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 Message Boards » » Google acquires Boston Dynamics Page [1]  
shoot
All American
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I think this shows to the whole world that robotics has a bright future and google has started switching to this field from internet and searching.

Am I right?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/technology/google-adds-to-its-menagerie-of-robots.html?_r=1&

SAN FRANCISCO — BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas have joined Google’s growing robot menagerie.
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Boston Dynamics
A robot named BigDog, which can walk over rough terrain, can also stay upright in response to a well-placed human kick.
Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.

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.

The deal is also the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.

Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 by Marc Raibert, a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has not sold robots commercially, but has pushed the limits of mobile and off-road robotics technology, mostly for Pentagon clients like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa. Early on, the company also did consulting work for Sony on consumer robots like the Aibo robotic dog.

Boston Dynamics’ walking robots have a reputation for being extraordinarily agile, able to walk over rough terrain and handle surfaces that in some cases are challenging even for humans.

A video of one of its robots named BigDog shows a noisy, gas-powered, four-legged, walking robot that climbs hills, travels through snow, skitters precariously on ice and even manages to stay upright in response to a well-placed human kick. BigDog development started in 2003 in partnership with the British robot maker Foster-Miller, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Harvard.

The video has been viewed more than 15 million times since it was posted on YouTube in 2008.

More recently, Boston Dynamics distributed a video of a four-legged robot named WildCat, galloping in high-speed circles in a parking lot.

Although the videos frequently inspire comments that the robots will evolve into scary killing machines straight out of the “Terminator” movies, Dr. Raibert has said in the past that he does not consider his company to be a military contractor — it is merely trying to advance robotics technology. Google executives said the company would honor existing military contracts, but that it did not plan to move toward becoming a military contractor on its own.

Under a $10.8 million contract, Boston Dynamics is currently supplying Darpa with a set of humanoid robots named Atlas to participate in the Darpa Robotics Challenge, a two-year contest with a $2 million prize. The contest’s goal is creating a class of robots that can operate in natural disasters and catastrophes like the nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukushima, Japan.

“Competitions like the Darpa Robotics Challenge stretch participants to try to solve problems that matter and we hope to learn from the teams’ insights around disaster relief,” Mr. Rubin said in a statement released by Google.

Boston Dynamics has also designed robots that can climb walls and trees as well as other two- and four-legged walking robots, a neat match to Mr. Rubin’s notion that “computers are starting to sprout legs and move around in the environment.”

A recent video shows a robot named Cheetah running on a treadmill. This year, the robot was clocked running 29 miles per hour, surpassing the previous legged robot land speed record of 13.1 m.p.h., set in 1999. That’s about one mile per hour faster than Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter dash. But it’s far short of a real cheetah, which can hit 65 m.p.h.

Google’s other robotics acquisitions include companies in the United States and Japan that have pioneered a range of technologies including software for advanced robot arms, grasping technology and computer vision. Mr. Rubin has also said that he is interested in advancing sensor technology.

Mr. Rubin has called his robotics effort a “moonshot,” but has declined to describe specific products that might come from the project. He has, however, also said that he does not expect initial product development to go on for years, indicating that Google commercial robots of some nature could be available in the next several years.

Google declined to say how much it paid for its newest robotics acquisition and said that it did not plan to release financial information on any of the other companies it has recently bought.

Dr. Raibert is known as the father of walking robots in the United States. He originally created the Leg Lab, a research laboratory to explore walking machines at Carnegie Mellon University in 1980. He then moved the laboratory to M.I.T. before leaving academia to build engineering systems for the military and Sony.

His research in walking robots began with a pogo-stick project called “the hopper,” which he used to test basic concepts.

“I am excited by Andy and Google’s ability to think very, very big,” Dr. Raibert said, “with the resources to make it happen.”

12/16/2013 10:30:34 PM

qntmfred
retired
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I'm very hype about this. I've had my eye on robotics for many years and would love to switch careers, except software development positions are much more readily available and pay better too. I'm still hopeful to make the switch at some point before i become obsolete.

12/16/2013 11:18:28 PM

shoot
All American
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As far as I know, Microsoft is doing something with robotics too. My professor who taught me computer vision is a visiting scholar there right now.

12/16/2013 11:24:28 PM

dannydigtl
All American
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this makes me kind of sad.

12/17/2013 8:18:58 PM

shoot
All American
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Why? I feel exciting.

12/17/2013 8:19:49 PM

dannydigtl
All American
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I guess i pictured BD as a smaller shop that did really cool stuff. That's not totally true, they're practically a government R&D company, but its fun to romanticize. I've also heard the upper management is pretty hostile and known for firing people on a whim.

Slapping Google on everything takes the overacheiving underdog vibe away. Oh great, Google.

I'm in Robotics Engineering grad school at WPI part time and we just bought an ATLAS for the DARPA competition. I was like awesommmeeee a BD robot! If it had Google on it, it just wouldn't be as cool.

What I'm saying isn't logical.

However, there's no doubt that Google will certainly grow the industry and hopefully get me a better chance at working at a BD Google some day.

12/17/2013 8:42:17 PM

synapse
play so hard
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http://www.youtube.com/user/BostonDynamics

I think my favorite might be the sand flea

12/17/2013 8:54:08 PM

shoot
All American
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Very cool and fancy.

12/17/2013 9:08:15 PM

RedGuard
All American
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Maybe Larry Page is buying it to equip Google for the upcoming Battlebots 2.0 against Bezos and his swarm of Amazon drones.

12/18/2013 9:42:42 AM

synapse
play so hard
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I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

12/18/2013 10:15:09 AM

JP
All American
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Skynet activated

12/18/2013 10:16:18 AM

shoot
All American
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Let's see what they can do about it. It's not easy to commercializing military products.

12/18/2013 11:28:06 AM

AndyMac
All American
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Military is probably pissed about this. Google probably doesn't want to get into military hardware, so all that cash the army has no doubt given those guys is wasted.

1/4/2014 10:47:57 PM

skokiaan
All American
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All that anime robot shit is going to come true

1/4/2014 11:43:34 PM

0EPII1
All American
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Beginning of the end

https://www.facebook.com/time/videos/10155501893396491

Now they are holding doors open for their friends to come to the other room and f*** your shit up

Somebody embed

2/14/2018 2:23:24 AM

BJCaudill21
Not an alcoholic
7847 Posts
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Yep. It's the origin story to season 4, episode 5 of black mirror. Will be cool until they weaponize it

2/14/2018 7:23:44 AM

tulsigabbard
Suspended
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Google getting it before its weaponized is worse imo. Google will make it smart and ubiquitous and all the more problematic once it is weaponized.

2/14/2018 7:30:29 PM

moron
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They're owned by Soft Bank now

[Edited on February 15, 2018 at 2:40 AM. Reason : ]

2/15/2018 2:39:54 AM

0EPII1
All American
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I don't recall seeing this update from May before....

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/boston-dynamics-running-robot_us_5af5f912e4b032b10bfaa54e

IT RUNS

12/12/2018 11:26:06 PM

shoot
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My PhD advisor recently moved to MA to lead a robotics engineering program at WPI. There's something going on there.

12/13/2018 9:34:14 AM

nacstate
All American
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The jumping and back flip are

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knoOXBLFQ-s

12/13/2018 1:43:52 PM

shoot
All American
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Have you watched this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue_uTVKnGLI

12/13/2018 2:16:58 PM

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