Let's Get This Robot Revolution StartedSThere just aren't enough robots in the world. This is a lament just about every sci-fi fan can agree with. Sure, we've got robots in our factories and doing some cool work in the military, plus a few keeping our floors clean, but I want to interact with robots on a daily basis. I want to see robot butlers, robots directing traffic, robot security guards, robot nannies, robot taxi drivers. How can we jump start the robotics industry and make this happen? By getting off our asses and building some damn robots!Luckily, the path to robotopia has a map of sorts - the development and integration of computers into our lives. Bill Gates has said that the current state of robotics is similar to the earliest days of the computer industry, and he definitely has a point. Here are five main ways we can rapidly advance the state of robotics. 1. Make robots as cool as cars. The first computer enthusiasts were nerdy engineers. A few years ago, I overheard some guys talking to each other about their computers, and if you substituted "processor" with "crankshaft or "gigahertz" with "horsepower," they could have been a couple of gearheads bragging about their souped up street cars. We need to reach the point where every guy has a "project robot" he's working on out in the garage. 2. Open source robots. The most recent issue of Scientific American had a great article about improving artificial limbs by making the designs open source. The world needs an open source robotics project (there are a few, but they need to be bigger, broader and more ambitious). We don't all need to start from scratch. 3. Make robots commercially appealing. What robotics really needs is a killer app. Detecting bombs is the killer app for military robots, and they're becoming a ubiquitous feature of modern warfare. It's probably not going to sell many robots in Peoria though. Personally, I would shell out for a security robot that quietly prowls around my house when I'm asleep or not home, watching for intruders. 4. Develop an appealing user interface. People will wait in line for hours and pay hundreds of dollars for a fancy phone mainly because they like the interface (and the brand name). We need robots that soccer moms (and even hockey moms) can use. 5. Create a sexbot. I'm not just going for shock value here - a lot of early Internet technology was driven by sex websites. Sex sells. If there's a surefire way to make money with robots and attract early-adopters, it will probably involve sex. If that means someone out there is going to have to spend a lot of time researching and developing robot boobs, then so be it. Image by: EURON.