Google Inc., the world's largest Internet search engine, has just acquired the Boston Dynamics Robotics Company. Part of Google's acquisition are several robots made by Boston Dynamics including Big Dog, a four-legged robot dog that can climb hills and Cheetah, a really fast robot that can outrun Usain Bolt, who is believed to be the fastest human today. Some of the robots made by Boston Dynamics were co-developed or funded by the U.S. military. In fact, several organizations worldwide have consulted with them regarding robots, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps and even Sony Corporation.
The acquisition of Boston Dynamics by Google Inc. will enhance Google's robotics division, which is currently led by Andy Rubin. Rubin used to head Android mobile operating system before being assigned in the robotics division of the company. Aside from Boston Dynamics, Google's new robotics division has reportedly acquired more than a half-dozen other robotics companies.
Google has confirmed the acquisition with ABC News on Dec. 16, 2013 but reportedly declined to comment on other details, including what their first projects will be. Meanwhile, Boston Dynamics has not commented on the reported acquisition. According to Business Times, a person familiar with the matter also confirmed the deal and said that Google will honor Boston Dynamics' military contracts.
The other robots included in Boston Dynamics' lineup, which are now owned by Google are the LS3 (rough-terrain robot), Atlas (Agile Anthropomorphic Robot), PETMAN (anthropomorphic robot designed for testing chemical protection clothing), SandFlea (11 pound robot that drives like a remote controlled (RC) car), RHex (six-legged robot with inherently high mobility), RiSE (a robot with micro-claws that climbs vertical terrain such as walls, trees and fences), LittleDog (quadruped robot designed for research on learning locomotion) and WildCat (a four-legged robot being developed to run fast on all types of terrain).
With Google finally acquiring the Boston Dynamics Robotics Company, speculations on what they plan to do with robots have swirled around. Is Google preparing for a future "Rise of the Machines" like in the famous "Terminator" films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger? Let's hope not. However, it still hasn't stopped people from worrying that Google will become the dreaded Skynet Corporation who was responsible for the war between humans and machines. The Twitter hashtag #skynet was even included by Twitter users in their posts about Google's acquiring Boston Dynamics. Check them out below.