Friday, December 15, 2006

Microsoft Releases Robotics Studio

This week, Microsoft® released a new product called Microsoft Robotics Studio, designed to be a universal platform for robotics for everything from toys to industrial and military applications.

The folks at Microsoft are understandably excited about this new product, as they see many parallels between the robotics industry today and the computer industry of the mid-to-late seventies.

The software includes a visual programming tool that enables non-programmers to easily write software for robots using a drag-and-drop interface, along with a 3-D simulator (using the PhysXTM engine from AGEIATM) to allow you to evaluate how your robot will behave without having to build it first.

I think this is an excellent step toward building better robots, as it makes it possible for hobbyists (licenses of MRS are free for non-commercial use) to participate in advancing the robotics industry, much as they did with personal computers in the late seventies and early eighties.

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