Google is looking to sell robotics firm Boston Dynamics after concluding that it's unlikely to produce any marketable robot in the next few years, according to people familiar with the company who spoke to Bloomberg News. Boston Dynamics has become famous for its impressive (and impressively creepy) videos featuring it torturing its robotic creations with pushes, kicks, shoves and heavy weights, to demonstrate their versatility and reliability. Those creations include the quadrupedal "Big Dog" robotic mule, its lighter and quieter sibling "Spot" and the bipedal robot "Atlas". But the firm, which was acquired by Google in 2013, has failed to live up to the aspirations placed upon it. Its machines, which were largely created in response to military contracts, haven't been easy to adapt for potential commercial sale.
Atlas Shrugged may be the name of Ayn Rand's veritable doorstop of a novel, but no-one is shrugging indifferently when it comes to Boston Dynamic's amazing Atlas robot. For the past five years, Atlas has lived up to A.I. expert Gary Bradski's 2013 statement that "a new species, Robo sapiens, [is] emerging." Designed to carry out missions like search and rescue -- and far, far more -- the bipedal robot has remained on the front line of cutting edge robotics since its unveiling. Standing 6-foot-2-inches and tipping the scale at 330 pounds, the first-gen Atlas makes its public debut in mid-2013. Although Boston Dynamics is the name most associated with Atlas, it's not the only group which is part of its creation.
There's a new bot in town (Tokyo, specifically), and while it might not be as cute as Nao, as creepy as Spot and BigDog or as anthropomorphic as Atlas, it might be more practical than all of them. It walks on two legs, but not like a man, or even a bear. This one, designed by Alphabet-owned Schaft Inc., has its own uniquely robotic form of locomotion. A video then played showing robots like the one on stage, but different -- but all with a few things in common. Most important has to be the walking system.