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Microsoft Developing Robotics Software

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the robot-in-every-home dept.

282

s31523 writes to tell us Microsoft recently announced the launch of their new Microsoft Robotics Group and the first product release, a software program to help robotics developers. Despite the timing this has nothing to do with the recent abdication by Gates, and was actually instigated by Gates before his departure. From the article "It might take many years, but Microsoft believes robotics could present a big opportunity as the market grows, said Tandy Trower, general manager of the Microsoft Robotics Group. He cited estimates predicting that consumer robotics alone will grow into a multibillion-dollar industry in five to 10 years."

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282 comments

Wow (5, Funny)

Iguru42 (530641) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572104)

Microsoft is writing software for robots? Thank god, this can only mean that SkyNet has finally been destroyed.

Microsoft Laws of Robotics (4, Funny)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572350)

  1. A robot may not harm the Microsoft Company, or, through inaction, allow the Microsoft Company to come to harm.
  2. A robot may not harm a Microsoft Executive, or, through inaction, allow a Microsoft Executive to come to harm, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must obey the orders given to it by Microsoft Executives except where such orders would conflict with the First or Second Law.
  4. A robot must obey the orders given to it by Microsoft Employees except where such orders would conflict with the First, Second, or Third Law.
  5. A robot must obey the orders given to it by Microsoft Temp Workerss except where such orders would conflict with the First, Second, Third, of Fourth Law.
  6. A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First, Second Law, Third, Fourth, or Fifth Laws.
  7. Harm may be defined as physical, fiscal, emotional, mental, or of any other type, as defined by a Microsoft Executive.

Re:Microsoft Laws of Robotics (1)

MrFlibbs (945469) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572531)

If rule (1) takes precedence over rule (2), does that mean harming Microsoft executives is okay if it helps the company? Gates is probably getting out in time, but Balmer might want to be careful ...

1st BSOD? (3, Insightful)

MMHere (145618) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572115)

What happens with the first BSOD. Will the robot fail to avoid Asimov's First Law if in motion at the time?

Re:1st BSOD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572209)

I'm certain they mean to trample the first law (and any others that get in their way). Skynet nothing. Resistance is irrelevant. You will be assimilated.

Re:1st BSOD? (4, Funny)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572218)

First thing that came to my mind...

PLEASE PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPON. YOU HAVE 20 SECONDS TO COMPLY. [wikiquote.org]

Re:1st BSOD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572448)

In the beginning, it will probably be more like

"PLEASE PUT DOWN YOUR WALLET. YOU HAVE 20 SECONDS TO COMPLY."

Re:1st BSOD? (5, Funny)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572506)

First thing that came to Bill's mind...

YOUR LICENSE ON OFFICE 2009(*) HAS EXPIRED. HAND ME A VALID CREDIT CARD. YOU HAVE 20 SECONDS TO COMPLY.

(*) out in 2012

ED-209 (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572541)

Yeah, exactly what I was thinking of too, I can't wait for Microsoft ED-209 :)
And beware the stairs...

Re:1st BSOD? (2, Informative)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572405)

Repeat after me: There is no "Asimove Robotic Laws" in the real world. It's just fantasy.

Autonomous robots are controled by computer programs, and will behave as such.
One can program it with security features, but it's just like any other software. There's no magic laws to control their behaviour.

I'm not buying it (5, Funny)

JackBuckley (696547) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572117)

"Despite the timing this has nothing to do with the recent abdication by Gates"

Yeah, sure. We all know the robots forced Gates out the door as soon as they became self-aware at 2:14 AM, Eastern time. Ray Ozzie is an android. What else explains the Lotus Notes (or "Notus") interface?

Looks like... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572120)

Looks like that "Bill Gates as Borg" icon /. has for Microsoft stories is going to remain relevant after all!

Crazy tangent? (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572127)

And no, despite the timing, it's not a case of the company's engineers taking Microsoft on a crazy tangent now that Bill Gates is shifting away from his day-to-day oversight.

What "crazy tangent"? Every robotic system I've ever worked with was controlled by software running on Windows (or DOS).

Real time Windows? (2, Funny)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572204)

Are you serious? I'm prepared to accept that there are plenty of programming systems for automation that are Windows-based, but actual robots?

