In less than a year, Google has acquired 7 robotic start-ups, the latest of which is Boston Dynamics, a pioneer in robotic mobility design and production. Boston Dynamics is a unique robotics lab that was founded by a former MIT professor and is run by some of the top robotic engineers in the country. They focus on robotic design that mimics biological evolution for optimized mobility and create robots that are incredibly life-like. Pictured right is “Big Dog” a four-legged robot that mimics a pack mule for carrying equipment and gear. “Big Dog” was designed and built for military use however it has numerous applications in the civilian world as well.
Other robotics companies recently acquired by Google include: Meka Robotics (USA), Schaft Inc. (Japan), Redwood Robotics (USA), Holomni (USA), Industrial Perception Inc. (USA), and Bot and Dolly (USA). Each company specializes in a certain aspect of robotics technology, from wheels and drive trains, to spatial awareness and interaction.
A question that many are asking is what is Google planning? It is evident that they are in possession of some top robotics companies from around the world and are in control of incredible and cutting-edge robotic technology. However, it isn’t clear exactly what Google has in store for all of their new technology, patents, and industry potential. What is clear is that the applications for robots and robotic technology are virtually limitless. Boston Dynamics for one has been developing their two and four legged robots for DARPA, the Pentagon’s Research & Development wing for future U.S. military use and have been awarded contracts for continued development. They have also been developing robots for search and rescue and lifesaving operations which can be employed for natural and industrial disasters.
While Google, began as a search engine and web services company, it was grown and expanded to include hardware and mechanical technologies within their focus. With their purchase of Motorolla Mobility in 2011, their debut of Glass this past summer and a series of acquisitions of robotics companies this past year, Google has positioned itself as a well-rounded tech company with many great new opportunities and industries to further explore!
To learn more about Boston Dynamics: Check out their website here: www.bostondynamics.com