Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 5 (RDS 5) is a Windows-based environment for hobbyist, academic and commercial developers to create robotics applications for a variety of hardware platforms. RDS includes a lightweight REST-style, service-oriented runtime, a set of visual authoring and simulation tools, as well as tutorials and sample code to help get started.

RDS includes the following components:

  • CCR - Concurrency and Coordination Runtime
  • DSS - Decentralized Software Services
  • VPL - Visual Programming Language
  • VSE - Visual Simulation Environment
  • Samples, Tutorials and Documentation

Reference Platform Design

This release introduces the concept of a Reference Platform. This includes a Hardware Reference Platform Design Document that is freely available and can be used as the basis for real robots. By following the design, manufacturers and end-users alike can take advantage of the services provided with RDS to simplify their development efforts. The following photo shows an early Reference Platform robot as well as a 3D model of another Reference Platform robot.

Kinect Sensor Support

This release of RDS includes support for the Kinect Sensor. Services are included for both real and simulated Kinect sensors.

With the strong dependency on the Kinect for Windows SDK, RDS has moved to a release schedule that follows the Kinect for Windows releases. This is necessary in order to guarantee compatibility with Kinect for Windows. Consequently this release, RDS 4, is designed to work with Kinect for Windows SDK V1. If there are breaking changes made in future versions of Kinect for Windows then an update to RDS might be required.


Important: Make sure you have the latest service pack and critical updates for Windows 7. To find recent security updates, visit Windows Update.

  • Install the version of Visual Studio 2010 with C# if you plan to write new services for RDS
  • Install Kinect for Windows SDK V1
  • Install Silverlight 4.0 SDK
  • Click the Download button on this page to start the download
  • Do one of the following:
    • To start the installation immediately, click Run.
    • To save the download to your computer for installation at a later time, click Save. (Recommended)
    • To cancel the installation, click Cancel.
  • Answer the prompts. Note that the CCR and DSS Runtime will be installed first as well as some pre-requisites. RDS requires .NET 4.0 but does not install it because this comes with Visual Studio. If you want to remove RDS later, you must also remove the CCR and DSS Runtime afterwards.
  • When the installation is complete, look in the Start Menu under Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 and run Build All Samples. This is a separate manual step that takes several minutes.