We SHOULD be able to design and print our own robots at this stage!? Am I right, folks?!
MIT and other research universities obviously think I am.
A five-year project led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (though also including researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University) and funded though a $10 million National Science bgrant is developing a desktop technology which could potentially enable the average human to design, customize, and print their own robot, for a specific purpose, in hours.
The mind may boggle, but we’ll press on.
Professor Daniela Rus, the project head and a principal investigator at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, revealed that this research project has the goal of providing "a whole new way of thinking" about robot-making... the potential to transform manufacturing and to democratize access to robots... this is taking the app store to the next level."
‘An Expedition in Computing for Compiling Printable Programmable Machines’ aims is to automate the entire process, via creating a robot-crafting platform containig an end-to-end process. Rus hypothesised this may specifically involve "a compiler for building physical machines that starts with a high level of specification of function."
In the researchers' vision, a consumer might begin with a household problem in need of robo-assistance. A trip to the local printing store would involve the selection of a blueprint for specified robotic design. The consumer could then customize the design, utilize a 3-D printer to develop the components and then assemble the finished robot.
Just don’t expect to design yourself a household R2D2 in the immediate future....