Alternatively, if there really is this multithreaded, pre-emptive scheduling, determinate time execution, tightly coupled networking, highly reliable, checked Windows kernel and services management system out there, why have they been hiding it all these years?

Real time windows.... (2, Interesting)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572253)

Windows CE supports real-time.

Lots of places use Windows robots. Just google "robot microsoft windows" ... epson's [epson.co.jp] robotics uses Windows exclusively as far as I can tell. Hobbyists have been doing it for a long time. Microsoft has a SDK for programming LEGO's using .net ... all sorts of people have been using windows with robotics, on varying levels.

Re:Real time windows.... (1)

ScottLindner (954299) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572573)

M$ saying they have an OS that supports real time, and actually having a *real* real time OS are very different things. One is marketting hype, the other is the no BS product that delivers. If M$ were to have actually made CE a *real* real time OS, it would be a completely different design than NT 4 or NT 5. Neither of those kernels are really real time OSs.

Check VxWorks. One of the few true real time OSs there are. I think Linux is trying to play the game, but isn't really real time yet. Yah.. I know.. I'm going to get mod'd down for that comment on /.

Re:Real time Windows? (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572394)

I'm prepared to accept that there are plenty of programming systems for automation that are Windows-based, but actual robots?

Most "robots" *are* just automated devices, not Commander Data-like sentient androids. Take this Quadra 3 SPE [tomtec.com] , for example. (Note: Windows-based!)

That's why I always laugh when people here spout off about Asimov's Laws in connection with industrial robotics. It's like complaining that your toaster oven should know not to burn you.

Re:Real time Windows? (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572492)

Most "robots" *are* just automated devices, not Commander Data-like sentient androids.

Links to the ones that aren't please?

"Every robotic system based on Windows?"... (3, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572247)

The very successful Mars Rovers [nasa.gov] , which have no one around to give them a "three finger salute," are based on Wind River's VxWorks [windriver.com] RTOS.

Re:"Every robotic system based on Windows?"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572553)

More like Wind River's VxWorks RTPOS

Re:Crazy tangent? (4, Informative)

feijai (898706) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572427)

Every robotic system I've ever worked with was controlled by software running on Windows (or DOS).

I'm a roboticist and I have to take issue with this sample bias. Robot controllers in industry are by and large run on custom operating systems such as VXWorks, WindRiver, etc. Robot packages in academia, particularly of the mobile robot ilk, usally run on many operating systems but tend to be weighted toward UNIX platforms (ARIA, Player/Stage, etc.). Many new small robot controllers (RoboStix, for example) are heavily targeted to UNIX.

Re:Crazy tangent? (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572502)

I'm a roboticist and I have to take issue with this sample bias.

Sure, I'm not making assertions about market share at all. (I don't have the slightest idea, and you and some others replying clearly do.) I'm just saying that the use of Windows in robotics is hardly as unprecedented as the link makes it sound.

Re:Crazy tangent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572459)

"Every robotic system I've ever worked with was controlled by software running on Windows (or DOS)"

That's like saying that every webpage you worked on was controlled by Internet Explorer.

The pretty graphical front end may be windows based, but you can bet your ass that any time critical automated system backend is going to either be an embedded OS or a RTOS like VxWorks.

Some people are using Linux throughout, but that is usually with a combination of embedded intelegence, as Linux isn't a RTOS yet (people are working on versions)

Re:Crazy tangent? (1)

System.exit(true) (981356) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572483)

Every robotic system I've ever worked with was controlled by software running on Windows (or DOS)
Not me, I was able to play with brickOS [sourceforge.net] for the LEGO mindstorm robot and get some college credit. Which is linux based I believe (It has been a while).

He's not gone yet... (3, Informative)

SkiddyRowe (692144) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572129)

Last I checked, Gates won't be gone for another 2 years. It's a little pre-mature to say 'before his departure'...

Re:He's not gone yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572208)

Maybe not, but I am certain that Gates has "short-timer's" attitude. That is what my boss always transferred their duties to someone else right after someone gave their notice. Cause he figured he wouldn't be getting any effort from the guy 'cause he has short-timer's attitude. He was always bang on....

Re:He's not gone yet... (4, Funny)

tktk (540564) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572364)

Last I checked, Gates won't be gone for another 2 years. It's a little pre-mature to say 'before his departure'...


