MIT has organized a US$10M grant to fund a new project that will attempt to "reinvent how robots are designed and produced".
They feel this could have a "profound impact on society", when one could "order" a special purpose robot on demand and very quickly receive it. They're trying to bypass the current methods of constructing robots, which essentially are custom-made each time. By componentizing the robot design and combining this with advanced 3D printing technology, it should be possible for people to create robots on demand very quickly. They say:
Researchers hope to create a platform that would allow an individual to identify a household problem that needs assistance; then head to a local printing store to select a blueprint, from a library of robotic designs; and then customize an easy-to-use robotic device that could solve the problem. Within 24 hours, the robot would be printed, assembled, fully programmed and ready for action.
And you wondered what you'd be making on your 3D printer.