back to article Alphabet gives bipedal robots the Schaft 'cos no one wants to buy its creepy machine maker

Google's parent company Alphabet has closed down its biped robot maker Schaft after failing to find a buyer. Even the singularity-obsessed panic buyer SoftBank, which had made a commitment to buy the company last year, wasn't interested. Talks broke down, Nikkei reported this week. Schaft was a spinout from the University of …

  1. macjules Silver badge
    Devil

    all tasks likely to be beyond the capability of a Google executive

    How did it do in the sexual harassment, lewd comment making or gender discrimination tests?

  2. caffeine addict Silver badge

    Re: all tasks likely to be beyond the capability of a Google executive

    Aaaand now I'm imagining Boston Dynamics trying to make a sex robot...

    Time to go find beer.

  3. Glen 1 Bronze badge

    Re: all tasks likely to be beyond the capability of a Google executive

    Re: sex robot

    It will probably be

    a) terrifyingly good

    b) how massive Boston dynamic becomes profitable and eventually outgrows apple

  4. Semtex451 Silver badge

    "Few mainstream journalists are able to make that distinction", or any other technology related distinction

    IMHO

    AI anyone?

  5. Vector
    Terminator

    It does seem El Reg is quite keen to welcome our Robot Overlords™

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Reg has been under the control of The Overmind for some time now...

  7. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

    "It does seem El Reg is quite keen to welcome our Robot Overlords™"

    I dunno, we've run a lot of skeptical stuff. The acceleration hardware and libraries popping up are interesting, and some NN applications, too, in that new algorithms are interesting.

    Whether or not AI is a good idea in the real world long-term isn't clear. I get the feeling no one gets VC funding for saying they use "heuristics" these days.

    C.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    >> Rubin acquired seven robotics companies including Boston Dynamics

    So one of the seven companies is being closed down? I wonder what the other six are secretly doing? We probably won't know until an army of armed Google Assault Bots suddenly appears on the streets.

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    Boston Dynamics was sold off. Google/Alphabet really doesn't seem to be interested in the war machine stuff. Presumably it's taken the IP it wants for Waymo and other bets.

  10. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    More than one. If memory serves me right they regurgitated Boston Dynamics recently.

  11. Chris G Silver badge

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    "Google Assault Bots" GAB for short, " Disable that Ad Blocker immediately!"

    "You have 5 seconds to comply!"

  12. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    "Google Assault Bots" GAB for short, " Disable that Ad Blocker immediately!"

    As long as there are stairs in the building that should not be an issue.

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    Google hates outside code, outside programing languages, and outside libraries. Most acquisitions are doomed to failure because Google is using an ancient mainframe and mega-OS style of development. Outside projects can have a 10x to 100x increase in coding effort when coming into Google, or might not even be possible due to having execution timing constraints.

  14. DougS Silver badge

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    As long as there are stairs in the building that should not be an issue.

    You're thinking of Daleks. They will have gotten stair climbing ability from Boston Dynamics if they didn't sell it too soon.

    Google doesn't want Daleks, the eyeballs that give them almost all their revenue need to be attached to living beings that haven't been exterminated for advertisers to pay for the ad impressions. For now, at least.

  15. Orv Silver badge

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    I think they're thinking of the ED-209, which demonstrated an inability to successfully negotiate stairs in Robocop.

  16. JimBob42

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    Daleks can fly. It's canon.

  17. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Flame

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    "Daleks can fly. It's canon."

    Yeah, Daleks are shaped to be loaded into a cannon. Like the fuse. And off they fly.

  18. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    Google hates outside code, outside programing languages, and outside libraries.

    No it doesn't. It engages constructively in lots of different projects and actively supports others. It does have some odd development practices that seem to stem from people moving rapidly between projects and also from the shear scale of some deployments. I personally am flabbergasted that they didn't crash their data centres and network with all the transcoding they do for YouTube due to the world and dog insisting on 4K cat videos!

    It does develop, acquire and abandon quite a lot of projects but this is within its role as investor. It seems to keep the useful stuff and role it into other projects. Lots of companies do this but generally seem to acquire and then shutdown potential competitors (Oracle, SAP, et al).

  19. Suricou Raven

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    Pedantically, canonically, some Daleks can fly. It depends upon the model of chassis, which in turn depends upon when they are encountered. Early model Daleks could not fly, but they revised their design to fix that flaw once their technology advanced sufficiently.

  20. Ken Shabby

    Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

    Elevate! Elevate!

  21. Triumphantape

    *cough*

    "Few mainstream journalists are able to make that distinction" To be fair "main stream journalist" are robots as well.

  22. trashsilo
    Alert

    Just the facts ma'am

    I imagine 'tethered, or human-controlled machines' could get a 'full automony' speed upgrade.

    Should they come up short against other full automony machines out there.

    A bit drugs in sport-esque, that Atlas parkour performance looked impressively enhanced...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018