Last year at ROSCon 2018, Microsoft announced an experimental release for Robot Operating System for Windows 10. ROS is an open source robotics framework for writing robot software, built from the ground up to encourage collaborative robotics software development. Earlier today, the Redmond-based tech corporation and Open Robotics officially launched ROS for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.
Brian Gerkey, CEO of Open Robotics, commented on the release:
“We’re excited to add Windows IoT as a supported platform for ROS. 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.”
ROS contains a vast array of tools, libraries, and conventions that help simplify the task of creating complex robots across a wide variety of robotic platforms. With the availability of ROS for Windows 10 IoT, developers will be able to incorporate advanced capabilities such as computer vision, Windows Machine Learning, and Azure Cognitive Services in their robots while having access to all the tools, features, and security provided by Windows 10 IoT.
ROS on Windows 10 IoT will enable developers to do much more with robots and robotic solutions using Microsoft Azure IoT and machine learning capabilities. For instance, 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. These are just two examples; support for ROS on Windows opens up so many doors for developers thanks to the power and scalability of Azure.
In the near future, Microsoft also plans to introduce functionality to a community-supported Visual Studio Code extension by adding support for Windows, debugging and visualization to enable easier development for ROS solutions.