Boston Dynamics - Google leads the robot revolution


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Commentary on the Google's latest Boston Dynamics acquisition.

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Boston Dynamics - Google leads the robot revolution

  1. 1. Google Leads the Robot Revolution with Boston Dynamics Acquisition ! ! ! ! Credit: Boston Dynamics This is perhaps a story to be filed under “WTF is up with that, Google?” In late December, 2013 Google announced that they had acquired Boston Dynamics, the robotics firm responsible for creating the Big Dog robot (funded by DARPA to become the robotic pack mules for the armed forces). Boston Dynamics is Google’s eighth acquisition in the robotics space in a short period of time… ! Like we needed any more evidence that Google is ramping up to become Skynet? ! So what the F is all this robot acquisition about, Google? As AT&T researcher Chuck Kalmanek points out via a blog post (republished by VentureBeat), Google is clearly playing the long game. They understand that the advances in robotics over the last decade have indicated that it is very likely there will come a time when robots will touch a majority of their human counterparts lives on a daily basis. ! (Hopefully it is a non threatening - not trying to enslave you type of touch. *shudders with fear of Terminators*) ! In addition to the robotics companies Google has previously acquired - which in sum provide humanoid robots, industrial robots, special effects robots and robotics components, such as wheels and arms - the acquisition of the Big Dog seemingly completes their stable of ‘bots to
  2. 2. create a whole picture of the robotics future. ! The Big Dog was created in 2005 with the objective that they would accompany soldiers into terrain which is too tough for traditional vehicles. (Honestly, they’re more like a mule than a dog, but the name is typical machismo stuff you’d expect from the armed forces.) In 2013, Boston Dynamics released video of a modified Big Dog with a throwing arm (perhaps a new pitcher for the Boston Red Sox? Ha, ha) which can lift and throw up to 50lbs of something… Further they’ve improved the stability of the robot, it can now walk on ice and recovers balance when hit from the side. ! Obviously, this is a very important robotics advance and it makes a lot of sense why Google would want to acquire it and the brains behind its’ creation. It will be interesting to see what Google does next with these robots… very interesting, indeed. ! Kate Kotler, writer.