As robotics continues to move from the theoretical to the applied, it’s pretty clear that demand for individuals with expertise in this field will burgeon in the years ahead.  The challenge is going to be getting enough people interested in the first place and then finding ways that will allow them to experiment with robotics affordably.

Enter MAKI, an emotive robot that can be constructed from 3D printed parts.  Created by HelloRobo, the idea is to provide people with access to files they can use to make their own robot using a 3D printer.

MAKI represents one of those rare instances where two emerging fields of science can bolster each other.  Demand for people with robotics skills is starting to take off.  The number of people with skills in robotics is relatively small.  New approaches to introducing the field can make a significant difference.

We may be a long way before robots move beyond highly specialized applications such as car manufacturing.  But, given the amount of investment pouring into robotics, it’s obviously a growth sector.

What’s not as apparent is how many of tomorrow’s brilliant robotics engineers might owe their future success to a 3D printer they set up in their basement.