It used to be a fantasy from Hollywood blockbusters: robots that can walk around like humans and mimic soldiers. We are getting closer and closer to
Google's Robotic Past
Google, which started off as an internet related services company, seems to be on a shopping spree of sorts. Boston Dynamics is its eighth robotics purchase. The acquisitions appear to point to the internet giant's determination in pioneering a future with robots. Google has previously developed the self-driving car, prompting discussion about the road legal status of a car that can drive itself, and Nevada to issue the first license allowing the operation of autonomous vehicles on its roads. Other robotics companies Google has recently purchased are Schaft, Industrial Perception, Inc, Redwood Robotics, Meka Robotics, Autofuss and Holomni, and Bot & Dolly.
Boston Dynamics Pioneering Spirit
from MIT; Marc Raibert and his colleagues founded the company in the early 1990's. Some of the current projects Boston Dynamics continues developing include BigDog, a four legged robot that can walk and climb through rough terrain, carry up to 340 pounds, and is the size of a large dog. Also in the quadruped category are Little Dog, which is small enough to fit on a hand, the LS3 which was funded by DARPA to assist soldiers walking on foot with carrying a load, and the Cheetah, a record breaking robot that can run at 29 mph.
Boston Dynamics also has created some bipedal robots, such as Petman which is used for testing protective clothing and Atlas, which is being developed to "negotiate outdoor, rough terrain."
Google Remains Quiet On Future Plans, For Now
Google has stayed fairly quiet about what its future plans are going to be, however it currently spends about $7 billion dollars per year in research and development.
Peter Diamandis posted on Google+ : "This internal robotics revolution is being led by +Andy Rubin, the Google executive who developed and ran Android, the world's most widely used smartphone software. This is being done with Larry Page's enthusiastic support, as he and his team continue to display their impressive "moonshot thinking" by investing heavily in the future."
Peter continued, " I think it will be the transformation of our society -- how we work, how we learn, take care of our sick, conduct our commerce, explore, handle disasters, fight wars... everything."