Developments to watch: Google gallops into robotics

Google expansion in robotics closes the control loop, bringing integrated sensing and actuation to the logic based in Google algorithms and other Google-owned businesses.
By Mark T. Hoske February 12, 2014

Google acquisitions include robotics companies, according to Wikipedia’s Jan. 31, 2014, list of mergers and acquisitions by Google; an excerpt is shown. Courtesy: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Google/Google has purchased eight physical robotic companies (as opposed to software “bots”), according to various sources. The New York Times said in a Dec. 4, 2013, article that Andy Rubin, who built Android software for smartphones, is the engineer leading Google’s robotics efforts. Before Google’s self-driving car (essentially a robot), use of the word “robot” within Google generally referred to its crawler algorithms, software code that was anthropomorphized into the term “robot” presumably because the software traverses the Internet, doing analysis. With the purchase of eight robotics firms (perhaps most interesting, Boston Dynamics, with galloping, leaping, and crawling robots), Google advances in controlling the physical world, beyond software. After Internet-related software, facial and gesture recognition software, neural networks, mobile software, and Google Glass (glasses that contain a computer and Internet connection), Google continues to close the control loop with robotics. See related links below.

National Instruments (NI) demonstrated Google Glass, a prototype wearable computer (arguably a hands-free human-machine interface), at its NIWeek 2013 conference and exhibition. www.NIWeek.com Courtesy: CFE Media, Mark T. Hoske– Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

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Boston Dynamics has interesting video clips of mobile robotics under its robots pulldown menu.

The reported list of Google acquisitions is long.

The New York Times discusses Google robotics efforts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/04/technology/google-puts-money-on-robots-using-the-man-behind-android.html?_r=0

Control Engineering robotics page.