Google buys Boston Dynamics, maker of spectacular and terrifying robots Google has acquired robotics engineering company Boston Dynamics, best known for its line of quadrupeds with funny gaits and often mind-blowing capabilities. Products that the firm has demonstrated in recent years include BigDog, a motorized robot that can handle ice and snow, the 29 mile-per-hour Cheetah, and an eerily convincing humanoid known as PETMAN. News of the deal was reported on Friday by The New York Times, which says that the Massachusetts-based company's role in future Google projects is currently unclear. Makers of the BigDog robot Specific details about the price and terms of the deal are currently unknown, though Google told the NYT that existing contracts — including a $10.8 million contract inked earlier this year with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — would be honored. Despite the DARPA deal, Google says it doesn't plan to become a military contractor "on its own," according to the Times.
Innovators Under 35 Three decades ago, the availability of many versions of DOS helped spark the boom in personal computers. Today, Robot Operating System, or ROS, is poised to do the same for robots. Morgan Quigley programmed the first iteration of what grew into ROS as a graduate student in 2006, and today his open-source code is redefining the practical limits of robotics. Since version 1.0 was released in 2010, ROS has become the de facto standard in robotics software. 159,000 Number of industrial robots sold in 2012 Google Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup DeepMind For More Than $500M Google will buy London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind. The Information reports that the acquisition price was more than $500 million, and that Facebook was also in talks to buy the startup late last year. DeepMind confirmed the acquisition to us, but couldn’t disclose deal terms. The acquisition was originally confirmed by Google to Re/code. Google’s hiring of DeepMind will help it compete against other major tech companies as they all try to gain business advantages by focusing on deep learning.
Innovator Under 35: Pieter Abbeel, 33 Instead of programming robots to handle each step of a new job, Pieter Abbeel, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley, has created robots that can observe humans demonstrating a task and then mimic them, or learn from pictures how to handle a piece of flexible material they've never seen before. His robots have learned to perform flying acrobatics, tie surgical sutures, and neatly sort socks. Abbeel's key innovation was to program the robots so that they can reliably infer the underlying intent of their instructors, filtering out the "noise"—irrelevant variations, or even slight mistakes, in the instructors' demonstrations.
Google to acquire connected home device maker Nest for $3.2B Google announced on Monday that it’s in the process of acquiring Nest Labs, a home-automation company known for its digital thermostats and smoke alarms. The proposed purchase for $3.2 billion, which is to close in coming months, will give the Silicon Valley giant one of the hottest names in energy-management technology and product design, and comes at a time when Google is also expanding its presence in robotics, energy and internet-of-things (IoT) technology. The search giant announced the news in a blog post: Nest’s mission is to reinvent unloved but important devices in the home such as thermostats and smoke alarms.
Scientific Blogging: programmable sheet self-folds into a boat- and into a plane-shape. Sign In | Support | Create Your Own Channel programmable sheet self-folds into a boat- and into a plane-shape. About this Video Google purchases Nest for $3.2 billion Google has just purchased Nest Labs, the maker of the Nest Learning Thermostat and Protect smoke detector, for $3.2 billion in cash. According to a Google press release, Nest will continue to operate independently, co-founder and CEO Tony Fadell tells us; co-founder Matt Rogers will also make the move to Google. While the transaction is subject to the usual regulatory review, Google says it expects the sale to close within the next few months. Google Ventures had already invested tens of millions of dollars in Nest, so the company has been on Mountain View's radar for some time now. It's not yet clear exactly how Google plans to use Nest, but the company obviously sees it as an important part of its future. A combination of Nest's home solutions coupled with Google's language recognition could give Google its strongest path yet into your home.
superfast rock-paper-scissors robot wins every game it plays nov 05, 2013 superfast rock-paper-scissors robot wins every game it plays superfast rock-paper-scissors robot wins every game it playsall images courtesy of ishikawa oku laboratory take a look at the video below to see the mechanical hand win every game of rock-paper-scissors it plays against its human opponent: janken (rock-paper-scissors) robot with 100% winning rate: 2nd version video courtesy of ishikawa oku laboratory Meet the Man Google Hired to Make AI a Reality Geoff Hinton, the AI guru who now works for Google. Photo: Josh Valcarcel/WIRED Geoffrey Hinton was in high school when a friend convinced him that the brain worked like a hologram. To create one of those 3-D holographic images, you record how countless beams of light bounce off an object and then you store these little bits of information across a vast database.
Cleantech 100 case study: Liquid Robotics Oceans cover three quarters of the earth's surface yet remain mostly unexplored. Vast distances and harsh conditions make manned ocean exploration expensive and often hazardous. So why not get robots to do the job? Why Is Google Buying So Many Robot Startups? Via MIT technology Review Forget robotic product delivery. As usual for Google, I suspect it’s all about the data. Google-bot: The M1 Mobile Manipulator from Meka, one of several robot companies acquired recently by Google.
Google has built a neural network to identify 100 million house numbers for Streetview Updated @ 05:25 April 17: Four months after it first published this research (detailed in the story below), Google is now promoting this deep neural network as a win for both Street View and its Recaptcha product. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed since January — Google is just now framing it as “our neural network is so advanced that it can decrypt our captchas as well as a human,” rather than improving Street View’s ability to decrypt hard-to-read house signs. The software can decrypt the hardest type of Recaptcha captchas with 99.8% accuracy (which is a lot better than my own accuracy). Original story Pentagon Seeks Robotic Hand With Soft Touch - Government - Enterprise DARPA invests in technology to develop more human-like robotic hands; iRobot demonstration shows promise. Spy Tech: 10 CIA-Backed Investments (click image for larger view and for slideshow) The Department of Defense has demonstrated a robotic hand with finger movements that are closer to those of a human hand than the claw-like hands of earlier robots. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program released a video showing the prototype hand picking up a key, turning it in a door lock, and opening a door, among other tasks. The device was built by iRobot.