Google acquires robotics firm Boston Dynamics
16 December 2013
Google last week expanded its dominance in the technology market and confirmed what commentators had been hinting at – a move into robotics.
Google now straddles the entire tech spectrum from social media to operating systems and smartphones. The New York Times reported over the weekend, that the internet search giant had acquired Boston Dynamics a maker of military robots.
Boston Dynamics has created amazing all-terrain robots capable of transporting several hundred pounds of cargo. The report, however, says Boston Dynamics, the biggest name in Google's most recent acquisitions might actually be the eighth robotics company purchased by Google in the last six months. Google has, however, declined to reveal the amount it paid for any of the firms.
The robot-maker counts several incredible engineering feats in its designs, perhaps the most remarkable being the Cheetah, which is the fastest robot ever built, capable of running 29 mph (about 1 mph faster than Olympic runner Usain Bolt) on a flat surface.
Its multi-terrain successor named the WildCat is set to continue outdoor field testing in the near future. BigDog, a slower machine at a maximum speed of 4 mph, can carry loads up 340 lbs and takes in its stride muddy hills, piles of rubble, snow, and water without losing its balance.
Not only are these robots impressive products of engineering, they embody a strong approach to robot locomotion that could possibly impact the way future machines would move in our world.
According to commentators Google was creating a huge wave into robotics under the leadership of Andy Rubin, who led the development of the OS in Android mobile. The tech giant, though has not revealed what it aimed to do on the robotics technologies it purchased.
Rubin had earlier told The New York Times that he would love to pursue his interest on real robots and even if he did not mention what kind of robots he had in mind, he started purchasing robotics startups.
Leaving the Android division he moved to head the robotics venture, convincing Google CEO Sergey Brin of his robotics initiative.
''I have a history of making my hobbies into a career,'' Rubin said in a telephone interview. ''This is the world's greatest job. Being an engineer and a tinkerer, you start thinking about what you would want to build for yourself.''