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Is Google prepping an ARMY of WALKING ROBOTS?

Boston Dynamics, maker of Cheetah and WildCat bots, joins the Chocolate Factory

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Google has snapped up military robotics firm Boston Dynamics, famed for its animalistic creations including WildCat and Cheetah.

Boston Dynamics info video

In the last few years, the MIT-spinoff has developed a robot that can walk on ice and snow called BigDog, another four-legged machine capable of running at 29mph and known as the Cheetah, and a petrol-powered quadruped called WildCat (see video) that can run on different types of difficult terrain.

It's also had a hand in creating humanoid robots like the Atlas, which is the subject of the Robotics Challenge issued by government research agency DARPA, calling on different bodies to get the bot working fully for deployment in disaster scenarios, with a $2m prize pot.

Naturally, specific details about the deal like the price paid or the terms of the offer, are being kept firmly under wraps – although Google did tell the New York Times, which broke the news, that Boston Dynamics' current contracts, such as the one with DARPA, would be honoured.

The company is the eighth robotics firm the Chocolate Factory has taken into the fold this year, but it hasn't exactly been forthcoming about what it's planning to do with all that bot-expertise. The only hint about the Boston Dynamics deal came from Andy Rubin, who tweeted "The future is looking awesome!" along with a link to the NYT story on the acquisition.

Rubin, who used to run the Android division at Mountain View, revealed earlier this month that he was heading up Google's push into the robotics sector. ®

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