Google is now the proud owner of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that specializes in building dynamic robots and software for human simulation. You may have seen some of Boston Dynamics' creations already, especially if you've spent any amount of time browsing YouTube videos -- a 2 minute demonstration of the company's WildCat robot has over 15 million views since being uploaded in the beginning of October.
The technology here is very cool. Boston Dynamics has a stable of robots that always seem to defy expectations. They have an incredible sense of balance and, in some cases, absurd speed, all the while staying upright even when they sometimes appear wobbly or looking like they might biff it.
Google's interest in the robotic world isn't anything new, though it's certainly heating up as of late. In fact, the whole robotic movement is hot right now. Earlier this month, Google talked about building humanoid robots capable of performing tasks such as manufacturing electronics, and just days before, Amazon announced its intention of one day using airborne delivery drones to deliver packages to "PrimeAir" members. At present, Amazon says it's using over 1,400 robots for warehouse fulfillment work during the holiday rush.
It's not clear how much Google paid for Boston Dynamics, though the company did say it will continue to honor current contracts, including a $10.8 million agreement to supply Darpa with a set of humanoid robots named Atlast to participate in the Darpa Robotics Challenge, The New York Times reports.
If you head over to the Boston Dynamics webpage, you can check out the company's various robots and see them in action. One of the videos (embedded above) shows the company's Cheetah robot running on a treadmill. Very cool.