who received his PhD in Robotics from King’s college of London. Myself, I have more than 10 years experiences in robotics research and development. Victor is very talent software engineer and he is currently a PhD candidate in NTU, and David graduated from NUS but working in silicon valley.
So, let’s take a look of what is the problem we are trying to solve for the TCM industry? The aging society is a frequently discussed topic, the consequences are short of labors, but people need more medical care services. Then, introduces a kind of conflicts and cause the service fee increasing and quality of service drops. This is not a problem we talk about in next 5 or 10 years but it is happening right now. In the past five years,TCM clinics in Singapore are growing very fast, this is because of the rapid aging society, and more people are seeking this kind of unique & traditional method to solve their body condition problems. However, the biggest problem of TCM clinic are facing now is shortage of skilled local therapists. Because, unlike wellness massage, medical massage need a lot practical experiences to find the right acupuncture points, applying proper force and massage skills to corresponding muscles to solve the problems for different body conditions. This problem causes a high rising labor cost and the profit margin is shrinking 3~5% percentage annually for a clinic. On the other hand, people are complaining about the high rising service fee (60~80 SGD per time) and a dropped quality of the medical services.
So we think what is a possible solution is a robotic assistive massage system that helps the TCM clinics to improve their productivity. Therefore, We built a system which can load different massage knowledge. It knows the location and function of every acupuncture points, skeleton of human body through 3D sensor scanning, muscle and nerve system distrubution. The robots are connected to the cloud to receive continuous upgrades. The artificial intelligent system behind out it will analyze the big data which collected during the massage process to provide the most suitable and customized solution to different individual. Our revolutionary massage system helps therapeutic centers to provide medical massage in a more scientific, more consistent, and more manner to attract more, running at lower cost and double the profit. We envisioned it is not just a robot, a normal device but it is a platform and an eco-system to solve the pain points and modernize the traditional TCM industry.
This flowchart shows how does the robotic system working together with the physicians. The physician firstly do a standard checkup and diagnosis of the patient conditions, then he can planning and prescribing a treatment flow on a touch screen. Then, the robot plays a role of a therapist and take up the most time-consuming, tedious and boring massage tasks. Finally, the physician can interfere and continue to do complex manipulations, acupunctures. In this ways, one physician can treat 3~5 patients at the same time, which can greatly improve the productivity. What I have to emphasizes is that the robot doesn’t take jobs from therapists but solve the problem of therapist shortage, and it can provide a more scientific data based, consistent and affordable treatment service for the end customers.
So, how did our business model evolved in the past 10 weeks? We have conducted more than 50 interviews, which include clinic operators, TCM physicians & therapists, robotic engineers, end-user and general people. They really helped us to revise our business model and provided many valuable suggestions from different aspects. These are several points we have learned: Firstly, Presentation skills are critical….. Secondly, you need to provide a whole solution beyond just a single product….
We have figured out our beach head market are TCM clinics and physiotherapy centers, and we have successfully singed several MOU with them. We are planning to deploy our robots to 5 to 10 local clinics next year. Our target market are 6 billion in medical massage for Singapore and united states.
Since I am engineer, I’d like to show you a scheme in the control theory to illustrate our business model today. In my eyes, this is so-called adaptive close-loop feedback control You have you input resources like R&D, IP and money, and produces a controller which is your products. You need someone to help build the product and distubutors it through different channels. But what’s important here is what the value creation, and final goal whether your potential customer are satisfies with your proposed value and how much they appreciated And that is their feedback and could be the revenue stream our your company. The whole system is not a one-step system but need to continually evolve and fine tuning all parameters for example your product and service to adaptive the customers needs.
Aitreat is newly founded company and we spent 6 months to build our MVP as shown in the right picture. We did some pilot testing in a local clinic , a medial release and we have successfully secured a round of seed investors, but as illustrates in the last slide we still need to work hard and continuously evolved to fulfill our customer needs, and we also need your continuously support!
Finally, let’s watch a video of our robot.
Thank you, and I would like to hear your valuable comments.
Revolutionary Massage System
Lean Launchpad Program Singapore, 2016
Conghui Liang, Mentor: Veronica Chew
24 Oct 2016
Meet the experts
CEO: ZHANG YIZHONG
Double Degree, NTU
• Specialized in pain
Have seen over
during the past
CTO: Dr Qiu Chen
King's College London
• Researcher from Centre
for Robotics Research,
King’s College London.
Expert in mechanical
design and robotic
Dr Liang Conghui
University of Cassino
• Research fellow in
robotic center in
Singapore. Over 10
years R&D experience.
systems deployed in
Victor (PhD candidate)
• PhD candidate at
interface and control
• Has been working
in the IT sector for
more than 7 years.
Has developed e-
visit www.aitreat.com for more information
What is the problem we are trying to solve?
Shortage in skilled local therapists Rising Labor Cost Profit margin (3-5%) is shrinking
What was our proposed solution?
A.I. for better
Solution: Robotic Assistive Massage System
Customer discovering journey
50+ INTERVIEWS (LOCAL)
Clinic operators TCM therapists Robotic researcher
End-user Gov. officers General people
• Presentation skills are critical
• B2B customers need a solution beyond
just a single product
• Raas (Robot-as-a-Service) is a kind of
new business model
• People are happy to see, play and talk
about robots. However, very few people
want to pay …...
• Price is not the primary issue, but the
value creation for your customer
• TCM Clinics & physiotherapy centers
3000 TCM PHYSCIANS
18000 BEAUTY & WELLNESS
BUSINESSES IN SINGAPORE
• Testing market: 5~10 local clinics
• Target market: 6 billion in Singapore & United states
• Available market: 12.1 billion for medical massage, 2.8% annual growth
Beach head market & size
Business model today
upgrade service and
attract more patients
massage to patients
Usage fee as
Rent & service fee
Robotic parts supply
Expert Manipulative Massage Automation
R&D -> Patient can't
validation -> EBM proven
Adaptive closed-loop feedback control