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Boston Dynamics

It is unclear if Masayoshi Son, Chairman of Softbank, was one of the 17 million YouTube viewers of Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog before acquiring the company for an undisclosed amount this past Thursday. What is clear is the acquisition of Boston Dynamics by Softbank is a big deal. Softbank’s humanoid robot Pepper is trading up her dainty wheels for a pair of sturdy legs.

Spotmini by Boston Dynamics. Source: Boston Dynamics/YouTube

In a long-awaited transaction, The New York Times Dealbook announced that SoftBank was buying Boston Dynamics from Alphabet (Google). Also included in the deal is the Japanese startup Schaft. Acquisition details were not disclosed.

by   -   February 28, 2017
Credit: Boston Dynamics

Handle is a research robot standing 6.5 ft tall, travels at 9 mph and jumps 4 feet vertically. It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge. Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles found in the other quadruped and biped robots Boston Dynamics’ build, but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex. Wheels are efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs Handle can have the best of both worlds.

by   -   September 14, 2016
Source: DRCihmcRobotics
Source: DRCihmcRobotics

A video posted to YouTube last week shows Boston Dynamics’ humanoid robot Atlas balancing on one foot, while standing on a 2cm thick plywood edge.

Spotmini by Boston Dynamics. Source: Boston Dynamics/YouTube
Spotmini by Boston Dynamics. Source: Boston Dynamics/YouTube

SpotMini is a new smaller version of the Spot robot, weighing 55 lbs dripping wet (65 lbs if you include its arm.) SpotMini is all-electric (no hydraulics) and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing.

by   -   March 22, 2016

Big_dog_military_Boston_Dynamics

The maker of advanced humanoid and 4-legged robots (BigDog and Atlas), Boston Dynamics, is up for sale. According to the Financial Times, “this is one of those discordant moments that makes you question easy assumptions and the current state of Alphabet and of robots.”

vlcsnap-2015-02-10-01h48m52s164

Boston Dynamics just released a video of a new four legged robot named “Spot”.  It is an evolution along the lines of their previous four-legged robots like BigDog and Wildcat, but this one is much smaller and lighter (160lbs / 72.5kg). As usual not many details are known, but Spot is electrically powered (others had an internal combustion engine onboard) and has a prominent rotating LIDAR on top.

by   -   June 27, 2014

Teams of roboticists from around the globe will convene in Los Angeles for the third and final round of the DARPA Robotics Challenge on June 5th and 6th, 2015. For this phase, DARPA will be cutting the safety tethers, power cords, and network connections that previously assisted robots. The roster of participants has also changed, with Japan, Korea, and the EU electing to sponsor teams and Team SCHAFT, winners of the last phase, deciding to withdraw from the competition.

DAROA LS3 - Boston DynamicsDAROA LS3 - Boston Dynamics

When Google bought Boston Dynamics last December, the news made headlines, but it was not the first time the Internet giant has invested in DARPA-funded robotics. As part of Robohub’s Big Deals series, we asked Gill Pratt, Program Manager of DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, to shed some light on what DARPA thinks about Google’s robotics acquisitions , and what it might mean to the robotics and open source communities.

If the world outside the robotics community didn’t know about Boston Dynamics, Kiva and Nest, they do now. Recent robotics acquisitions and investments by major-league players like Google, Apple and Amazon have generated a blitz of headlines in the robotics world and beyond. Are we witnessing a power play in the making? What does it mean for the future of robotics? And is all the hype beneficial or harmful to the robotics community?

This month’s Robotics by Invitation will serve as a launch for Robohub’s newest focus series on how big time corporate attention effects the culture of robotics. In the coming weeks we will be bringing you insight from the likes of Steve Cousins, Dan Kara, Valery Komissarova, Avner LevinChad PartridgeGill Pratt, Erin Rapacki, Frank Tobe, and Rob Wilson.

Today, RBI panelists Mark Stephen Meadows, AJung Moon and Alan Winfield weigh in …

by   -   February 12, 2014

We have reasons to feel both excited and uneasy about giant corporations’ investment in robotics.

It’s exciting for the robotics community that the giants (Google, Apple, and Amazon) are actively investing in robotics.

by   -   December 14, 2013

AmazonGoogleApple

There is serious momentum in robotics these days, evidenced by recent news from Apple, Amazon and Google:

  • Apple announced that they were investing $10.5 billion in supply chain robots and automation equipment and recently confirmed their acquisition of PrimeSense for $350 million (PrimeSense is the developer of the Kinnect 3D system used by MS Xbox)..
  • Amazon, in a CBS 60 Minutes piece aired last Sunday, displayed a new concept delivery system using an octocopter. Remember that in 2012 Amazon spent $750 million to acquire Kiva Systems, the robot technology enabling robotically-delivered goods to a picker/packer.
  • And now Google has set up a robotics division headed by the man behind the Android operating system, Andy Rubin. In Rubin’s first six months he has acquired seven robotic companies to jump start his new operation.
  • UPDATE 12-14-13: Google confirms its eighth acquisition: Boston Dynamics. The new acquisition is an engineering company that specializes in building dynamic robots and software for human simulation. The acquisition adds 80+ technicians, engineers and scientists to the new Google Robots Division talent pool – plus a new location.

What does it all mean?



High-Performance Autonomous Vehicles
October 14, 2017


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