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Google acquires Boston Dynamics, the robot builder behind Big Dog and Cheetah

Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
December 14, 2013
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The New York Times reports tonight that Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, builder of terrifying walking robots DARPA-related projects like WildCat/Cheetah, Atlas, Petman and Big Dog. Andy Rubin has moved over from leading Android to directing Google's robotics efforts and tweeted a link to the story, commenting that "The future is looking awesome!" While we're sure it does -- if you always thought the T-1000 was just misunderstood -- reactions from meatbags are ranging from slightly uneasy to completely freaking out that a company with robots that go anywhere is teaming up with a company that seems to know everything about us.

There's no word on how much Google spent to snap up the robotics company, but its founder Marc Raibert is quoted by the Times saying "I am excited by Andy and Google's ability to think very, very big, with the resources to make it happen." When we interviewed Raibert during Expand earlier this year (included after the break) he specifically highlighted his company's recent growth and the possibility of building consumer-focused robots in the future.

Google apparently does not plan to proceed as a military contractor itself, although according to the article, Boston Dynamics will honor its existing military contracts. Raibert confirmed the acquisition to us, but so far neither side has commented further or explained how search ties into robots that walk on two or four legs, jump, climb and crawl. So, which one do you think will arrive first -- Amazon's flying drone delivery service or a Google Now robot that shows up at places it thinks you will be with a backpack full of things you've recently searched for?



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