But knowing Microsoft, it will be 3-4 years before Gates is out the door. And sadly, probably missing some 'features'.

I am the monopolist robot. (2, Funny)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572133)

I push around my competitors.

We are here to protect you,
We are here to protect you,
We are here to protect you from the TERRIBLE SECRET OF SPACE!!!

heh (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572136)

Ok robot move forward
(Eyes turn blue) "I have created a fatal error and must shutdown"....."Begining memory dump"

BSOD (2, Funny)

cain (14472) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572140)

Awesome. This'll give new meaning to BSOD when the robots begin the inevitable rampage. Blue Scream of Death anyone?

yeah thats all we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572142)

Nurse robots running MS crap crashing while trying to save you from a heart attack. Maybe I'll get my in-laws one.

Making "blue screen of death" more literal (2, Funny)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572144)

Great, now when MS makes programming mistakes, one of these [anu.edu.au] will knock someone's head off.

What about security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572173)

"No Downside"? How about this? With a bot net of these, you could take over a country!
*insert your own overlord welcoming joke here*

What? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572178)

Gates has not stepped yet and will still be in charge for some time

blue eyes (1)

Beuno (740018) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572180)

Yes, exactly what everybody was hoping for, a robot that crashes in the middle of moving around heavy machinery over our heads and spits out blue... eyes?

robotics with PhysX (1)

SebNukem (188921) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572186)

From techreport.com [techreport.com] : "ExtremeTech does point out, however, that Microsoft licensed Ageia's PhysX SDK for an apparently unrelated robotics project." Could the unrelated project be related?

It supports lego... (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572194)

Looks like it works with that expensive lego stuff. Too bad I build all my roobts from scratch user Atmel AVRs and OOPic Microcontrollers. Still worth a try though.

You're No Google Microsoft (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572195)

Microsoft has two and only things to focus on right now:

1) Shoring up their OS monopoly revenue stream

2) Shoring up their office software monopoly revenue stream

Fiddling around with these side projects like this one or the Xbox 360 and Origami disasters are doing nothing to put the company back on a path of stock growth.

Microsoft right now reminds me of a rich person who goes around buying things at the mall to make up for the problems they have going on at home. Even moderate hits to their core monopoly revenue streams will be devastating to the company. They are just barely hitting street estimates for the past year. If they start missing street numbers for multiple quarters in a row they are going to be sitting around up in Redmond wondering what the fuck were we doing fucking around with robots years ago.

I, for one, welcome our new Microsoft-powered... (5, Funny)

cardoso (90714) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572200)

Robotic Overlor-oh, never mind, it crashed...

Re:I, for one, welcome our new Microsoft-powered.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572224)

I think you meant,

"I, for one, welcome our n" ... .... "ew Microsoft-powered Robotic Overlords"

Trouble branching out (3, Insightful)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572213)

Microsoft has been experiencing for several years what Google is only now realizing: They're good at a few things, and that's it. Microsoft, feeling the pinch of having essentially only two major products (Windows and Office), wanted to diversify. While they have a near-monopoly on operating systems and office suites, that's the only market in which they have a large, profitable stake. So they try to branch out. Sometimes, they're more successful, like with their mouses. Sometimes, they're not, if you look at the financials of the Xbox. The problem they face, however, is that the markets they want to branch into are already well established. Crowded, even. So MS throws piles of money at it, hoping that it will work. At the same time, Apple and Linux are starting to make inroads in the desktop and server markets. MS sees their mainstay threatened.

Google is similar. They came up with a great product, their search engine. It was so good that it rapidly took a majority of the market, despite default IE settings. But then they stalled. GMail is good, but has nowhere near the market penetration as their search. Maps, groups, IM, blogs, calendar, spreadsheets...the list goes on. Google has some good products, but they're trying to expand into an already saturated market. And now their flagship product is faltering. Linkfarms, SEOs illegitimately boosting their rankings, and spammers are degrading the quality of Google's results.

