The search engine outfit has bought seven different robot companies for a secretive new robotics initiative and placed Rubin at its head. Pundits had been wondering what was happening to Rubin after he walked away from his highly successful Android project. Now, it turns out that he wanted to make real robots and Google was happy to help him
Rubin has not made many details of the plan public yet. He told the New York Times the robot group is distinct from the Google X lab.
However, Rubin said that the new division which could even be spun off as a separate company is hiring roboticists for the project, which the Times reports will maintain offices in both Palo Alto and Japan.
He also did not say what sort of robots he wanted to build. Rubin is suggesting that Google’s creation might be able to move, reach, and grab things like a person. But it will likely be used in manufacturing rather than sold to people.
It is thought that this might be a way that the US might get back its production base, which moved to China. The idea is that you replace workers with robots and you do not have to shift production to off-shore, where it will probably be made by robots anyway.
China’s Foxconn, which produces many consumer electronics devices including Apple products, began replacing workers who had a nasty habit of throwing themselves off buildings rather than make another rounded rectangle.
A US firm, Baxter, is contemplating a $22,000 “co-working” robot designed to assist humans with basic assembly line tasks without risk of injury.
Rubin began as a robot engineer at lens manufacturer Carl Zeiss and had a brief stint at Apple as a manufacturing engineer before devoting his working hours to developing computers instead.
He apparently built his own robots in his spare time and amassed a collection of robots from Japan.
Apple workers used to call him Android because of his love of robots. He named his operating system Android and then proceeded to steal the market away from Apple, thus making their abuse, their tombstone.
Rubin said that he was lucky that he could turn his hobbies into a career.