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Google reveals its 'X' lab considered building a jetpack

post #1 of 63
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While the world awaits new products in new categories in development from Apple, Google has offered a glimpse into its own secretive "X" lab, revealing that it considered creating a user-safe jetpack before scrapping the concept.


Sean Connery as James Bond donning a jetpack in "Thunderball."


Unannounced or scrapped projects considered and developed under secrecy at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters almost never see the light of day. But Google X head Astro Teller doesn't have that same extreme secrecy policy, as he revealed some of his department's past projects in a talk at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York on Tuesday, according to CNet.
Google X is the company's skunkworks division, focused on ambitious or strange concepts that may never see the light of day.
As home to some of the company's most ambitious --?and sometimes strangest -- potential products, Google X is most famously the birthplace for Glass, Google's developer-only head-mounted display accessory.

But in its early days, the Google X lab considered building a user-safe jetpack, Teller revealed. The hope was to build a wearable personal traveling device that "wasn't a death trap."

The project was eventually scrapped because of power inefficiency. According to Teller, such a device would also be "loud as a motorcycle."

The Google X head revealed that the labs reject "easily" 100 proposed concepts every year. Google's "X" division is focused on making technology more personal and useful.

Google's candor stands in stark contrast to Apple's legendary secrecy. Late company co-founder Steve Jobs once proclaimed that he was just as proud of products that Apple considered but never shipped as he was of devices that were actually made available to consumers.

iPad Prototypes
Prototype iPad designs with kickstand.


A rare glimpse into Apple's labs did come about as a result of the company's patent infringement litigation with rival Samsung. Pictures of early, unreleased iPhone and iPad prototypes were shown in court documents in an effort to prove that Apple toyed with many potential designs before settling on the final look of its popular portable devices.

In particular, early iPad prototypes included a dedicated kickstand that would allow the tablet to be propped up for use.

Though Apple has never publicly shown interest in anything quite as outlandish as a jetpack, some of the company's pie-in-the-sky concepts have been revealed over the years through patent filings. Among those were a pair of smart shoes that would notify a user when they need replacing, a dynamic touchscreen with an articulating frame that could provide users tactile feedback when typing, and a solar-powered MacBook with touch-sensitive surfaces all over its exterior.
post #2 of 63

Big deal, I considered making a cold fusion reactor before I scrapped the idea.

 

This is news now?

 

Really?

 

This just reeks of desperation by Google. Seriously, "Look at us. We considered building a jet pack. Isn't that cool! Google is cool and cutting edge. I mean, we considered making a JET PACK! We didn't actually make it, but we considered it. How awesome is that?!"

post #3 of 63

A jetpack.

 

 

Look, Google, let’s compromise. You get out of the software business entirely and focus on the self-driving cars and I’ll stop hating every single thing you do on principle. Because, hey, you can store every inch of my driving history but good luck selling that personal information to anyone and whoring me out to ads!

 

Oh, and do your fiber, too. Bankrupt ISPs, or at least force them to update their own hardware to compete. We know you’re in bed with the government right now, but that isn’t going to last much longer anyway.

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #4 of 63
I see a company desperately trying to explode in a million different directions in an attempt to find markets to dominate because they realize their core business will not last for much longer once AI advances enough to sidestep searches entirely. Information will simply be served up for people in a prepared form. Far less interaction with a visible search engine, far less display advertising.

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post #5 of 63

Nice to see Google contributing ZERO.  Google's like a kid with ADHD.  So incredibly distracted and can't do one thing for more than five minutes.  

post #6 of 63
When a company start wasting money like that without focus, it wouldn't last too long
post #7 of 63
This is a clear indication of two glaringly obvious facts:

1. Google is making tons of money from all those ads.

2. Google has no idea what to do with the tons of money they make from all those ads.

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post #8 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I see a company desperately trying to explode in a million different directions in an attempt to find markets to dominate because they realize their core business will not last for much longer once AI advances enough to sidestep searches entirely. Information will simply be served up for people in a prepared form. Far less interaction with a visible search engine, far less display advertising.


