It currently takes years to produce, program and design a functioning robot, and is an extremely expensive process, involving hardware and software design, machine learning and vision, and advanced programming techniques. The new project would automate the process of producing functional 3-D devices and allow individuals to design and build functional robots from materials as easily accessible as a sheet of paper.
“Our vision is to develop an end-to-end process; specifically, a compiler for building physical machines that starts with a high level of specification of function, and delivers a programmable machine for that function using simple printing processes,” said Rus.
"This research revolutionizes the design and manufacturing of robots, with a profound potential impact on society," says Ralph Wachter, a program director in the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. "It would remove barriers to manufacturing robots, making it possible for average citizens to customize and manufacture their own robots to meet their needs. This opens the door to great possibilities."