Conceptual design of a general-purpose robot, powered by AI

Sanctuary AI is a Canadian AI and robotics company on a mission to create the world’s first human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots. MERPHI has collaborated with Sanctuary AI to create various concepts for their humanoid general-purpose robot, Phoenix™. Together, we developed the concepts into the current humanoid robot, which the company officially unveiled in May 2023.


Sanctuary AI / Canada




Concept Design, Industrial Design, CMF and DFM


Humanoid robots are highly complex with a physical design that needs to follow specific hardware requirements. The industrial design of a humanoid robot must meet this challenge while also taking into account the preferences of the people who will interact with it. In order to turn the concept into reality, the first challenge was to effectively collaborate with various teams at Sanctuary AI, made possible due to their highly-capable technical and executive teams. The second challenge was to create a humanoid robot that looks endearing and competent, while also displaying mechanical prowess and an AI control system.


The design team at MERPHI was tasked with conceptualizing the appearance of Phoenix™ robots and working with the Sanctuary AI team to develop it into a usable final product. The design needed to communicate the physical functionality and AI capabilities of the technology in an approachable way. Using psychological concepts like Uncanny Valley, we were able to create a look that portrayed intelligence and capability, while also being friendly looking. 

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