Over the past few years, Microsoft has shown an increasing interest in using personal robotics to drive awareness of computer programming among high school and college students. Microsoft’s Dr. Stewart Tansley gave a presentation here at the Maker Faire yesterday that detailed Microsoft’s efforts towards using personal and educational robotics to drive that interest among students. Tansley’s demonstration (humorously dubbed “World Domination with Robots: A How-To Guide”) touched on a number of educational robotics initiatives that Microsoft was supportive of, including robotics for .NET, the CoroBot reference platform, .NET for LEGO Mindstorms and other programs.
Microsoft also has been encouraging use of Windows embedded systems and off-the-shelf PC technology in educational robotics projects, as well as highlighting modular systems (such as USB Phidgets) that make using the PC as a robotics platform a more attractive option. The stated goal is to inspire the next generation of computer science students, and Microsoft seems to be putting more resources toward their activities in this area.
See our previous post on White Box Robotics for additional PC-related activities in robotics as well.