Killer robots: Another moonshot for Google's Andy Rubin

Wrong Sarah Connor

Not that Sarah Connor, you fool.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is on a robot buying spree. And nobody knows why. Amid worries of Skynet, there's also talk of elder care and nuclear cleanup. Whatever the company's plans, we'd better get used to this new reality.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers speculate to acclimate.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.


Sharon Gaudin is the metaphor mistress:

When it wants something, Google doesn't just stick its toe in the water. No, it simply dives in head first. ... Now, Boston Dynamics, which works with industry as well as the U.S. military, will be part of Google.


For several years now, Google has been working to develop autonomous cars. ... For the last six months, Google has been buying robotics companies in an effort to develop technology that can be used in its manufacturing operation. ... At first glance, this does seem like an odd purchase for Google, which is known for search, its...Android platform, the Chromebook and Maps.  MORE


John Markoff marks off a list of Boston's projects:

BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas have joined Google’s growing robot menagerie. ... Boston Dynamics [is] an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company [is] based in Waltham, Mass.


It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. ... 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. [It's] 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.  MORE


Mikael Angelo Francisco is no saint:

Founded in 1992 by Dr Marc Raibert, Boston Dynamics is best known for working in conjunction with the US military to develop agile, fast-moving robots. ... Atlas [is] a humanoid machine capable of operating on rocky terrain; Big Dog [is] a robotic quadruped that can lift and throw heavy objects; and Cheetah [is] a robot that can run faster than the world’s fastest man


The company is supplying DARPA with Atlas units for the agency’s Robotics Challenge, which aims to develop robots suited for operating in calamity-stricken areas and nuclear disaster zones. ... According to Rubin, this new top-secret robotics project is a “moonshot,” and would most likely be in its initial development stages for a few years. ... The search giant assured that it has no plans to become a military contractor.  MORE


And Scott Kirsner plays footsie:

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials [is] essentially the NFL Playoffs for the world’s most sophisticated robots — with a lot less hype and a lot more purpose. ... The challenge was radically improve the ability of robots to...assist with disaster scenarios like the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion or the Fukushima reactor meltdown.


Watching the MIT team conduct some final test runs last week, it quickly became apparent just how difficult it is for robots to...move around in environments built for humans. ... After the first failed attempt, Atlas [opened and walked] through [a door] — after about 10 minutes of painstakingly slow maneuvering.  MORE


Meanwhile, Kinmun Lee is one of many to make this "important," "cultural" reference:

Google now owns a company that can make a robot army. Someone call Sarah Connor.  MORE

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