Microsoft Corp. announced an improved version of Microsoft(R) Robotics Studio, just months after the December 2006 introduction of its robotics application development toolkit. The new Microsoft Robotics Studio 1.5 adds support for Windows(R) Embedded CE 6.0 and Windows Mobile(R) 6, which allows developers to more easily deploy advanced scenarios and software applications on embedded platforms of a wider variety and lower cost.
“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.
Microsoft Robotics Studio 1.5 includes improvements to its visual programming language and 3-D real-world-physics-based visual simulation environment, built on the AGEIA Technologies Inc.-based PhysX engine. New services have also been added, including support for vision and speech recognition, expanded documentation and a new editor that makes it easier to configure and target software services for robotics platforms.
Microsoft Sponsors RoboCup 2007 and Delivers 3-D Soccer Simulation Competition
Teams competing in RoboCup 2007, an international robotics competition, experienced these improvements firsthand by participating in a Microsoft- sponsored tournament of simulated soccer matches. Powering the competition was a new robot soccer simulation, which includes a 3-D simulated soccer field and scoring services, as well as support that enables different simulated robots to be configured as players. The services are also available to non-Robocup participants at http://www.microsoft.com/robotics. A compatible simulated robot player called robuDOG, from Robosoft, is also available for download from the Robosoft Web site at http://www.robosoft.com/, enabling contestants to play virtual soccer with four-legged robots in a realistic 3-D environment. Robosoft also previewed its hardware-based robuDOG robot, and the services used in simulation can be deployed directly on this new robot. The soccer simulation featured at RoboCup 2007 joins a robot sumo simulation also released today, which offers participants an opportunity to create and program simulated robots in a sumo wrestling competition.
Microsoft Broadens Reach to Diverse Robotics Markets
Microsoft Robotics Studio continues to be adopted in the broader robotics academic market. For instance KUKA Roboter GmbH, a leading vendor in the robotics industry, announced the availability of its KUKA Educational Framework software, which teaches students how to calculate and orchestrate robot arm motions, and perform autonomous task solutions.
“We are excited to release our KUKA Educational Framework based on Microsoft Robotics Studio,” said Bernd Liepert, CEO of KUKA Roboter. “This helps us extend the reach of our robots into the academic and research community, using a common software base.”