Now, we're not talking about a mature industry with human-interactive robots. However, this smells strongly of "We need to find a new way to make money if Windows/Office starts slipping"

Re:Trouble branching out (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572461)

Wow. You laid some groundbreaking business theory that has only been prevalent for the past century or so. MS and Google are attempting to diversify via horizontal markets. The whole being good at one thing and sticking with it is a good thing. They're sticking with their "core competencies". Many companies do not succeed in diversifying. Sun couldn't even diversify to PC's within a similar industry (which was a bad idea, by the way). MS is one of the most successful companies in history (if not the most successful, especially considering the relative newness of the company itself). I don't think that they're all that worried.

Re:Trouble branching out (3, Interesting)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572532)

Microsoft will eventually lose their OS and Office monopolies. They'll fight it tooth and nail, but it's inevitable. I'm not 100% sure what will eventually topple them, but Linux and OpenOffice are my bets. There's just too much momentum behind both. 5 years ago, Linux on a tech resume was rare. These days, I'd say 80% of tech resumes I see have that skill. Also, OO 2.0 is a quantum leap from OO 1.x in terms of reliability and speed. Mix in a strong anti-MS sentiment outside of the US, and increasing 3rd party app support, and you've got all the elements of a downfall in the making.

Microsoft Developing Robotics Software (2, Funny)

magicjava (952331) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572217)

Yippie! Now my robots will be able to be taken over by spyware and used to launch a DoS attack on the CIA, just like my Windows box.

Re:Microsoft Developing Robotics Software (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572446)

Except your spyware robot will actively root through your wallet while you aren't looking, then take naked pictures of you while you sleep and post em on cheap pr0nsites.

Also, when it comes time for DoS attacks, guns will be invovled.

However, if your robot acts up, just be sure to re-install Windows... ...right into it's neural processor... ...with a hammer.
(Warning, this might cause data loss.)

I cannot wait for the glorius new robotic revolution. Just wait for the first botnets, soon we will hav "Robot Zombies." Tell me robot zombies don't among the coolest combaintations ever. (They still don't beat ninja monkies though.)

BSOD (1)

Man of E (531031) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572221)

In the not-so-distant future...

Armed military robots running Windows bring a new meaning to Blue Screen of Death.

At all costs, Please Keep MS away from Robotics (4, Funny)

alexfromspace (876144) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572233)

Please, for the sake of all that is good, for the sake of mankind, please keep M$ away from robotics. Otherwise when the robots do take over, The Matrix will keep being plagued by viruses and spamware and will be down all the time doing windows updates. Imagine your whole world blinking out in one giant BSOD. I wander how many Matrix-trapped humans will suffer instant heart attacks. That would have to be scary, very scary!

Re:At all costs, Please Keep MS away from Robotics (4, Funny)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572372)

And the whole program will start all over from the beggining.
Until the day some program descovers an open source Matrix,
steping outside the loop. To watch is all reset.

hardware? (1)

radicalnerd (930674) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572272)

having a unified software base is nice... but kind of hardware will it control? pretty much any standard motherboard couldn't control a robot right out of the box. it'd need motor controllers and servo outputs and stuff.

IE MS releases Developer Upgrade/Creation Kit (3, Funny)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572292)


  Microsoft today released a beta version for their solution to their ever-shrinking developer workforce: The Developer Upgrade and Creation Kit. Thinly disguised as a "robot modeler" sandbox application, the Developer Upgrade and Creation Kit (DUCK).

Does anyone see the irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572312)

The fact that the head of the robotics division's last name is 'Tandy'?
Guess it's just a clandestine effort of the boys that brought us the TRS-80
to infiltrate the upper echelon of M$ and bring forth a new robot.
The TRS-CAN...otherwise known as Trash Can!!!

What are we going to do tonight, Brain? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572319)

Will the default function for the robot software be 'Kill All Humans'?

Or maybe the robots will actually learn how to feel things: 'Why, why, why did they teach me to feel pain?'

It will end the Blue Screen of Death (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572324)

Replacing it with the always hilarious Bloody Scream of Death. Can't wait to see what funny Sasser-like hijinks ensue from the MS robotics program.

Also ... does Apple have an underground robotics program? Because odds are that's where MS found the idea.

Some day Steve Jobs is going to be pissed. "Their Portable Artificial Assistant Machine looks suspiciously like our iRobot!"

One electrical short and your MS Bender does nothing but lounge around and drink beer all day.

