Our new ROBOT Overlords

| No Comments
will be running Windows. Why do I feel very uneasy... Microsoft announced today that it has been developing a set of tools for designing and running robots. From The Register:
Microsoft gives monopoly robotic legs
Microsoft has answered the robotics industry's call for a monopoly standard with the release of a new software development package for powering devices of all sizes. The beasty hopes the software will make it easier for students and hobbyists to enter the robotics field and provide a common platform for companies to use.

Tandy Trower, a general manager at Microsoft, unveiled the Microsoft Robotics Studio today here at the Robo Business conference. Broadly speaking, the developer package provides a way to model robots and then write commands to make the devices function. While only in "community technology preview" today, the developer package will go "Gold" in October, The Register has learned.

The robotics industry is currently struggling with a severe lack of standards for software and hardware components. Companies produce mounds and mounds of custom code to run their specific platforms. This can make life difficult on third-party types who want to build add-ons for a wide variety products. The software situation also proves intimidating to students who want to dabble in the robotics field.

It may seem odd for Microsoft to step in with a plan for solving these problems, but the robotics directive came straight from the top. Bill Gates returned from one of his Think Weeks and ordered Trower to pursue the market and "see what Microsoft could do."

Trower wrapped the arrival of Robotics Studio with a lot of good natured fluff about Microsoft igniting a thrilling industry and giving poor students a helping hand. Lurking behind all of this is the obvious push to make Windows and Microsoft's developer tools a standard piece of the robotics industry where custom applications, Java and Linux already do quite well.

"What we are seeing right now is perhaps the second age of the PC, when the PC gets up off our desktops (and walks around)," Trower said, rather ominously.
Brings new meanings to the "Blue Screen of Death" and system crash... A bit more on the package itself:
Developers can start out and design a 3-D model of their robotic device courtesy of a Microsoft-provided license of the PhysX engine from Ageia. Then, they can tap into a visual programming tool to create and debug applications meant to run the machine.

The application can be fairly complex, according to Trower. Microsoft has shipped a "lightweight services-oriented runtime" with Robotics Studio. This lets a programmer create numerous, independent services for a device such as moving an arm, having sensors announce changes in state or firing up a motor. The failure of one service will not affect the other services, demonstrating that Microsoft might be better at building robotics software than it is as developing operating systems.

Always aware of its surroundings, Microsoft did make an openness pitch.

"The Microsoft Robotics Studio programming model can be applied for a variety of robot hardware platforms, enabling users to transfer their learning skills across platforms," the company said. "Third parties can also extend the functionality of the platform by providing additional libraries and services. Both remote (PC-based) and autonomous (robot-based) execution scenarios can be developed using a selection of programming languages, including those in Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft Visual Studio Express languages (Visual C# and Visual Basic .NET), Jscript and Microsoft Iron Python 1.0 Beta 1, and third-party languages that conform to its services-based architecture."
I am certainly not planning to get rid of my CAD/CAM software any time soon. The main problem with running machine software on a windows platform is that Windows is not a real-time operating system. The various kibbles and bits of Windows come and go as they please and getting any application to synchronize to an invariable clock is next to impossible at any rate of speed. This becomes important when you are coordinating several motor-driven devices operating in the same physical area. Interesting to follow anyway. These people also are reporting Microsoft's announcement:
Forbes

ROBOTS.NET

BetaNews and

Extreme Tech
It actually will be very cool if they can pull this off. Early computers each had their own operating systems and writing an application or utility for one and then porting it to another system was not really cost-effective. CP/M helped a lot as all of the Input and Output devices were located at standardized addresses. It was MS-DOS that started the ball rolling though. Robotics are very much at the late pre-CP/M stage.

Leave a comment

August 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Environment and Climate
AccuWeather
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
ICECAP
Jennifer Marohasy
MetaEfficient
Planet Gore
Science and Public Policy Institute
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Space Weather - Canada
the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?


Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Medgadget
New Scientist
Next Big Future
PhysOrg.com
Ptak Science Books
Science Blog


Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
FAIL Blog
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Neatorama
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF
TYWKIWDBI


Comics
Achewood
The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Dilbert
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
Tundra
User Friendly
Vexarr
What The Duck
Wondermark
xkcd


NO WAI! WTF?¿?¿
Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on June 20, 2006 3:33 PM.

Light posting tonight was the previous entry in this blog.

ROBOT update is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Pages

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.9