Although Google X lab projects do indeed seem scattered all over the place it does allow for your employees to think out of the box, that surely can't be a bad thing. With regards to where Google is going in the future, because you're right Google's core business isn't sustainable in the long run, their recent acquisitions give a clear indication of what it is planning on doing. With the acquisition of Schaft, Industrial Perception, Redwood Robotics, Holomini, Meka Robotics, Bot & Dolly (robotics for the movie industry), DeepMind Technologies (specialized in AI) and of course Boston Dynamics it's pretty clear that Google is gambling big on the robotics industry for their future.

post #9 of 63
Google was certain they could perfect the jetpack, it was an inability to incorporate skywriting ads into the design that led to its ultimate demise¡
Edited by SolipsismX - 5/6/14 at 1:14pm

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post #10 of 63
Anything involving sharks? Or death rays?
post #11 of 63

So, more Google Moonshot's of no profit value, but it seems to work for Wall Street.

post #12 of 63
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
Google was certain they could perfect the jetpack, it was an inability to incorporate skywriting ads into the design that led to its ultimate demise¡


OH! Hey, there’s an idea for them. They should work on perfecting this technology. Colored clouds for daytime, bioluminescent clouds for night…

 

‘Eat At Joe’s’ flies by… It’s just like the ‘40s.

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipsy View Post
 


Although Google X lab projects do indeed seem scattered all over the place it does allow for your employees to think out of the box, that surely can't be a bad thing. With regards to where Google is going in the future, because you're right Google's core business isn't sustainable in the long run, their recent acquisitions give a clear indication of what it is planning on doing. With the acquisition of Schaft, Industrial Perception, Redwood Robotics, Holomini, Meka Robotics, Bot & Dolly (robotics for the movie industry), DeepMind Technologies (specialized in AI) and of course Boston Dynamics it's pretty clear that Google is gambling big on the robotics industry for their future.

 

They are investing heavily in the robotics because of Ray Kurzweil.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictions_made_by_Ray_Kurzweil

 

http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy_pr.html

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post #14 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 


OH! Hey, there’s an idea for them. They should work on perfecting this technology. Colored clouds for daytime, bioluminescent clouds for night…

 

‘Eat At Joe’s’ flies by… It’s just like the ‘40s.

 

:lol: :lol: :lol: 

 

The new cloud computing platform.

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post #15 of 63

I can see all the Google investors right now shooting a big THUMBS UP and saying "Good job, Google, that's the way to use our money!"

 

Jetpacks, robots, and self driving cars, oh my!

post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While the world awaits new products in new categories in development from Apple, Google has offered a glimpse into its own secretive "X" lab, revealing that it considered creating a user-safe jetpack before scrapping the concept.
[...]
The Google X head revealed that the labs reject "easily" 100 proposed concepts every year. Google's "X" division is focused on making technology more personal and useful.
 

I considered building a jetpack almost 50 years ago--decades before Google's founders were even a gleam in their parents' eyes. And I reject thousands of ideas every year. Just last night I decided to forego another beer.

 

Anybody care to invest a few billion $ in my personal innovation factory?

/s

post #17 of 63
Google does not look at their income as earnings from creating something of value.

Ergo, to them, it's just "free" money!

No wonder they waste so much! 1smile.gif
post #18 of 63

Actually a friend of mine son is interviewing there soon and he has background in the US space program and it appears Google plans to get into the space race. Not sure how this makes shareholder money. Maybe they plan to advertise in space in the coming years.

 

I know everyone complained about Apple's hoard of cash and they should do something with it or return it to investor. Google thinks that they should waste money on idea which they know will not see the light of day then actually smartly re-invest or return it to investors. At some point Google is going to run out of this cash and wonder when happen to it all.


Edited by Maestro64 - 5/6/14 at 2:15pm
post #19 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

Actually a friend of mine son is interviewing there soon and he has background in the US space program and it appears Google plans to get into the space race. Not sure how this makes shareholder money. Maybe they plan to advertise in space in the coming years.

Nothing complicated about it... the Google executive team is simply spacey.

post #20 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

Actually a friend of mine son is interviewing there soon and he has background in the US space program and it appears Google plans to get into the space race. Not sure how this makes shareholder money. Maybe they plan to advertise in space in the coming years.

 

Probably want to have their own satellites as a backup to land-based Internet... y'know, for the kids.

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post #21 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

A jetpack.

 

 

Look, Google, let’s compromise. You get out of the software business entirely and focus on the self-driving cars and I’ll stop hating every single thing you do on principle. Because, hey, you can store every inch of my driving history but good luck selling that personal information to anyone and whoring me out to ads!

 

Oh, and do your fiber, too. Bankrupt ISPs, or at least force them to update their own hardware to compete. We know you’re in bed with the government right now, but that isn’t going to last much longer anyway.

I'll still hate them for that too. What a preposterous idea. Operating an automobile is an achievement of human motor skills. It requires physical skill, rational thinking, courtesy, attention to detail, and general respect for powerful machinery and transportation. It is an important part of people's lives to learn how to safely operate a vehicle. Fast forward in time to where cars are self driving and people learn nothing....just further degrading the sensibility of the human race.

