Developments to watch: Google gallops into robotics
Google expansion in robotics closes the control loop, bringing integrated sensing and actuation to the logic based in Google algorithms and other Google-owned businesses.
Google has purchased eight physical robotic companies (as opposed to software “bots”), according to various sources. The New York Times said in a Dec. 4, 2013, article that Andy Rubin, who built Android software for smartphones, is the engineer leading Google’s robotics efforts. Before Google’s self-driving car (essentially a robot), use of the word “robot” within Google generally referred to its crawler algorithms, software code that was anthropomorphized into the term “robot” presumably because the software traverses the Internet, doing analysis. With the purchase of eight robotics firms (perhaps most interesting, Boston Dynamics, with galloping, leaping, and crawling robots), Google advances in controlling the physical world, beyond software. After Internet-related software, facial and gesture recognition software, neural networks, mobile software, and Google Glass (glasses that contain a computer and Internet connection), Google continues to close the control loop with robotics. See related links below.
- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, email@example.com.
Boston Dynamics has interesting video clips of mobile robotics under its robots pulldown menu.
The reported list of Google acquisitions is long.
The New York Times discusses Google robotics efforts.
Control Engineering robotics page.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.