On Friday, Google confirmed to The New York Times that it had acquired Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has previously designed robots for the Pentagon. It's the eighth robotics company Google has acquired in the last several months as part of its newest pet project.
But what does this mean for you? Part of you should be curious for what these two innovative companies can create together. Much of Boston Dynamics' work involves creating robots that will help soldiers at war or in disaster zones.
But, perhaps you should also be afraid. Be very afraid.
Because the robot apocalypse is coming.
Well, let us show you through some of the Boston Dynamics creations.
PETMAN, a humanoid robot built in 2011 for the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), is a monster. It can climb stairs, do push ups and crush human resistance. That last one isn't confirmed, but we wouldn't be surprised. PETMAN's primary purpose is to test chemical protection clothing, though Boston Dynamics has said the robot can go as far as simulating "human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating when necessary."
And if that wasn't creepy enough, they went and outfitted the robot in this. Here PETMAN is, marching endlessly into your nightmares:
Our robotic overlords need pets too. Enter Wildcat.
Galloping like a robodog out of a post-apocalyptic Petsmart, the relief for this DARPA project is that it can "only" sprint 16 miles per hour on its four legs. It's predecessor, known as the Cheetah, could sprint 28.3 miles per hour, but was tethered by a power cord.
Whether in the deserts of California or the snow of Boston, the LS3 is stomping around like it owns the place. And with good reason -- the LS3 is being groomed to be a huge help for Marines and soldiers on the go. Each LS3 can carry up to 400 pounds of supplies for troops on the move, with enough fuel for a 20-mile mission lasting 24 hours. And much like the Terminator's freaky-deeky infrared eyes, the LS3 can automatically follow a leader using computer vision or travel to a fixed location through GPS.
Added "hearing" technology could even allow human squad members to issue spoken commands such as "stop," "sit" or "come here," along with the ability to charge the laptops, tablets and radios of troops.
The LS3 is the latest version of the Big Dog, a Boston Dynamics creation that could toss cinderblocks:
And take a kick with the best of them. You can hear almost hear it mutter "ha, feeble human" here:
This sneaky little bastard. At only 11 pounds, it drives like an RC car across flat terrain, but can jump 30 feet in the air to overcome obstacles. It's on your roof and down your chimney before you even knew the bugger was outside.
And last but not least -- Atlas.
The "agile anthropomorphic robot" is 6-feet 2-inches tall and weighs 330-pounds. Equipped with 28 hydraulically actuated joints and two sets of hands, Atlas is capable of many natural human movements. The goal with Atlas is to build a humanoid which can navigate rough terrain, drive a car and help out with tasks that may be required in a disaster zone.
It can even take a hit from 20 pound wrecking ball (plus photoshopped Miley Cyrus):
So, there you have it. We might be doomed. I guess we're just going to have to...