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In the intersection of space travel and robotics, Jihee Kim introduces Laika — a concept design for a life-like, AI robot pet that can interact with humans. Laika has been designed for upcoming space projects such as NASA’s Artemis and Moon to Mars missions set for 2025-2030, envisioned as the ultimate companion for space explorers as it caters to both their physical and emotional well-being while they are away from home. Unlike the aggressive robotic dogs currently available on the market, Jihee Kim has designed Laika with a friendly and organic finish that enables it to connect to its human counterpart on an emotional level when in use while monitoring their health conditions and assisting them in emergencies. Beyond space missions, this approachable design allows Laika to integrate into domestic contexts.
Advanced Sensor Technology
Named after the dog that first journeyed into space in 1957, Laika is a mechanical companion as well as an active participant in the astronaut’s life, playing the roles of friend, family member, and even health coach. Crafted from robust titanium, Laika’s body is built to endure both the harsh conditions of outer space, as well as Earth for walking and jogging alongside its human counterparts, offering emotional support through its advanced mechanical calculations.Equipped with an array of sensors — including depth cameras, thermal imaging cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and slam cameras — Laika is attuned to its surroundings, capable of detecting space, objects, and people. The integration of ECG sensors along its neck also serves a dual purpose, monitoring the astronauts’ health during emotional interactions. Emotional connection is further enhanced through the expressive multi-joint movements, displaying loyalty and love, akin to a real-life pet.
Future Integration and Functionality
In the near future, the designer envisions the integration of mixed reality glasses as a routine accessory. Users can interact with Laika and receive real-time information and updates on their pet’s activities through these wearables. The stretchable handle on the robot dog’s back adds a practical function, allowing users to carry a small bottle during exercise, or lift the dog and move it around.
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