Google announced on Friday the 13th, 2013, that it has acquired Boston Dynamics, the robotics and engineering firm that has been hard at work on
SkyNet Department of Defense projects such as Big Dog, Cheetah, WildCat, PetMan, and Atlas.
The Massachusetts-based company continues to pump out machines that can jump, climb stairs, navigate disaster areas, run, carry heavy payloads, and even gallop at close to 30mph.
“It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. Executives at the internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection. But Boston Dynamics and its animal kingdom-themed machines bring significant cachet to Google’s robotic efforts, which are being led by Andy Rubin, the Google executive who spearheaded the development of Android, the world’s most widely used smartphone software.” – New York Times
The acquisition also raises questions as to what Google might do with their robotic menagerie. Amazon recently released their new drone-delivery idea and makes one wonder if Google plans something similar. Google’s “droids” could easily perform tasks such as warehouse sorting, loading, driving, and a plethora of other jobs, not to mention the military aspects of such machines.
Boston Dynamics has received most of their funding over the last few years from DARPA, the exotic research arm of the Pentagon, courtesy of your tax dollars – and now Google is capitalizing on those years of citizen-paid research.
The development of their flagship robot, BigDog, started in 2003 with a partnership between British robot maker Foster-Miller, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Harvard, with Boston Dynamics roots deeply entrenched in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
On a more positive note, machines such as Atlas could perform very well in environments such as the Fukushima reactor disaster.
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