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An Introduction to Programming Robots with Microsoft Robotics Studio : Page 2

Earlier this year Microsoft released Microsoft Robotics Studio—an SDK that you can use to program robots ranging from small robots like the iRobot Roomba vacuum to the large robots used on assembly lines.

Available Robots
At this time, the SDK provides tutorials that support nine different robots—and I'm sure that number will increase with every new release. Table 1 lists the robots supported by the latest release.

Table 1: Robots currently supported by Microsoft Robotics Studio.
Robot Typical Price Description
iRobot Roomba $149.99 and up Several different models are available. The best part about this robot is that it also provides a practical service and vacuums your floors.
LEGO Mindstorms RCX $119.99 Programmable LEGO brick that you can use to transform a LEGO model into a robot.
LEGO Mindstorms NXT $249.95 LEGO’s latest robot kit, featuring Bluetooth capabilities and several redesigned sensors.
Parallax Boe-Bot BASIC Stamp Robot $198.77 (for a limited time) A wheeled robot that features a Bluetooth module. This is a great robot for students and hobbyists.
Lynxmotion Lynx 6 Robotic Arm $388.75 This robotic arm features motion in the base, shoulder, elbow and wrist and also has a functional gripper.
fischertechnik $199.00 and up This flexible construction kit allows you to design and build your own robot.
Kondo KHR-1 $1499.00 and up For the serious robot lover, this fighting Japanese robot is popular in the robot wars.
MobileRobots Pioneer P3 DX Contact Sales for quote This general purpose wheeled robot includes a laser, arm, bumpers, and vision.

No matter which robot you choose, you'll need a way to communicate with it. For a limited time, Parallax is offering a discount on a bundle that allows you to program their Boe-Bot BASIC stamp robot using Bluetooth. Parallax is a true innovator in the field of robotics, striving to make robotics accessible to a wide range of people. The Boe-Bot is a great robot for people wanting to enter robotics competitions, which are rapidly gaining popularity across the United States.

The Boe-Bot kit does require you to assemble the robot, but should only take a couple of hours to do so. You can also expand the Boe-Bot to speech (using a speech board) and/or a wireless camera controlled from a connected computer. The Boe-Bot is a great robot for hobbyists or students wanting to learn more about how robots work.

I chose to test Robotics Studio using the iRobot Roomba, a programmable robotic vacuum cleaner.

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