Alphabet sells robotics company Boston Dynamics

Posted on June 12, 2017

 

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has recently announced it has sold engineering and robotics company Boston Dynamics.

Boston Dynamics produced a number of robotic animals and is perhaps more famously known for the creation of Spot, a robot that looks like a dog, and the six-foot humanoid Atlas. These robots were sent into the limelight thanks to a series of videos on YouTube:

The initial reaction was amazement and shock at how advanced the creations were but, ultimately, the robots were deemed to be unmarketable products. Boston Dynamics was initially put up for sale by Alphabet last year.

The sale of Boston Dynamics was confirmed at the end of last week, with the acquisition being made by Japanese tech firm, SoftBank, which will also be purchasing another Japanese company that produces bipedal robots, Schaft. The latter company was one of the driving forces in the robotics industry, focusing on bipedal robots, and was also purchased by Google back in 2013. However, after the acquisition, the company went quiet.

The details of the Boston Dynamics deal were not disclosed but it is expected that it is worth more than $100m (£79m).

Last year, SoftBank bought ARM Holdings, a British company that manufactures microchips and has recently developed a technology fund in London worth $93bn (£72.79bn). As a result of these acquisitions, the Japanese tech giant is gaining a reputation for its outlandish and bizarre moves and visions for long-term projects.

Once Google had been restructured under the Alphabet conglomerate back in 2015, a number of individual companies and projects came under an increasing amount of pressure to prove they could survive as independent entities. Its robotics departments then chose to focus on artificial intelligence and driverless cars.

Boston Dynamics was originally a product of MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and produced a number of interesting and impressive robots. Videos such as the one below demonstrated that these creations could complete a number of household chores amongst other tasks:

Marc Reibert, the chief executive of Boston Dynamics, welcomed the move, stating that the company was looking forward to starting a new chapter under SoftBank. Reibert continued to confirm that the firm is excited to get started on some of the bold visions held by the Japanese company and hopes that the work that the two parties achieve will help the technology to advance and to provide a benefit to humanity.

Alan Littler

Account Executive at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Account Executive.

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