Have you ever wanted to design your own robot but were unsure where to start? Fear-not friend, Microsoft has recently released a new iteration of its robot design software called ‘Robotics Developer Studio 4’. The software is centered heavily around the inclusion of Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for the home hobbyist’s robot designs. Included are SDK’s for both real and simulated Kinect sensors with support for all of its functions, the skeletal tracking feature, depth sensing, and microphone arrays.
RDS4 also takes advantage of Microsoft’s Visual Programming Language (VPL) that lets designers ‘drag and drop’ objects displayed in a virtual environment which then can be used to test your robot in any setting such as your virtual home and anywhere else you can think of. More advanced users can still program in C# through Visual Studio and Visual Studio Express. The software also incorporates Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR), accessed through .NET Framework, in conjunction with a Decentralized Software Service (DSS) Manifest Editor (Decentralized Software Services web-based compiler) that makes writing robot applications much simpler. They want it to be easy.
With that in mind, Microsoft has also added tutorials for just about every aspect of RDS4 as well as sample code to help get you started in the world of robotics. With that said, Paralax Inc. has released a robotic hardware kit (for $1,249 US) based off of Microsoft’s ‘EDDIE’ robot design that takes advantage of RDS4 for those who are interested. Robotics Developer Studio 4 is available now for free and runs on Windows 7 and the upcoming Windows 8.
See more about robotic innovations in element14's Robotics Group.