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For sale: robot dogs, never used.
Boston Dynamics, the maker of humanoid and dog-shaped robots that rack of millions of views on YouTube, is apparently up for sale, according to a report from Bloomberg. Its current owner, SoftBank, is in talks to sell to Hyundai, which currently makes industrial robots.
Boston Dynamics was sold to SoftBank by Alphabet back in 2017 because of concerns that the 28-year-old company was not making any money and its giant robots were seen as "terrifying." Since then, the Japanese telco has attempted to push the Massachusetts bot-maker to find profitable uses for its machines. Its Spot dog-shaped robots went on sale for $74,500 earlier this summer, and there have been attempts to find uses for them during the pandemic, such as remote vitals-scanning machines and a social-distancing hall monitor.
Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.