Hi, SMT by hand is easy and inexpensive when you know how. Not always just for robots:) And you don't need to buy expensive hot-air rework stations etc.
I put alot the technqiues for SMT hand soldering in my product atThere's a free membership there which has some of the videos.
Also, there's a nice article on low cost DIY hot air rework, written by Tom Mathews and Timothy Toroni at National Semiconductor. It's called "Rework within your reach"[text version at ]
Also, Schmartboard are trying to make it easier for prototyping with SMT chips. They have a bunch of different types, for SOP, QFP, PLCC, BGA etc. They fan out to through-hole pads, which you can solder wires or pins to & then connect off to your breadboard
Kind regards, Anthony Burch