Microsoft has launched RoboChamps, a "league" that is built on top of the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (MSRDS) 2008 CTP, and uses that toolkit's physics-enabled simulation environment to remove the barriers of entry that exist for many today. This simulated league provides individuals with immersive 3D environments, simulated versions of robots, and scenario-specific challenges where they can win real robots.
Over the course of the league season, participants will have the opportunity to compete and program simulated robots to complete a number of challenges. These challenges evolve the individual's skill in robotics, and include:
- Navigate a "trap" filled maze
- Explore the surface of the planet Mars in a rover
- Program a car to autonomously navigate a rich city environment, complete with moving traffic and working traffic lights
- Search and rescue in an urban environment hit by an earthquake
- Sumo -- program a robot to compete in a sumo competition where their robot must out-navigate their opponent and push him out of the ring
- Tournament -- program a simulated robotics competition, where participants compete against one another.
At the end of the season, top finalists in the tournament will be flown to PDC 08, where they will take the code they've used in the simulator and apply it to real robots in a live finals competition. Winners will receive prizes. There is no cost to participate in RoboChamps and MSRDS is available at no charge for non-commercial use.