Heartland Robotics, a company founded by Rodney Brooks (founder and former Chief Technological Officer at iRobot, and MIT professor) is developing what should constitute a true robolution. Their main objective is to change the way we currently view robots by making them ubiquitous.
As of now, robots can be seen to be large, extremely expensive, and slow. This is akin to mainframes from the early days of computers, where there was on central computer in a university or government building that was used mainly to do long computations for research purposes and was used only by highly qualified personnel. This same situation applies to robots such as the HRP-4 , the PR2, or even the Nao nowadays. They are expensive (about 400 000$, 300 000$, and 16 000 $ respectively) to everyday users, and they are intended for research.
On the other hand, modern PCs are widely available to everyone, are robust, and can be used to perform common everyday tasks. Heartland is working on producing the PC of robotics, i.e. a robot that would be more affordable and capable to interact with humans and perform useful tasks safely. The price-tag of such a machine would be 5000 $. This robot is intended to revolutionize industrial robots and bring robotics to the masses.
So far, Heartland has secured massive amounts of investment (~25 M$), so it should not be too long until we see some interesting results.
For those curious about the Rodney Brooks, his views on robotics, and the future of robots in general, the following TED talk will certainly be interesting.
Via Singularity Hub.