Microsoft seems to be getting more and more Maker friendly, and today their courtship moves further forward with the surprise announcement of two new collaborations with microcontroller makers Arduino.
Both projects, announced at the Microsoft developer conference Build, involve Windows 10, and both usher in a new level of Microsoft engagement with the Maker Movement.
Windows Virtual Shields
The first is Windows Virtual Shields for Arduino, which enables Arduino sketches to access the built-in sensors on Nokia Lumia phones. All that’s required is an Arduino UNO, a bluetooth module, a supported phone, and usage of the VirtualShield library and functions.
As Microsoft’s Steve Teixeira explains,
Windows Virtual Shield for Arduino enables developers to tap into the incredible power of Windows 10 devices through wireless protocols. A Lumia 530 contains well over $200-worth of Arduino shield sensors and capabilities, and we’ve made it easy to access all of those sensors and capabilities from an Arduino as if they were standard hardware shields. Imagine being able to create an Arduino project that includes GPS, Web connectivity/parsing, touch display, speech technologies and more. We’re particularly fond of the picture the weather project we’ve created that lets you bring your children’s drawings to life.
Windows Remote Arduino
The second is Windows Remote Arduino, which enables an Arduino with bluetooth dongle to wirelessly access Windows 10 devices.
With Windows Remote Arduino we’re enabling developers to extend their Universal Windows Application with Arduino commands that execute on a wirelessly-connected Arduino device. It combines the power of Windows 10 device features such as image processing, speech recognition, website parsing, cameras and advanced audio pipelines with the power of physical world interactivity through Arduino. Take a look at our Basic Windows Remote Arduino project to learn how to leverage this technology in your own projects.
Overall this is a big move for both companies. Arduino gets support from arguably the largest software company on the planet — a fantastic validation of their now-10-year-old mission. Microsoft, on the other hand, gets another connection to a fervent and still-growing community of prototypers. This, along with their support of the new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and the MinnowBoard Max, indicate their desire to support making developing in hardware as scalable and easy as they’ve made developing in software.