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Microsoft Releases Version 4 of Robotics Developer Studio

by Michael Stal on Mar 11, 2012 |

In the last years there has been an increasing relevance of robotics which Bill Gates is considering as one of the most important future developments. Microsoft has introduced a development environment for this area early and has recently introduced Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4.0 (RDS4).

One of the extensions in the Robotics Develop Studio is support for the Kinect sensor. Even without availability of existing hardware developers might build software applications by testing them with simulation tools.

According to Microsoft the new version offers several benefits:

    • With RDS 4 simulation tools, you don’t need physical hardware to develop a Kinect-based robot!
    • For hardware design, Microsoft has published the Robotics Developer Studio: Reference Platform Design specification for a standardized Kinect-based robot, to work with RDS 4. Parallax, Inc has manufactured a hardware kit based on the reference platform design specification which is available now.
    • RDS 4 also adds support for Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, XNA 4.0, and Silverlight 4.0.
    • Developers can use the tool to build commercial products based on the RDS 4 platform.

In the new version a 3D based simulation environment is available. The new DSS Manifest Editor (DSSME) allows creation of application configuration and distribution scenarios. The VPL (Visual Programming Language)

provides a relatively simple drag-and-drop visual programming language tool that helps make it easy to create robotics applications. VPL also provides the ability to take a collection of connected blocks and reuse them as a single block elsewhere in your program. VPL is also capable of generating human-readable C#.

And the Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR) allows  handling asynchronous input and output. The complexity is reduced because CCR hides the “complexities of manual threading, locks, and semaphores.”

Also there is a Lightweight state-oriented Decentralized Software Services (DSS) framework  where developers can create program modules with robots and PCs communicating by using an  open protocol.

Interested readers may download the RDS4 here.

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This sounds fun! by Roopesh Shenoy

I'm gonna try this out whenever I get time! Thanks Mike for the heads up.

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