Microsoft Releases Robot Development Kit - Is a 1980's personal computer-like craze right around the corner?

Bill Loguidice's picture

From "What's New Now from Ziff Davis" Newsletter (commentary below the excerpt):
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2071091,00.asp

Microsoft seems to have won over skeptical robot developers with the release of its new Robotics Studio product. The product's pretty neat, it lets you program real robots, or virtual instantiations of them that live inside your PC. Even better, it's free to download and play with - you'll just pay when you actually use it to control an autonomous mechatron of your own design. Our story is chock full of details on how Microsoft won over the robotics community, what's new inside the software, and where to download it yourself, for free.

It's interesting that there's a quote in the article that likens the current robotics craze to the personal computer explosion of the early 80's. Of course for readers of my previous robotics commentaries, I believe there actually was a similar personal robotics craze in the early 80's that coincided with the growth in use of personal computers at the time, but unlike what became of the computer industry - with its built-in advantage of hosting a series of killer apps and ubiquity in business and education - personal robotics never got out of the hobbyist or tinkerer phase of its evolution and never gained the necessary momentum to actually become mainstream. Today, robots are becoming more entertaining, approachable and easier to work with, and there are even a few killer app-like applications, like robotic home cleaning devices. However, it still remains to be seen if something will appear that will indeed make a personal robot a "must-have" device for anything other than its entertainment or cleaning abilities, vaulting it to that next level of societal integration, which certainly did happen with the personal computer.

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Ironically, I just got an

Ironically, I just got an e-mail from "Carl's Electronics", which has among other things, some nifty robot kits: http://www.electronickits.com/new/2006holidaynewsletter.htm

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
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Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I'm reading David Levy's

I'm reading David Levy's Robots Unlimited now. When I'm done, I'll post a review! So far, it's been very interesting and loaded with facts I haven't seen elsewhere.

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