Microsoft launches robotics toolkit

Taking a step away from their more traditional products, Microsoft has released its first toolkit for building robotics software.

The Robotics Studio is a Windows-based development environment for building software for a variety of hardware platforms. In releasing the toolkit Tuesday, Microsoft introduced a third-party partner program that would feature applications, services, and robots. More than 30 companies have already pledged support for the new development and runtime platform, the company said.

Robotics Studio includes a drag-and-drop development environment, a 3-D tool that simulates robotics applications in physics-based virtual environments, and a lightweight, services-oriented runtime that enables software to communicate with a variety of hardware, Microsoft said. The 3-D engine, called PhysX, was licensed from AGEIA Technologies.

The toolkit lets developers use Microsoft Visual C#, Visual Basic, and IronPython programming languages. Some third-party languages also are supported. Robotics Studio is available free of charge for personal and academic use. For commercial applications, the product starts at US$399 per developer.


Related Links: Microsoft Robotics Studio