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June 20, 2006

Microsoft announces beta robot programming environment

Posted by David Hunter at 7:42 PM ET.

Press release:

Today at RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition 2006, Microsoft Corp. showcased the community technology preview (CTP) of a new Windows®-based environment for academic, hobbyist and commercial developers to easily create robotic applications for a wide variety of computing platforms. In addition, early adopter companies, universities and research institutes offered demos and provided support for the new Microsoft® Robotics Studio development platform. The community technology preview of the Microsoft Robotics Studio is available for download at

Key features and benefits of the Microsoft Robotics Studio environment include these:

• End-to-end robotics development platform. Microsoft Robotics Studio includes a visual programming tool, making it easy to create and debug robot applications. Robotics Studio enables developers to generate modular services for hardware and software, allowing users to interact with robots through Web-based or Windows-based interfaces. Developers can also simulate robotic applications using realistic 3-D models; Microsoft has licensed the PhysX™ engine from AGEIA™, a pioneer in hardware-accelerated physics, enabling real-world physics simulations with robot models. The PhysX simulations can also be accelerated using AGEIA hardware.

• Lightweight services-oriented runtime. Microsoft Robotics Studio provides a lightweight services-oriented runtime. Using a .NET-based concurrency library, it makes asynchronous application development simple. The services-oriented, message-based architecture makes it simple to access the state of a robot’s sensors and actuators with a Web browser, and its composable model enables the building of high-level functions using simple components and providing for reusability of code modules as well as better reliability and replaceability.

• Scalable, extensible platform. The Microsoft Robotics Studio programming model can be applied for a variety of robot hardware platforms, enabling users to transfer their learning skills across platforms. Third parties can also extend the functionality of the platform by providing additional libraries and services. Both remote (PC-based) and autonomous (robot-based) execution scenarios can be developed using a selection of programming languages, including those in Microsoft Visual Studio® and Microsoft Visual Studio Express languages (Visual C#® and Visual Basic® .NET), JScript® and Microsoft IronPython 1.0 Beta 1, and third-party languages that conform to its services-based architecture.

Aside from providing fodder for innumerable creative headlines in the press, the Microsoft Robotics Studio is not really that big a novelty. Microsoft for years has been aggressively expanding the “ecosystem” based on their tools and operating systems into a variety of seemingly mundane applications such as lab equipment, retail point of sale, and ATMs. It’s just that robotics captures the imagine rather better than a cash register.

Filed under Beta and CTP, Microsoft, Robotics Studio, Tools, VS 2005

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3 Responses to “Microsoft announces beta robot programming environment”

  1. Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, November 10, 2006 -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft released a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Microsoft Robotics Studio which was announced in June. [...]

  2. Microsoft launches Robotics Studio -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] As promised in June, Microsoft today launched its development platform for robots, Microsoft Robotics Studio: Among the many remarkable innovations emerging out of the robotics industry, from surveillance robots that can defuse roadside bombs to robotic arms that perform surgeries, one persistent challenge has been the lack of a common development platform that would allow developers to easily create robotic applications for varied hardware platforms. Today, Microsoft Corp. is closing this gap with the release of Microsoft® Robotics Studio, a new Windows®-based development environment for creating robotic software for a wide variety of hardware platforms. Microsoft also introduced a new third-party partner program featuring Microsoft Robotics Studio-enabled applications, services and robots from independent software vendors, service providers, hardware component vendors and robot manufacturers. Already more than 30 third-party companies have pledged support for the new robotics development and runtime platform, which is available for download and evaluation at … With Microsoft Robotics Studio, robotics applications can be developed using a selection of programming languages, including those in Microsoft Visual Studio® and Microsoft Visual Studio Express languages (Visual C#® and Visual Basic®), which are free to download, as well as Microsoft IronPython. Third-party languages that support the Microsoft Robotics Studio services-based architecture are also supported. [...]

  3. littlemoney Says:

    It’s just that robotics captures the imagine rather better than a cash register.

    that’s technology!

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