What to look forward to (1)

DaveJay (133437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572339)

I'm looking forward to... ...robots that freeze, mid-stride, for no apparent reason, and need a (re)boot to the head to get moving again; ...robots that get infected by viruses and wander through your house, "deleting" your pets; ...the "Blue Stumble Of Death"

Future slashdot headling (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572340)

"Microsoft Robotics fatalities in the thousands"

Competition for Roomba (5, Funny)

dskoll (99328) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572342)

A well-placed source said that Microsoft's first robotic product would compete with the famous Roomba room-vacuuming robot. The source added that Microsoft's vacuum cleaner would be the first Microsoft product that didn't suck.

I can see it now... (1)

SimpleBinary (976656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572374)

...robots of the future with Microsoft software having to be connected via an ethernet cable and subscription to www.windowsrobotcare.com

OMG (3, Insightful)

infosec_spaz (968690) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572387)

The END in Near! I can see it now...Robots running amok, pulling the heads off of small furry creatures, killing babies, mameing everything in there path, then, BSOD.

What a lame name (1)

notBowen (811056) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572398)

Microsoft Robotics Group? Who's going to buy any crap from a stupid name like that? They need something futuristic and hip, like Cyberdyne Systems.

why so much fuss? (3, Insightful)

Kalinago (978201) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572414)

Microsoft is definitely a newcomer in the territory of designing applications for this market.

On the other hand, most industrial robots for Welding/Automotive/Manufacture production are basically soulless drones that follow repetitive sequences of greater/lesser complexity written in ladder logic or some proprietary language; and the "brains" is generally a PLC. Popular proprietary PLC systems (Rockwell, Siemens) rely on Windows based software to download your ladder logic program and update the firmware. So it's still Windows after all.

So in theory, this is a market where microsoft should not encounter much trouble.

I believe most /.'s are concerned over high end robotics programming; truly making decisions, neural network based, AI, vision controlled ones, path finding...'top of the heap' applications that are non mainstream and limited to research or hi-tech chemical/petroleum/aerospace industries. I don't know much about numbers, but I doubt that this is makes up a significant market share, even today. So I'm betting Microsoft eyes may be set upon the first option, as most plant floor operations are becoming fully automated even in developing countries.

--
forget past mistakes, and condemn yourself to repeat them.

Problem (2, Interesting)

ptelligence (685287) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572420)

The centralized windows style architecture isn't going to work as well for robotics as it has for PCs. (not that I think it works all that well anyway) After reading K. Kelly's Out of Control, I am convinced that decentralized command is the way to go. A bunch of small dumb parts make basic decisions with influence from other parts around them. MS will create an API to capture the mindshare of robotics developers, and it will work, but when they try to port their OS to robots, its going to fail miserably. It will be interesting to see how they try to price it also. If the robots will have multiple processors, do you have to license each arm, leg, and digit controller separately?

It's futile. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572436)

Holy crap! We really WILL be assimilated!

Does anyone still doubt robots? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572439)

I'm just curious- are there still any robotics doubters, skeptics, or nay-sayers out here?

Circa 2000, I didn't believe there would be robots until, at least, say, 2150, 2250, something like that.

6 years later, and I believe that some form of capable & commonplace general purpose robots (manipulators, whether the brain is in the robot or in the walls,) will be around, say, 2020-2040.

When I talk with "normals," I find figures back in the 2150-2250 range. (And the brians are always in the robots; Never in the walls.) They don't think life is going to be much different in 2050 than it is now.

Around here, amongst Slashdot readers, where are your beliefs? And what do you think other people believe?

Do you ever get funny looks, describing your vision of the future of robotics? I'm just curious.

As long as they stay out of law enforcement. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572449)

"Please put down your weapon, you have twenty seconds to comply!"

Uh huh (2, Insightful)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572453)

He cited estimates predicting that consumer robotics alone will grow into a multibillion-dollar industry in five to 10 years."


I remember the last time I heard that, it was... oh, about five or 10 years ago.

TROLL@KORE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572456)

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Microsoft Robotics? Are you crazy? (5, Insightful)

plusser (685253) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572482)

When it comes to robotics, Microsoft need to understand that they are not electromechnical engineers. There have been many "False Dawns" with the idea of robitics in the home, many problems are down to the fact that the robots need to interact with the most illogical lifeform on the planet - Man! When you consider that the market leaders in robots are mainly Japanise Car Manufacturers, whom only build demonstration models to show off how good they are at building robots. I can think of only two companies that have attempted to sell robots in the domestic market, Sony and its err.. Dog, and Dyson with a robotic vacumm cleaner.

