Microsoft Unveils Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008

Published: 17 November, 2008
Microsoft Corp. today announced the general availability of Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 (Microsoft RDS), the newest version of its robotics programming platform. Microsoft RDS includes a simple programming model to support building asynchronous applications, a set of visual authoring and simulation tools to aid in application development, and tutorials and sample code to help developers get started.

This is Microsoft's third major release of Microsoft RDS and builds upon its previous versions, which have received support throughout the robotics community, from students to researchers and commercial developers. More than 250,000 copies of Microsoft RDS have been downloaded and more than 60 hardware and software companies support or use the platform as a part of their products.

"This latest release is a demonstration of Microsoft's continued commitment and investment in supporting the emerging new robotics community," said Tandy Trower, general manager of the Microsoft Robotics Group. "We have used the very positive response to enhance what we offer, in hopes that it will continue to provide a common ground and catalyst for the future of personal robotics."

Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 includes enhancements in the following areas:

-- Increased runtime performance. Performance is improved 1.5 to three times faster in message throughput between services, and services now load two times faster. Developers can now also define more specific message communication between services, reducing network utilization and optimizing the processing of data. Together, these improvements will result in faster applications and more efficient use of processor performance.

-- Improvements to the Visual Programming Language (VPL) tool. The simple drag-and-drop-based visual programming tool now includes a simple method for defining and configuring distributed applications, making it easier to create applications that can run across networked devices. Developers also will have greater flexibility when compiling their programs.

-- Improvements to the Visual Simulation Environment (VSE) tool. VSE now includes the ability to record and play back simulations, which allows for easier review of simulation experiences. VSE also adds a new floor-plan editor to simplify the definition of interior structures, and three new sample simulation environments (apartment, outdoor and urban) that enable developers to better test their robot applications. Another new feature is support for importing content from DS SolidWorks(R) 3-D computer-aided design (CAD) software and Microsoft trueSpace 3-D modeling software, which make it easier for developers to create their own simulated models and environments.

-- Greater development flexibility. This new release provides support for both Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008, which makes it accessible to a broad audience of developers.

Improved support for running VPL and VSE on 64-bit Windows platforms provides more flexible installation options. New support for custom message transports increases development choices.