image

Google’s robot adventures

Why did Google buy a military robot maker? Maybe it wants to build robots. Maybe it’s just looking for good new ideas. Giles Turnbull reports

 

Just before 2013 was drawing to its close, Google went shopping and bought itself a new company: Boston Dynamics (www.bostondynamics.com).

If you’ve not have heard of it, take a look at the company’s demo videos. You might find your eyes popping out of your head.

Boston Dynamics specialises in spookily lifelike robots. The best known is Big Dog, a huge quadruped capable of carrying heavy loads across rough terrain.

Big Dog’s cousin LS3 looks similar, but has learned some new tricks. Knock it on to one side and it will gracefully right itself and return to its feet. It’s designed to accompany infantry soldiers on patrol, and it’s more than a little terrifying.

The question everyone’s asking now though is: what’s in it for Google? What does a company that sells advertising on an internet search engine want with a military robot research team?

The answer, I think, is answers. Google has solved the web and knows about information. It needs to find new problems to solve.

And fortunately for Google, it’s one of those companies – like Amazon and Apple – that has time and money to sit and think about things like this.

Yes, it’s hard to see any connection to Google’s main line of business, but maybe there isn’t one. Maybe Google doesn’t need one.

A few years ago, Google’s experiments with online maps resulted in the spin-off team that’s now working on self-driving cars.

Don’t forget the company co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They’re classic technologists and tinkerers. They buy interesting companies and clever people simply because they can.

They’re investing in a future that none of them can foretell, and they just need to be ready for it when it comes.

The following two tabs change content below.
Hello ... I am the Creative Director and Website Editor for Silversurfers and manage all the social media too. I hope you find the features and articles we have shared with you of interest and relevance. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us ... I hope you enjoy Silversurfers and all that we offer ...

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!