While your ceilings or walls might have been plastered in your teens with the posters of Jimi Hendrix or Robert De Niro , the bedroom of the young Xing Wang is probably decorated with a poster featuring Marc Raibert. These two names don't ring any bell? The American is the founder of Boston Dynamics, the company that has created Big Dog and Alpha Dog, two 4-legged robots. Xing Wang is his Chinese counterpart. A Shanghai University graduate, Xing has founded his own company, Unitree Robotics, based in Hangzhou and, following in his idol’s footsteps, he has created Laikago, a robot dog whose name comes from Laika, the female dog sent by the Soviets into space and admired by Wang as a symbol of "human exploration of the unknown".
The Chinese robot differs from its American counterpart for its size: smaller and more agile, Laikago can move back and forth, sideways and on uneven surfaces, and aims to become man’s best friend, helping him retrieve objects or in the difficult task of filling his emotional voids.
Yet, much remains to be done before this can actually take place: the robot dog needs to be remotely operated; in addition, its unaffordable price, between 20,000 and 30,000 dollars, makes it an object reserved only to a few lucky and rich people.
Who knows, one day we will take four-legged robot dogs on our walks!