Browsing Posts tagged google

It's always interesting to watch the evolution of a new technological space. How the companies that have embraced and focused on that single idea are now blossoming into producing very viable products. I've been watching the development of AR and VR quite a bit and it's interesting to see how some of the larger tech' "power houses" (Google, Facebook, Microsoft) are now aligning themselves in preparation for it's potential mainstream adoption.

Microsoft was pretty quick to announce it's work on HoloLens and Facebook made a very public announcement of it's acquisition of Oculus VR.

Two other AR companies I've been really excited to see progression with are Meta's "Space Glasses" and Magic Leap. The later of which has recently been supported with huge investment and interest from Google and more recently rumor of potential backing from Alibaba.

I think there is a very strong consensus that, AR specifically, could replace and/or compliment traditional desktops and that larger tech' companies have been watching start ups from afar to see which one's offered the most promise and real-world application. There is a natural marriage between Google Glass and Magic Leap and with Google committed to the Enterprise with Google App's it makes sense that they would want to compete with Microsoft on AR turf.

In terms of investing, 3D printing demonstrated that new tech' should be approached with caution. Stratasys and Makerbot (and their subsequent merger) tried to exemplify that this technology has real applications and growth potential, but unfortunately that just isn't being realized at the minute. I do foresee a day when 3D printers will be as common in residential applications as inkjet and laser printers are today, but just not right now.

With AR though; I feel like something is different, that there is a huge driving force to realize this technology. Just as Military and Space Programs have traditionally been the main drivers of technological innovation I feel that, subjectively and with any opinion aside, online pornography will be a huge catalyst in propelling, specifically, VR technology mainstream.

AR could be totally transformative in how we use technology today. I'm pretty excited to see how this "space" plays out.

Microsoft started it back in 2007 with Windows Embedded Automotive, a Windows CE based operating system for cars. It now runs Ford's Sync', in-vehicle communications and entertainment.

This space is heating up though. With Google recently forming the Open Automotive Alliance in order to increase the range of it's Android operating system. Since June of last year, Apple has also been working on a version of it's own (iOS In The Car) that integrates with Siri. Today saw more previews and videos of what this might look like.

Apple Car Play in a Ferrari

I think the race is on to dominate the "in-car" market. Apple clearly got a head start in the Smart Phone sector, but this latest demographic is far more closely contested.

It all started rather innocuously when Regina Dugan, former director of DARPA, took an executive role at Google in March 2012 and now is now heading up "Special Projects" for the Motorala company, also owned by Google.

Then there followed the announcement that Andy Rubin, responsible for previously spear-heading Android development at Google, would, instead, now be heading up a newly created Google Robotics division based out of Palo Alto, CA.

Then there followed a spree of Robotic company acquisitions including Meka Robotics.

And; just this morning, news that Google has now acquired Boston Dynamics, an independent company known for creating advanced robotics for organizations world wide, but most famously for it's association with DARPA and more famously it's "BigDog" project.

It all begs the question. What is Google up to?

Rumors abound. Everything from being in bed with the government, creating the Terminator equivalent of Skynet to more humanitarian ideas like creating machines to operate in environments considered to hazardous for humans. Nuclear Reactor cleanup for example. Then there's a more natural collaboration with it's autonomous vehicle division, which kind of reminds me of the taxi driver "Johnny Cab" from Total Recall. Autonomous robots driving "driver-less" cars. Or maybe as servants for the wealthy, or providing health care to the elderly?

A few years ago this would have all sounded like complete science-fiction, something from a movie, but within the next decade this could easily be a reality. Google has acquired quite an arsenal of Robotics experience in the last six months which demonstrates a serious motive to dominate the future of robotics.

The only piece of the puzzle I cannot work out, is why is Regina Dugan working in the Motorola division of Google and not the robotics division? Maybe that's the future name of their robots? Motorola Robotics? Has quite a nice ring to it.

Update Jan, 2nd 2014: So tonight, whilest on a random internet surfing tangent, I figured I'd try the URL http://www.motorolarobotics.com. As I looked at the URL a bit more I wondered about an abbreviated version. Perhaps Moto(rola) Robots. Guess who owns motorobots.com