 

Technology is not the answer. It never is. Education is the answer and always will be.

post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Anything involving sharks? Or death rays?

Sharks with death rays?

How can investors be happy with this waste of money?
post #23 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

 

They are investing heavily in the robotics because of Ray Kurzweil.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictions_made_by_Ray_Kurzweil

 

http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy_pr.html


Indeed he probably played a big role in driving Google into that direction. The robotics industry is also expected to dramatically increase in size over the next decade or so, so there definitely seem to be opportunities in that industry.

post #24 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipsy View Post
 


Indeed he probably played a big role in driving Google into that direction. The robotics industry is also expected to dramatically increase in size over the next decade or so, so there definitely seem to be opportunities in that industry.

 

Say hello to my little Google Army.™

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post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

 

Say hello to my little Google Army.™


Sounds a bit scary doesn't it? :) But it's definitely something I would like to see Google do, evolving from an advertising company to a company that focuses more on hardware. Curious how that all will turn out :).

post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

 

They are investing heavily in the robotics because of Ray Kurzweil.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictions_made_by_Ray_Kurzweil

 

http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy_pr.html

Not sure if I should be excited or depressed by these predictions, but thanks for the link :)

post #27 of 63
And in related news, Samsung announces their new Jetpack. It's completely different.
post #28 of 63
Sergey: You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have jet packs with frickin' beer dispensers mounted in the handles. Now evidently my hoarse-voiced colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?

Larry: Self-driving cars.

Sergey: [pause] Right.

Larry: They're actually driven by robots.

Sergey: Are they poorly programmed robots?

Larry: Absolutely.

Sergey: Oh well, that's a start.
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post #29 of 63

I think smoking weed at Google's Headquarters is allowed, i mean seriously a JET PACK? were did they get that idea, was it GTA SA? someone out there is clearly on crack

 

 

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post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

And in related news, Samsung announces their new Jetpack. It's completely different.

lol!, made out of plastic 

 

 

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post #31 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMember View Post

lol!, made out of plastic 

That's still better than Icarus' idea of using wax. lol.gif
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post #32 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMember View Post
 

I think smoking weed at Google's Headquarters is allowed, i mean seriously a JET PACK? were did they get that idea, was it GTA SA? someone out there is clearly on crack

Probably at Burning Man. At Google, you're a zero unless you've attended a Burning Man.

post #33 of 63
They have to show candor and talk about all the cool things they do... because they so rarely stick with it and keep any projects alive. They are a blue sky company.
post #34 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post
 

Not sure if I should be excited or depressed by these predictions, but thanks for the link :)

 

Kurzweil is well worth studying because he has both the academic and real-world credentials to back up his theories and timeline. Keep in mind the year 2045 and the term, the "Singularity."

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post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Anything involving sharks? Or death rays?

Perhaps sharks with lasers attached to their heads?

post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Anything involving sharks? Or death rays?

A table with straps and a big cutting laser above it that slowly cuts the table in half. This has only one practical use.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #37 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

A table with straps and a big cutting laser above it that slowly cuts the table in half. This has only one practical use.

"Do you expect me to talk?"
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



iPad Prototypes
Prototype iPad designs with kickstand.


In particular, early iPad prototypes included a dedicated kickstand that would allow the tablet to be propped up for use.

It is telling that Apple's rejected kickstand looks better then the one Uncle Fester signed off on...
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #39 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

A table with straps and a big cutting laser above it that slowly cuts the table in half. This has only one practical use.

(Tim Cook strapped to a table of an unknown material while a giant laser starts cutting down the center from the base end by his feet.)

ERIC SCHMIDT
This is vaporware suspended in bullshit, Mr. Cook. All my life I've been in love with its lack of ethics, its inability to be verified, and its propensity to over excite the myopic geek. I welcome any enterprise that will increase my stock, which is considerable.

TIM COOK
I think you've made your point, Eric. Thank you for the demonstration.

ERIC SCHMIDT
Choose your next witticism carefully, Mr. Cook, it may be your last. The purpose of me being on Apple's board should now be very clear to you but I do not expect you to let me back on the board.

TIM COOK
Do you expect me to talk about our future products, Eric?

ERIC SCHMIDT
No, Mr. Cook, I expect you to lie.

TIM COOK
Never! Apple will never behave like Google.


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1TmeBd9338
Edited by SolipsismX - 5/6/14 at 11:21pm

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post #40 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

"Do you expect me to talk?"

 

"No, I expect you to escape this unnecessarily slow murder contraption!"

Why else would the laser start at one end of the table?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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