As someone who is fascinated by robotics, I am always on the lookout for the most interesting news and developments.
One story caught my eye in the past few days. It appears that Microsoft is set to bring the Robot Operating System to Windows 10. While the software will be an experimental release, it is a huge deal in the robotics world.
What is the Robot Operating System?
The Robot Operating System, or ROS, contains the libraries and tools that will help people build complex robots. It is a commitment from Microsoft to bring an “intelligent edge to robotics.”
Many people assume it is the first time such an operating system will be widely available. But I have already spent time with ROS on Linux, which is why I am so excited that Microsoft is getting involved as well.
The company is hoping that since ROS will be available on Windows 10, developers can use Visual Studio and other cloud services when they are building robots. The company is heavily involved with the Azure IoT cloud, which also explains their interest in robotics.
Visual Studio Toolset
Developers are already familiar with how ROS works on Linux. I have used it myself and was very impressed with the functionality. But bringing ROS to Windows is a game changer for me and many others.
It is a mainstream operating system with better compatibility for software such as Visual Studio. Now creators have access to the Visual Studio toolset, along with many cloud applications.
The types of services that will be available include hardware accelerated Windows Machine Learning, Azure IoT, Azure Cognitive Services and computer vision.
Exciting Times for Robotics
As someone who works in the robotics industry, I am happy to say that it is one of the most exciting times for the industry. Not only are more people interested in robotics, but real progress is being made in many areas.
While the online reaction will focus on the types of robots being developed by Boston Dynamics, robots are a major part of many industries. Robot technology will play a game changing role in education, commercial, healthcare and manufacturing industries in the coming decades.
Microsoft Robot Demonstration
Not only has Microsoft slated the release of ROS, but the company has also demonstrated a robot that is running the latest release. I was at the ROSCon 2018 convention in Madrid, where I got a chance to see ROBOTIS Turtlebot 3.
It is a remarkable robot, which is capable of recognizing and steering towards the person that is closest to the robot. And it runs on the Windows Internet of Things Enterprise, through an Intel Coffee Lake NUC.
There are two reasons why everyone in robotics is so enthused about Microsoft releasing the ROS. Not only does it provide more power and features to companies that are involved in robot technology, but it opens up more possibilities for enthusiasts as well.
We are still in the infancy of what robotics is capable of achieving. And it appears Microsoft is ready to play a major role in that future.