February 2, 2011

X-View #2: MSRS

Hello all! I'm going to start this by saying that this is a mix between a review and a tutorial. It's more of an overview, and a compare/contrast chart to NXT-G. Hope you like it!

What is MSRS???

MSRS is Microsoft's own robotic studio.  It's meant for the non-programmer, but advanced programmers will like it too!  Like NXT-G, it is a visual "language".  It has a "Sequence Beam", Variables, Data blocks, and MORE!  MSRS can also allow you to control many robots other than the NXT (such as the iRobot Roomba, etc.).  It also has other "services" (basically "sensor blocks") that can do various interesting things on the computer, or to your robot.  Have a pop-up window appear, have a desktop joystick to control your robot, webcam support, speech recognition support, and MANY more!

Is it like NXT-G in many ways?

Yes.  Actually, when I first used it, I was surprised on how easy it was to adapt from NXT-G.  NXT-G has sequence beams, MSRS has wires.  MSRS's wires double as data wires for NXT-G too in some ways!  NXT-G has MyBlocks MSRS has Activity's

Is there anything that is difficult to learn in MSRS?

Kind of.  MSRS has, what's called a DSS (Decentralized Software Services) node which let's you run the program.  Setting it up can be a pain, but if you're an administrator on your computer, it's relatively easy.

What are some cool features in MSRS that NXT-G doesn't have?

LOTS!  MSRS has one of my most FAVORITE features of all time...a Simulation Engine!  With this, you can control a LEGO TriBot or an iRobot Roomba in a controlled environment.  Complete with built-in physics, objects you can add (called "Entity's"), and, depending on you program, you can control it from on your desktop!  No hardware required.

Another cool feature is the desktop joystick.  If you're like me, all of your desk space is cluttered with stuff (whether it be LEGO's, computer monitors, or anything!).  That's where the desktop joystick comes in really handy!  You can control your robot with just a move of the mouse!

Something I wanted to add to the Simulation details is, you can also add a motor base with a few sensors: Webcam, Color Sensor, Laser Range Finder (LRF), Light Sensor, Sonar, Infrared, Compass, and GPS.

Can we see some pictures?

YES!  Here they are!

[caption id="attachment_663" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Simulated TriBot with Desktop Joystick to control it"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_662" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A Simple "Hello World" program"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_661" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Simulated joystick porgram"][/caption]

Where can we get MSRS?

You can get it at the MSRS home page (called Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio there).

Hope you liked this review!  Want more X-Views?  Contact me at jojoguy10 (at) lego-x.com to give me some ideas!



No comments:

Post a Comment