Microsoft believes the demand for consumer, research, and military robots will grow significantly–and it wants to own the market, with Microsoft Robotics Studio (MSRS) and the Institute for Personal Robots in Education (IPRE).

MSRS is a visual programming environment, similar to the LabView-based software provided with LEGO’s Mindstorms NXT kit. It allows users to drag and drop box-like symbols for simple, low-level behaviors and services (such as accessing a sensor) and string them together to create complex robotic programs.

MSRS also uses the AGEIA PhysX physics engine, which powers many PC games, to provide a visual simulation of the robot and its environment, complete with realistic friction, drag, gravity, and other factors.