Google acquires Boston Dynamics, makers of weird and scary robots

Google is looking like it is more serious about its robot research. The New York Times is now reporting that the company has acquired Boston Dynamics, the makers of some truly impressive, but still scary, four legged automatons that have become YouTube hits.

This new report follows on the heels of news that Google's former Android leader Andy Rubin is now leading a team focused on robots at the company. Google would not reveal how much it spend to buy Boston Dynamics, saying only that the deal will help to furthur their own research into robots.

Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics has made a number of experimental robots for both commercial and military contractors, including the Defense Department under their top secret Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. They include creations like "BigDog", a four legged robot that was made to move through different types of terrain and conditions, including ice and snow.

Most recently, Boston Dynamics uploaded a YouTube video showing off "WildCat", a smaller version of "BigDog" that moves much faster. "WildCat" can run up to 16 MPH on flat terrain compared to just 5 MPH with "BigDog". Let's hope that Google team members are aware of movies like "The Terminator" and "I Robot" and keep these scary machines on a very short leash.

Source: The New York Times

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33 Comments

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Very interesting. I've been following the progress of Boston Dynamics for several years. Not intentionally though - once in a while I'd see a Boston Dynamics video in a random news site or blog and I'd think "wow, look what they've made now".

I have as well... though I don't really understand why Google felt they needed to acquire BD, nor really their interest in robotics at this level, I would have figured if anyone was going to acquire BD it would have been one of the players in the defense industry.

And they know where you live, how you think, and everything you do.

Unless you switch to Bing. At least Bing won't send robots after you.

This is what those balloons were really for. Radio control. The robots can be used for Map making and carrying ads. Google will be great at making them unobtrusive like their ads, cause right now they are way loud.

The US Military owns DARPA and Boston Robotics is a competitor to DARPA, so NSA ordered Google to buy Boston Robotics, and as we all know Google is controlled by the NSA, so now the US Government has full control of military robotic technology. Conspiracy theory? I think not.

NocturnalAlloy said,
The US Military owns DARPA and Boston Robotics is a competitor to DARPA, so NSA ordered Google to buy Boston Robotics, and as we all know Google is controlled by the NSA, so now the US Government has full control of military robotic technology. Conspiracy theory? I think not.

Lol

NocturnalAlloy said,
The US Military owns DARPA and Boston Robotics is a competitor to DARPA, so NSA ordered Google to buy Boston Robotics, and as we all know Google is controlled by the NSA, so now the US Government has full control of military robotic technology. Conspiracy theory? I think so.

Fixed the last sentence for you. DARPA has grants that they award to companies for military projects such as a lot of B.D. projects and a 'self healing' computer system. You are talking complete and utter garbage.

Right? This is the start of Sky Net. Balloons with wireless Net. They have the world mapped out. They know a lot about you. And now this...
Start looking for Sarah Conner and warn her they're coming.

Despite the negative spin in the title, the videos look pretty impressive, I wouldn't mind working on these on the weekend.

Mechanical robots are never scary, it becomes scary when they become more like humans.

And revolutionary. Boston Dynamics was the leader in under-actuated robotics; an extremely specialized form of robotics and the last frontier of mechanical physics.
Google didn't buy them for their products, they bought them for their engineers.

InformedPoster said,
Negative spin? Did you see the videos? They are nothing but weird and scary.

Maybe 50% scary. But then 150% awesome.