Microsoft introduced last fall an experimental release of the Robot Operating System (ROS) for Windows 10. This week during its Build conference in Seattle, Microsoft announced its ROS support is no longer an experiment: ROS is now generally available on Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.
ROS, of course, is an open-source platform that provides robotics developers with a variety of libraries and tools to help them build robots more efficiently. ROS for Windows 10 is an opportunity for Microsoft to expose its Azure cloud platform, and associated products, to ROS developers around the world. To get started with ROS on Windows, visit http://aka.ms/ros.
Microsoft wrote on its blog that “the Windows platform now provides a fast, safe, smart and manageable foundation for robotics solutions that also allows developers to do more at the edge using machine learning capabilities and all the scalability and power of Azure IoT:
“- Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services provides AI solutions that can infuse robots with intelligent algorithms to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret their environments using natural methods of communication.
“- The Microsoft ROS Node for Azure IoT Hub allows a system administrator to monitor the health of a robot and its tasks by monitoring specific message streams.
“- The Microsoft AI platform can act as the brain of the robot, with inferencing capabilities that work across any hardware platform. Using the industry standard ONNX model format trained locally or in the cloud, developers can accelerate machine learning at the edge – meaning the robot can run the models itself without consuming expensive bandwidth transmitting images to the cloud.”
Microsoft says in the near future it will be be adding functionality to a community-supported Visual Studio Code extension, adding support for Windows, debugging and visualization to enable easier development for ROS solutions.
“We’re excited to add Windows IoT as a supported platform for ROS,” says Brian Gerkey, CEO of Open Robotics. “The ROS developer community can now take advantage of a wide array features in Windows IoT, including hardware-accelerated machine learning, computer vision and cloud capabilities such as Azure Cognitive Services. I look forward to seeing the next generation of Windows IoT-supported ROS applications.”
Microsoft to keynote the Robotics Summit & Expo
Microsoft is making several other moves to grow its presence in robotics development circles. Also at Build 2019, Microsoft announced it’s building an “end-to-end toolchain” that makes it easier for developers to create autonomous systems. The platform uses Microsoft AI, Azure tools and simulation technologies, such as Microsoft’s AirSim or industry simulators, that allow machines to learn in safe, realistic environments. The platform also uses what Microsoft is calling “machine teaching,” which relies on a developer’s or subject matter expert’s knowledge to break a large problem into smaller chunks.
Microsoft is delivering a keynote at the Robotics Summit & Expo, which is produced by The Robot Report, that will shed more light into its recent robotics developments. In the keynote titled “IoT, Robotics and Automation: Evolution and Opportunities,” Microsoft’s Lou Amadio, Principal Software Architect, and Cyra Richardson, General Manager Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Incubation, will describe how a host of cloud and edge IoT solutions can be used collectively to bring your robotics and automation solutions to market.
The Robotics Summit & Expo will feature 60-plus exhibitors, 60-plus speakers, AWS RoboMaker Immersion Day, the Future of Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering Workshop, the MassRobotics Robotics Engineering Career Fair, networking receptions and more fun surprises. Full conference passes are $595 while expo-only passes are just $50. Academic discounts are available and academic full conference rates are $295. Register today to join the brightest minds in robotics June 5-6 in Boston at the Robotics Summit & Expo.