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Microsoft vs Google also in Robotics

Samuel Bouchard
by Samuel Bouchard. Last updated on Jan 29, 2015 10:18 AM
Posted on Dec 15, 2008 9:22 PM. 1 min read time

This rivalry of giants is a corporate classic. It extends to speculative domains such as robotics. And once again, it is a clash of styles.


Gates group is working on Microsoft Robotics Studio. This software programs, simulates and controls a variety of robots. As I mentioned in another article on robotics, Gates himself believes that robots are at the same stage of development as computers in the 1970s. Microsoft is now attempting to create user-friendly software to easily program robots in the style of LabVIEW (using the “blocks and wires” paradigm), which can be downloaded for free. Many companies, like Braintech, design functions that can be directly integrated into the program for visual recognition. Many other robot manufacturers are gradually adhering to Windows’ robot platform to make them more widely accessible. Microsoft’s idea is a good one. It leads to greater standardization in robotics, which should help it take off.


True, Google isn’t directly into robotics, at least as far as I know. But they’re not far from it, either. They’ve bought technologies at Stanford and sponsored a the Google Lunar X Prize. It is mainly a Google alumnus, Scott Hassan, who is financing Willow Garage. Willow is seeking to develop an open source mechanical and virtual platform and provide it to roboticists. The idea is the same as Microsoft’s: they want to avoid reinventing the wheel for every step forward. Here’s a recent video showing the current state of their PR2 (Pr = Personal Robotics).

Yes, Google made Hassan rich. He has the resources to fund this private laboratory with a permanent staff of sixty.

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Samuel Bouchard
Written by Samuel Bouchard
Samuel is CEO and co-founder of Robotiq. His mission is to free human hands from repetitive tasks. He is also the author of Lean Robotics: A Guide to Making Robots Work in Your Factory. He lives in Québec City with his wife and four children.
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