Combine years in the gaming community with access to 3D printers, and you get the business model of My Robot Nation. This small company helps you create customized robot avatars online — and then lets you print them out in ceramic, so your bot friends can join you in real life.
Want to know how it works? I did a test drive of the system, and made my own robot (that's my little guy in the video above). You can try it too! For the next week, My Robot Nation is offering io9 readers 20% off on all robots — design one for yourself, and learn about the future of manufacturing in the process.
If you've ever drooled over the quality toys sold in places like Giant Robot, you're about to go nuts. Visit My Robot Nation, and you're immediately taken to a page where you're given a blank robot. You can customize everything from arms and legs to facial features, body decorations (buzzsaw attachments!), and color. There are 9 billion possible combinations, so don't worry about accidentally making a robot that looks like everybody else's. It's just like designing an avatar for an MMO, except all of it is going to be sitting adorably on your desk in a few days.
When I used the interface, I found it incredibly easy to use and fun to play with. You can put items all over your bot's body, change their sizes, and even do things you'd think you're not supposed to.
What do I mean by that? Well, OK, I gave my robot a penis. Look, I'm the kind of person who tests out the parameters of tools by trying to see how profane I can get. That's why I trained my voice transcription software to say "fuck" and made a video of all the pornographic creatures people created in Spore. Anyway, my point is that My Robot Nation will let you stick a giant windup key right between your robot's legs. See? Here's mine. Now I love my little custom robot even more, because it reflects my, um, "special" mindset.