SCIENTISTS have predicted a robot revolution could be upon us in the near future. The revolution could see DIY devices being built for a diverse range of functions, according to a few American scientists. The IKEA-esque robots could be as easy to assemble as a flat-pack table…
“Our goal is to develop technology that enables anyone to manufacture their own customised robot,” said Professor Vijay Kumar, one of the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania. “This is truly a game-changer.”
The Associated Press reported that the key to the process is 3-D printing, the automated manufacture of plastic and metal machine components from a set of instructions. Scientists hope to create a platform that will enable people to choose from a “library” of robot designs.
Once a particular problem is identified, the householder would choose from a selection of robot blueprints. The programme would allow a fully functioning customised robot to be assembled and ready for action within 24 hours.
“It’s really exciting to think about the kind of impact this work could have on the general population, beyond just a few select people who work in robotics,” said Dr Wojciech Matusik from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).
Team leader Professor Daniela Rus, also from CSAIL, said: “This research envisions a whole new way of thinking about the design and manufacturing of robots, and could have a profound impact on society. We believe that it has the potential to transform manufacturing and to democratise access to robots.”
The new technology would fully automate production, allowing individuals to build functioning robots from materials as easily accessible as a sheet of paper. A 10 million dollar (£6.25 million) grant from the US National Science Foundation is funding the five-year project.