- Google (GOOG) has acquired Boston Dynamics, a developer of advanced robots and related software for the U.S. military. The NYT observes Boston, whose robots rely on proprietary algorithms and sensor-based controls to handle movement, has "gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and ... run faster than the fastest humans."
- Boston's products include Atlas, a humanoid robot able to handle difficult terrain; Cheetah, declared by the company to be "the fastest legged robot in the world (top speed above 29 mph); and BigDog, a giant rough-terrain robot that can climb 35-degree slopes and has starred in a YouTube video that has received 15M+ views.
- Boston is Google's eighth 2013 robotics acquisition. The NYT recently reported a Google unit headed by ex-Android chief Andy Rubin is looking to create "a new generation of robots," and that the Web giant is eying manufacturing and retail robotics applications. Amazon is clearly showing an interest in the latter.
- Google's latest acquisition could end up having implications for iRobot (IRBT), which sold $33.7M worth of defense/security robots over the first nine months of 2013 (-39% Y/Y).