Call for Robotics Projects!

Hi all,

My name is Loke, I’m the Sr. Product Manager here at the Robotics team in Microsoft. We are currently in the process of redesigning our website and one of the new areas we’re thinking of creating is a Showcase section where we’ll highlight some of the cool projects that our community is working on with regards to Robotics on Microsoft Technologies, including RDS.

If you are currently working on a project, or using RDS or any other Microsoft technologies for building Robots (both software and hardware), we’d appreciate it if you could send us a short description of what you’re doing, how you’re using the technologies, and even some feedback about the process. We’d love to hear from you.

Please send the details to Looking forward to hearing about your awesome projects.



Comments (20)

  1. AwokeKnowing says:

    It's hard to tell whether MS is committed to robotics software or not.  RDS is a great platform as is, but it feels like it has no future.  We don't hear about roadmaps.  We don't hear about new upcoming features.  We don't hear whether XNA is being discontinued for PC.  We don't know if stuff we make will even run on the next version.  We don't know if there's metro stuff in the pipeline so the same RDS app could run on phone8.  

    It's just so sad.  I worked for months on an RDS project, but It didn't seem like anything was going on, and I started to worry if MS was getting ready to cancel it all.

    It's robots, Microsoft!!  We have great speech recognition now, we have the kinect, we have openCV, we have ultrabooks to power the robot OS.  Microsoft should be pouring billions into becoming the hub for robotic software development, yet they're letting ROS take over without a fight.   Robots like NAO should be running RDS.  Where is the vision! the committment.  If you wait to see what will happen, you lose.

  2. AwokeKnowing says:

    And I think the fact that the previous comment has sat there, unanswered, for 2 weeks further reinforces the idea that MSRDS has been dumped in the toy box.

  3. Looking into things says:

    Hmm – was thinking of getting into this technology, but it looks like maybe Microsoft isn't going to move forward with it.  Where/who should I go with?

  4. Shanen Boettcher says:

    Hi Everyone,

    This is Shanen Boettcher. I’m a General Manager in the group with Loke here at Microsoft and wanted to respond on behalf of the team. Microsoft is committed to providing everyone — from students to hobbyists to developers — the tools that they need to make their robotics vision a reality.  Solutions like Robotics Developer Studio, Kinect for Windows SDK, .NET Gadgeteer and the .NET Micro Framework are all examples of our continued investment in the space. 

    Kinect,in particular, has captured the imaginations of researchers, academics, and robotics enthusiasts around the world.  We see an opportunity to extend the community’s creativity by releasing tools to democratize robotics development and bring value to the space through ease-of-use, accessibility, and a robust existing developer community.

    In March, we released Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 (RDS 4).  RDS 4 helps simplify development of complex robotics applications by delivering a powerful development tool, flexible services-oriented runtime, 3D physics-based visual simulation environment and support for a wide variety of robotics hardware including the Kinect (Xbox 360 and Windows) sensor.  RDS4 also adds support for .NET 4, XNA 4.0,and Visual Studio 2010.

    In terms of community engagement, in September, we launched the Robotics @Home Contest to showcase the community’s creativity and announced winners at the Bay Area Maker Faire in May. Our marketing and PR teams have worked hard to get the word out there and we’ve seen a nice series of recent articles about how developers are creating innovative robotic solutions leveraging RDS:

    Slashgear: Smart Tripod wins Microsoft Robotics@Home Competition – May 29, 2012 / Chris Burns

    IEEESpectrum (Automaton): Video Friday: Curiosity Learns to Scoop, Robot Tentacle Learns to Grab, iCub Learns About Rolling – May 25, 2012 / Evan Ackerman

    Tom’s Guide: 16 Awesome DIY Projects We Saw at Maker Faire – May 25, 2012 / Mary Branscombe

    Fast Company: This Week In Bots: Saluting The First President Of The Robot Epoch – May 25, 2012 / Kit Eaton

    Engadget: Microsoft announces Robotics @Home contest winner: a SmartTripod that can follow you – May 24, 2012 / Donald Melanson

    Nile International: Electronics Enthusiasts Enjoy Robotics Technology – May 23, 2012

    Make Magazine: Make Live (Livestream video w/ Loke Uei Tan) – May 19, 2012

    GeekWire: Geek Made: Squirt-gun robot, electromagnetic fish tank and more from Mini Maker Faire – June 4, 2012 / Annie Laurie Malarkey

