Even though rumors are still flying around that Google’s parent company Alphabet is looking to offload Boston Dynamics, the company continues to show off new advancements in robotics. This time, Boston Dynamics is showing that it can go past just legs, showing off a new wheeled robot nicknamed ‘Handle.’
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Before former Android head Andy Rubin left Google, he headed up Google’s robotics efforts. In 2013, Google acquired numerous companies and added 300 robotics engineers. The crown jewel was Boston Dynamics, already known for their animal- and human-like robots. However, Bloomberg is now reporting that Alphabet is selling Boston Dynamics.
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robotics Stories April 22, 2015
Jonathan Rosenberg temporarily leading Google’s robotics division
Jonathan Rosenberg has been tapped to temporarily lead Google’s robotics division replacing James Kuffner, according to The Information.
The report cites sourcing claiming Kuffner’s appointment to replace Andy Rubin last year was never intended to be permanent with Rosenberg being the division’s next boss. CEO Larry Page is expected to continue searching for a permanent head of the robotics division in the meantime.
Android’s co-founder Rubin led the robotics division from late 2013 to late 2014. Rosenberg’s appointment now makes the third head of Google’s robotics team in less than two years. Subscribers can read the full report here.
robotics Stories March 27, 2015
Google has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson-owned Ethicon to help create more advanced robotics technology for surgical use, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The Mountain View tech giant hopes to tackle the software side of the issue by creating machine vision technology to help doctors more easily guide and control surgical equipment.
Google has been pushing further into the areas of medicine, health, and fitness in recent years, with entire divisions in its Google X lab focused on creating technology like nanobots that can detect cancer. The Glass project has also been integrated into some surgical procedures and other medical applications.
robotics Stories November 10, 2014
Google-owned robotics lab Boston Dynanics has debuted new video of its 6’2″ Atlas robot, also known as “Ian.” The hulking mass of metal, which weighs a whopping 330 lbs, has been programmed to recreate a key scene from the 1984 film The Karate Kid.
Ian is part of an ongoing robotics project that seeks to create automatons that can replace humans in hazardous roles like firefighting. Ian has already demonstrated a variety of abilities, including traversing difficult and uneven terrain, carrying objects such as firehoses, and even to get into a car and drive it. It can also use both its hands and feet to climb over the most treacherous obstacles.
robotics Stories February 11, 2014
Future iPhones could be built by Google robots on Foxconn production lines
The WSJ reports that Foxconn was looking for assistance in automating its production lines, while Google is aiming to introduce robots to manufacturing processes that have so far been largely manual – electronics assembly being a key example. It takes around 600 people to make each iPhone.
Foxconn has been working with former Android executive Andy Rubin since last year to carry out the U.S. company’s vision for robotics.
To speed up robot deployment at its own factories, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou met with Rubin in Taipei recently and they discussed new robotic technologies, they said.
At the meeting, Gou expressed excitement over new automation technologies demonstrated by Rubin, they said. Rubin also asked Gou to help integrate a technology company that Google is acquiring as Foxconn’s strength lies in mechanical engineering.
Google has acquired eight robotics companies over the course of the past year, and is believed to have ambitions to create a robotic operating system that would be to manufacturing what Android is to smartphones. Foxconn is looking to reduce operating costs and boost efficiency.
“Foxconn needs Google’s help to step up automation at its factories as the company has the lowest sales per employee among the contract makers, given its large workforce,” said Wanli Wang, an analyst at CIMB Securities.