Softbank continues spending spree, grabbing smart robotics firm from Google

Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank continued its drive to take centre stage in the evolution of the tech industry with the acquisition of Boston Dynamics from Google/Alphabet.

Boston Dynamics has been a fairly high profile robotics pioneer in recent years, specialising in humanoid and quadrupedal machines apparently designed to mimic living things. Apart from providing cool YouTube videos such as the one below, it hasn’t been obvious what the point of these robots has been, so maybe SoftBank will add some focus and direction.

“Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities,” said Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son. “Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution, and Marc and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots. I am thrilled to welcome them to the SoftBank family and look forward to supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer and more fulfilling.”

“We at Boston Dynamics are excited to be part of SoftBank’s bold vision and its position creating the next technology revolution, and we share SoftBank’s belief that advances in technology should be for the benefit of humanity,” said Marc Raibert, CEO and founder of Boston Dynamics. “We look forward to working with SoftBank in our mission to push the boundaries of what advanced robots can do and to create useful applications in a smarter and more connected world.”

Quite what those useful applications will be remains to be seen. Through the acquisitions of companies like ARM and the establishment of a massive technology investment fund SoftBank is trying to put the pieces in place to create some seriously disruptive technology. IoT and more generally the business of technology is a core focus and the potential of connected, smart robots is almost limitless. Just don’t mention the Terminator.

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