Interviews

Talking Robots: Tandy Trower

Posted 7 Dec 2007 at 12:57 UTC (updated 7 Dec 2007 at 19:36 UTC) by mwaibel Share This

Ever since this Scientific American article we know that Microsoft has big plans for robotics - seeing the 80s PC industry mirrored in today's robotics industry. The latest Talking Robots episode interviews Tandy Trower, who has led his small team of 12 to develop the Microsoft Robotics Studio in less than two years. Launched in 2006, Microsoft's move into robotics has stayed true to the well-honed MS strategy of not releasing source code of key components and of patenting technology. As Tandy will tell you, MS does provide what they call an "open software promise", which basically amounts to a free license of the software, making it easy to distribute - a vital step in gaining a large user base. According to Tandy, the key to success is "accessibility of technology" - and I tend to agree. With an incredibly diverse field like robotics, spanning kid's toys to care-takers for the elderly and small-budget gimmicks to multi-million industrial machines, the user base can and should, but must be able to drive the development. Tandy hopes to unite this large and diverse user-base and enable it. He wants to catalyze the robotic revolution that - let's face it - we all know will happen. Microsoft as a key player in robotics - long awaited savior or worst nightmare? Listen to Tandy and judge for yourself.

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