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Getting started with Microsoft Robotics Studio (MSRS) Print E-mail
Written by Raúl Arrabales Moreno   
Thursday, 11 October 2007

How to get started with the Microsoft Robotics Studio (MSRS) Platform?

Image Microsoft Robotics Studio is a Windows-based environment for academic, hobbyist and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. Key features and benefits of the Microsoft Robotics Studio environment include: end-to-end Robotics Development Platform ,lightweight services-oriented runtime, and a scalable and extensible platform.


If you are completely new to Microsoft Robotics Studio, having a look to the introduction is a good idea to start getting a feeling of what you can do with it. Also, it is important to note that MSRS is built on top of .NET Framework environment (and this means that it only runs under Windows - I don't believe it can run under Linux using Mono).

Step One: read the Introduction to Microsoft Robotics Studio


Now, you should have the clear idea that MSRS is not just a simulation environment. In fact, the simulator is just one of the components that come with the MSRS development framework. So, let's clearly identify the key components of MSRS:

- MSRS Runtime (CCR and DSS).
- Visual Simulation Environment.
- Visual Programming Language (VPL).

Step Two: read the overview and introduction for each of the components.




At this stage you should now more or less what this tool is intended for and decide whether or not you want to learn further. It is time to download and install Microsoft Robotics Studio (make sure you download the latest version from the Microsoft official site). If you are especifically interested in the VPL, you should have a look to the VPL Getting Started Howto.

Step Three: download the latest version of MSRS.



If everything went all right, now you have MSRS installed in your machine. It is time to start playing with some basic tutorials. As Robotics Studio is a service oriented framework you should start by learning how to create and manage services. The MSRS package that you have installed comes with several sets of tutorials, and I think you should look first to the service tutorials.

Step Four: follow the Service Tutorials to learn how to create and manage MSRS services.


As you get familiar with the MSRS environment it is important to remember that there are user guides of the components that you can use for reference:

- CCR User Guide: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb483117.aspx.
- DSS User Guide: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb483118.aspx.
- DSS Manifest Editor User Guide: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb483122.aspx.
- Visual Programming Language User Guide: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb483129.aspx.
- Visual Simulation Environment User Guide: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb643235.aspx.

Once you are familiar with services, you are in a good position to start programming a robot. Let's start with robotics application programming by following the robotics tutorials that come with MSRS.

Step Five: review, follow, and run the Robotics tutorials. This will teach you how to build from a simple service for your robot to autonomous navigation.

- The basic robotics tutorials help you getting started writing the very first service for your robot. The tutorials take you from getting input from a single sensor to control an actuator to being able to write a "drive-by-wire" application where you can move your robot around.

- The advanced robotics tutorials demonstrate more advanced topics including autonomous navigation to how you can build your own support for your robot. In addition, we provide tutorials for how to provide rich UI that allows you to control and monitor your robot remotely from either a Web Browser or from an Instant Messaging client.



Step Six: review, follow, and run the Simulation tutorials. This will teach you how to use the Visual Simulation Environment, which will allow you to develop your robotics application even if you don't have a real robot.


Do you want to face a real robotics application? Are you looking for more serious and comprehensive stuff? Let’s move then into the Lab Courseware.

Step Seven. Download the Microsoft Robotics Studio Courseware and follow the VPL Lab Tutorials.



Once you have reached Lab Tutorial 6 you will be able to program a robot to learn basic behaviors from human robot spoken interaction. Next step is up to you!

 Additionally, there is some cool stuff bundled with the standard distribution of MSRS. These robotics samples include other integrated technologies like text-to-speech, artificial vision, and GPS.


 If you have trouble with MSRS you can use the MSDN Forums for Robotics Studio, or if you have any comment or question regarding this instructions, please contact me.




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  Comments (1)
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 1 New with MSRS
Written by equinte, on 02-10-2009 11:35
This is just what I needed! Really useful! 
There is a lot of information on the MSRS web and this is just the most organized way to begin! 

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