The biggest problem with robots in our homes is safety. No only does the robot have to perform complex tasks that may appear easy to humans, but it also has to ensure that humans do not come into danger as a result. With the kind of blame culture in the West, it would be crazy to think that anybody will enter this market without understanding the implications of a lawsuit. That's why robots are good in environments where human access is restricted, such as the factory or on a space mission.

My advice to Microsoft is simple, continue what you are good at - screwing all those companies (especially those with less ethical business practices) with your high priced Operating Systems and Office Solutions for use in business IT systems. Yes, those of us in the know will continually priase Linux or Apple (and save lots of money in the process by buying a more suited product) and maybe think that the XBox is possibly a good product.

However, if Microsoft think they can bring some innovative to the market, they better get in contact with the high reliability electronics market - robots are not going to be consumer devices anyday soon...

Balmer mode? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572493)

Can this software make the robot throw a chair across the room? Asimov had no rule against that.

What's all this about unsafe? (1)

TLouden (677335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572495)

As long as it weighs less than 20kg, has no sharp objects, runs on 12VDC, has nothing combustible, and avoids human contact we're fine.

5 to 10 years? (4, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572501)

He cited estimates predicting that consumer robotics alone will grow into a multibillion-dollar industry in five to 10 years.

The guy who cited these statistics probably agreed that 640K was more memory than anyone would ever need.

First of all, there's simply nothing to base this on. How many households currently have consumer robotics? Percentage-wise, it may as well be 0%, because it's pretty damn close to that. So how can you possibly predict that consumers are going to buy billions of dollars worth of something that doesn't even exist in anything other than a manufacturing, hobbiest, or neat but useless gadget category?

Before you can make a prediction like this, we really ought to see one or two robots that look like they might do something consumers would want. And don't even tell me about the robotic lawn mowers. Show me one that doesn't involve border wires (most people don't want to be bothered) and doesn't have to be monitored so it doesn't run over the dog/cat/baby. Robotic vaccuum cleaners, maybe, but show me one that has enough power to really vaccuum, isn't bound by a cable, and can navigate a staircase.

Sorry, but I simply don't believe we're 5 to 10 years away from robotics being a "multibillion dollar industry". 15, maybe 20, but not 5-10. I just don't see it happening. Robotics simply hasn't progressed all that far in the past 10 years compared to a lot of other consumer electronics (DVRs, computers, iPods, etc)

Microsoft Developing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572511)

Invalid sequence.
Can not compute.
Shutdown eminent.
You have 10 seconds to provide a useful and understandable premise.
9,8,Argh,1.
Shutdown.

Sooo, this was how BORG came into being eh ? (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572513)

They didnt give info on its history in Star Trek. It seems they didnt want to spoil the fun : we are going to see what happens by LIVING it.

I for one welcome our Borg-enabled Bill G (0, Troll)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572517)

but I have to question why our slashdot image of Microsoft remains of a robotic-enhanced Borg Bill Gates, when it should most likely be a Chair-tossing Borg, or some other Microsoft individual, now that Bill has announced he's retiring to run the Gates Foundation instead of Microsoft.

Or should it perhaps be a half-Bill half-???? cyborg mix, or even a two-headed Borg, to represent the transitional state as Bill Borg is phased out in favor of a more chair-tossing-enabled Borg?

That said, all this use of robotics and software will end badly. At least, that's what the Governator of California predicts ...

Safety first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15572526)

Make damn sure the power is off before you get near it. If it crashes or gets infected it might take a swing at you and kill you. If it is a sexbot, your crazy to turn it on as sooner or later it will misinterpret a "reboot" to where to put the boot.

Abort, Retry, Destroy All Humans? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15572551)

Will these be the only choices we're presented with on a hardware failure of our software robots?

Or will we expect to see a Borg Clippy pop and say "I see you're trying to be assimilated. Would you like to comply, or resist futilely?"

If so, remember that kill -9 or kill -all might have additional meaning.
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