On May 30th and 31st, the 2009 Bay Area Maker Faire brought together scientists, engineers, and hobbyists of every type to one of the biggest DIY events in the world. Robotics, of course, has become a popular hobby among the DIY crowd, with technologies like the Arduino board enabling anyone to build their own little automaton. To discuss the robotics industry on a larger scale, Dr. Rodney Brooks gave a half hour talk to the Makers about changing demographics, Moore's Law, and American manufacturing, and what they all might mean for us robot geeks over the next 50 years.
Brooks is, of course, not only a well-known roboticist from MIT, but also the co-founder of a number of companies, most recently iRobot and Heartland Robotics. Heartland, as we discussed when it was announced, is tackling the problem of manufacturing robots. Brooks's Maker Faire talk does a nice job of outlining the challenge Heartland and other similar companies are facing.