Most matter will stay dumb, because it will always be inefficient (for energy and economics) to make it programmable and able to move.
Electrostatic robots can be programmed to self assemble now
Claytronics is progressing to millimeter and micron sizes and will have some impact However, it will take a while to make them technically feasible on a small scale and longer to make them economically worthwhile.
Super high-resolution look and feel simulations
Super high resolution 3D television that does not need glasses, holograms and touchable holograms with feedback devices and ultrasound could be used instead on Claytronics for many applications.
Awareness of matter, energy and information
We are progressing to super detailed monitoring (mapping to 15 centimeters or less) and measuring (not just visible wavelengths). Faster refreshes of this information will be achieved. DARPA is working on various constant surveillance systems.
HP is working on a vision of a trillion sensors.
Energy harvesting is a key enabling technology as is super energy efficient electronics like the 30 picowatt Phoenix chip.
Harvard and MIT have developed programmable matter with controlled folding of smart origami. A self-folding sheet becomes an origami boat and an origami plane is shown.
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