Last week, Microsoft released Robotics Studio, which is a Windows(R)-based development environment for creating robotic software for a wide variety of hardware platforms. 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(TM) engine from AGEIA(TM) Technologies Inc.
- A lightweight, services-oriented runtime that enables applications to communicate with a wide variety of hardware
With Microsoft Robotics Studio, robotics applications can be developed using a selection of programming languages, including those in Microsoft Visual Studio(R) and Microsoft Visual Studio Express languages (Visual C#(R) and Visual Basic(R)), 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.
For hobbyists, students and academics, Microsoft Robotics Studio is available to license free of charge. Commercial robot developers interested in generating revenue from applications, services and robots based on Microsoft Robotics Studio can license the development platform starting at $399.
Microsoft Robotics Studio is now compatible with applications, services and robots from the following companies: CoroWare Inc., fischertechnik, iRobot, KUKA Robot Group, Larsen & Toubro InfoTech Ltd., the LEGO Group, Lynxmotion Inc., Parallax Inc., Phidgets Inc., RoboDynamics Corp., Robosoft, RoboticsConnection, Senseta, Sharp Logic, Surveyor and WhiteBox Robotics Inc. In addition, many leading companies from around the world have joined the Microsoft Robotics Studio Partner Program with plans to ship compatible applications, services and robots in the future. They include Braintech Inc., Camelot Robotics ApS, Cerebellum, ED Co. Ltd., Graupner, Hanulkid Co. Ltd., InTouch Health, JADI Inc., LG CNS, MicroInfinity, Mostitech Inc., RE2 Inc., RidgeSoft LLC, Robo3, SRI, VIA Technologies Inc. and Yujin Robot.