Got my copy of the Scientific American (Indian edition) today. The cover story is by a certain Bill.G who seems to be very excited about the future prospects of robotics.
Bill.G, being a very modest guy, has some interesting things to say:
Back in the early days of the PC, we realized that we needed an ingredient that would allow all of the pioneering work to achieve critical mass, to coalesce into a real industry capable of producing truly useful products on a commercial scale. What was needed, it turned out, was Microsoft BASIC. ........ Although a great many individuals made essential contributions to the development of the PC, Microsoft BASIC was one of the key catalysts for the software and hardware innovations that made the PC revolution possible.
He goes on to say how his company is going forward with designing an environment similar to what BASIC provided for programmers so that people interested in robotics can write applications for different kinds of robotic hardware in a very simple manner. MS has also designed something called CCR (concurrency and coordination runtime) which would make concurrent programming simple. Then there is something called DSS (decntralized software services) which would make development of distributed robotics applications simple.
It's time that we create Asimov's Fourth law of robotics:
No self respecting robot shall run a Microsoft Operating System or accept commands from a machine running a Microsoft OS.
Meantime, if you want a simple platform for controlling robots, check out pyro.