    Our current roadmap includes several key enhancements. Part of our commitment to robotics is to ensure that we support our latest software and hardware platforms, and we are busy making sure that RDS works great on Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012. Of course, in a technology area as dynamic as robotics, there are several active projects and explorations about which we can’t share details, but please know that our passion and commitment to the space remains and will continue. We truly appreciate your continued support of our platform. If you are considering starting a new project and have questions,start at and feel free to contact us at

  5. Henk says:

    Shanen, thank you for your response. I think it would be great for MS Robotics Team to have page like that:…/72027-wcf-data-services-feature-suggestions

    So, developers will have an ability to request and vote for interested features. And will have an ability to see feedback from community.

  6. That good comments, here I can contribute them with the instructive one to form services of the NXT…/

  7. That good comments, here I can contribute them with the instructive one to form services of the NXT…/

  8. Hmmm, Very quiet in here!!!!!

    Is this still a project that is alive or is it dead?

  9. PaulR says:

    We have moved all our projects from MSRDS to ROS ( and we are extremely happy with the results.   In our view, MSRDS does not address the needs of the Robotics Community.  

  10. Mike Partain says:

    LOL. looks like robotics has been removed from MSDN. Does that tell you anything? Thank goodness, tired of dragging out it's death. Now if the whole company would just do the same.

  11. Mohammed says:

    Hi sir,

          Recently we started ROBOTICS company and we are planning to use MS Robotics Studio software for our robots. But we have doubt, how to dump software code in to robot.

         My queries relates MS Robotics Studio software:

    1. How to dump this program on lego NXT Brick  

    2. If we developed any service then how to use this service in hardware

    3. How to run a hardware by using MS Robotics Studio software.

    Please solve all this queries. For further information contact me  ”

    Thanks and regards


    Satya Robotics India Pvt Ltd.

  12. Hello Mohammed,

    I think you are mistaken about how MS Robotics works. The application you are writing will run on a PC and remote control your bot.

    This is not the same as compiling NXT-G code that runs on the brick.

    I use a combination of on board software(Running on the Brick)  and remote communication via Bluetooth (Running on the PC) . I can execute the code on the brick from the PC.

    In my larger robots the PC ( Tablet  ) is part of the Robot and is wired directly to the sensors and servos.

    Even in this configuration i still have DDS serveries running to analyze data that the robot does not have direct access too such as IP Cams , Web Cams , Stock market info, weather predictions and so on .

    The bot does not need this info in real time so it does not run onboard.

    On the other hand some data like collision detection and stabilization is needed quickly and in real time so it is gathered from code running on the brick or pc (if not Lego )

  13. Laurence says:

    I have a feeling that Robotics team has been doing something very wrong here. I love RDS and I think this technology has huge potential. But, as complaint above, we have no road map, no communication, no updates. No body would invest something like this. In stead, during this period, ROS is growing very well. MS will lost another war like smartphone or windows tablets.

    So, please open up. Why don't MS just open source this thing, and let community to contribute? That would be the bright future for RDS and robotics in MS. Otherwise, nobody has confidence to support this, no matter how good is Kinnect, .Net4, ….

  14. Bert says:

    Yep, I think it's dead. No support, no nothing. even when you had paid for it, when it was not free.

    I want to believe in MS, but I goes the other way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Are there still any developments regarding MSRDS? Will the new Lego EV3 be supported in the near future?

  16. vikram says:


        I just heard about the MSRDS. We(university students) are working in a humanoid which is powered by ROBOTIS dynamixel motors RS485. i wanna know is it possible to connect those motors to serial bus and control using RDS 4 with kinnect. Does it support dynamixel motors. If not what should i have to do to make it work with RDS

    Thank you


  17. trackroamer says:

    MS is waiting for the first Google delivery robot to knock on their door and shake their hand. Then they will remember that once upon a time they had a robotics product that was hugely superior to what was available at the time. Pretty sad…

  18. Andrew W. says:

    Can we speak directly to the project manager if MRDS and ask if the team is going to continue supporting this software?

  19. The Keystone Garter says:

    I hope Microsoft continues to continue offering robotics platforms.  I believe a network of pattern recognition WMD sensors will be a large fraction of this century's future economy and I'd be happy if Microsoft is a part of this.

  20. ZHANG Guoqiang says:

    MSRD was stoped?

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