It might seem a little out off character for Microsoft to be working on robotics software, but for decades the company has wanted to be the supplier of operating systems for systems ranging from personal computers and handheld devices to game consoles and coffeetables—why would robots be any exception? Toward the end of 2006, Microsoft unveiled the first version of its Robotics Studio development environment; today Microsoft announced version 1.5 of its Robotics Studio development kit, adding support for Windows CE and WIndows Mobile 6 to let developers more easily build robotics applications for a wider variety of platforms.
“We’re constantly seeking ways to improve the product through new features and provide a catalyst to academic, hobbyist and commercial segments,” said Tandy Trower, general manager of the Microsoft Robotics Group at Microsoft, in a release.
Robotics Studio 1.5 adds refinements to the environment’s visual programming language and Ageia-physics-enabled 3-D simulation environment. The new release also adds support for speech and vision recognition, a new editor, and expanded documentation.
Microsoft reports that its robotics platform has been adopted by a growing number of academic institutions, including Princeton University, the University of Texas, the University of Washington Biorobotics Lab, and the University of California, Merced, for a wide variety of research and development applications. Commercial enterprises are also taking an interest in Microsoft Robotics Studio in areas of mapping, localization, vision, and learning.