Headlines From 2020: Newest Hairwasher-Z Robot Recalled After Tragic Beheadings

Teams of hair-washing robots are wreaking havoc in salons, where their mis-calibrated fingers are chopping off just a bit too much.

“I felt sad for the headless woman,” said a shampoo-grabbing robotic arm.

All right, not really. But one can easily imagine what might ensue if these new Panasonic shampoo-‘bots go all Sweeney Todd on us.

Here in 2010, Panasonic has unveiled robots that scan a person’s head in 3D, then wash his or her hair, ensuring its 16 fingers exert just the right amount of pressure. It can remember each customer’s head shape and massage preferences, according to a Panasonic press release. Each arm contains three motors to control swing, press, and massage functions.

Panasonic says the robots are meant for the elderly and people with limited mobility. They could reduce caregivers’ burden by plucking patients out of their Panasonic robotic beds and into a special chair for a scalp massage and shampoo.

Prototype salon robots will be on display at the 37th International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition at the Tokyo Big Sight, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.