Posted by: kurtsh | December 13, 2006

RELEASE: Microsoft Robotics Studio v1.0

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

“Microsoft will help us extend the reach of the iRobot Roomba Open Interface to a broader community of developers,” said Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairwoman of iRobot. “A common development platform like Microsoft Robotics Studio will help ignite the robotics industry and encourage more developers to design new robot applications.”

The Microsoft Robotics Studio environment is an end-to-end, scalable and extensible robotics development platform that includes the following:

  • A visual programming language that enables nonprogrammers to easily program robots using a drag-and-drop environment
  • A 3-D tool that simulates robotics applications in physics-based virtual environments, using the licensed PhysX™ engine from AGEIA™ Technologies Inc.
  • A lightweight, services-oriented runtime that enables applications to communicate with a wide variety of hardware

“Microsoft Robotics Studio is our response to requests from many hobbyist, academic and commercial robotics developers,” said Tandy Trower, general manager of the Microsoft Robotics Group. “We have quickly built a strong community with over 100,000 downloads of our preview releases, and we are excited to see the breadth of partner support across a wide variety of hardware platforms.”



INNOVATIONS:  Tool will give robots a leg up
Microsoft kit makes programming easier; it’s free for educational, professional use


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