Consumer robots to follow PC model for growth
There's an interesting story over at EE Times explaining how Japanese companies intend to spark growth in the robot industry with cheap, interoperable, readily-available components:
“The PC industry grew thanks to abundant, inexpensive, high-performance components,” said Takayuki Furuta, group leader of the symbiotic-intelligence group at Kitano, an advanced-technology project of the Japan Science and Technology Corp. “If sensors and actuators suitable for robots are available, it should be easy to build robots,” putting robotics on a PC-like growth curve, he said.
Of course, it's unlikely that robots will be anywhere near as prevalent as PCs for a long, long time. However, making parts cheap and interoperable will definitely benefit hobbyists and enthusiasts, and also encourage innovation because tinkerers won't be tied to a specific platform or design.