The NIH is collaborating on a multi-agency funding opportunity, the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) (http://www.nsf.gov/funding//pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503641), whose goal is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14500/nsf14500.htm). Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots acting in direct support of a human are supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This initiative will facilitate the development of the next generation of robotics, particularly co-robotics, and encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas. Collaboration between academic, industry, non-profit and other organizations is strongly encouraged to establish better linkages between fundamental science and technology development and use. The NIH encourages robotics research and technology development to enhance health, lengthen life and reduce illness and disability. Specifically, the participating NIH institutes are interested in targeting this solicitation tosupport the development of assistive robotic technology to achieve functional independence in humans; improve quality of life; assist with behavioral therapy and personalized care; and promote wellness/health. The most significant challenges will be in addressing safety issues, especially for applications to be used in home-based and long-term care settings where integration of complex systems will be required. Additionally, these assistive robots need to quickly adapt to changes of the user and the environment. Human assistive devices should be designed to assist healthcare providers and as well as the individuals needing care. Development of robotic applications is important to NIH because of their potential significant impact on healthcare in the future. Human assistive devices will revolutionize healthcare in the next 20 years as much as personal electronics have changed our daily lives in the past two decades. Affordable and accessible robotic technology can facilitate wellness and personalized healthcare. Continual health assessment and personalized intervention have the potential to offset the shrinking size of the healthcare workforce and the growing elderly and disabled population. In the future, assistive robotics will enable people to engage in all aspects of human life with endurance and dignity.