Microsoft and Arduino Announce Hardware-Support Collaboration

Arduino Maker News
Microsoft and Arduino Announce Hardware-Support Collaboration


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.

Windows Remote Arduino running a weather station (via Arduino)
Windows Remote Arduino running a weather station (via Arduino)

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.

Virtual Shield software linking an Arduino  UNO with a bluetooth connected Lumia (not  shown).
Windows Remote Arduino software linking an Arduino UNO with a bluetooth connected Lumia (not shown).

Teixeira reveals,

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.

Arduino’s surprising booth at Build brought a lot of attention.

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.


19 thoughts on “Microsoft and Arduino Announce Hardware-Support Collaboration

  1. Marco Ramires says:


    1. suedepuma says:

      Why not? Exposing more developers and devices is a good thing yes?

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      2. Charlie says:

        Also , I got my nokia lumia 530 for $20 on sale. $20 for bluetooth, gps, microphone, camera … the list goes on! Being able to use my phone _as_ the sensors … beautiful.

        1. suedepuma says:

          yeah. with the abundance of cheap windows phones out there and the visual studio development environment, the possibilities are endless. This is a great time to be a developer.

        2. Dusty Thompson says:

          Is the 530 a Windows 10 device? I assumed we needed Windows 10.

  2. Peter Hanely says:

    I’d rather use the sensors on my android device. Which has built in processing I can access far in excess of what an arduino offers.

    1. suedepuma says:

      but can your android then control a servo motor, or have GPIO sot that you can control or read other devices outside of the android? Coupling a sensor rich and connected smart phone to a microcontroller is better than just having a microcontroller or smartphone by themselves.

  3. JoeTheProfessor says:

    I wonder if the association with Microsoft contributed to the current “troubles” among the original Arduino developers. Were there deals to be made, souls to be sold, proprietary software to be protected?

    1. Dorothy5463 says:


  4. Zach H says:

    Well hereis a thought. Perhaps you could use a headless Pi2 with W10 w/bluetooth installed to use wireless home automation much easier w/o the fuss of WiFi?

    1. suedepuma says:

      yeah. this is pretty cool to use Bluetooth to control. you can do really low power Bluetooth stuff. What I would like to see is that they then extend this to something like where you can communicate to a “gateway” Arduino via Bluetooth from Pi2 with W10, and then that gateway Arduino can then talk over super cheap NRF24L01 radios to a mesh network of Arduino sensors is really cool.
      Adding W10 to the picture with a c# based development environment can really open data collection and control. pushing and pulling data to web services in Azure and storing in SQL server is a nice touch.
      not only could you do home automation, but you could extend this to a more commercial applications like controlling agricultural environments, property management of large office spaces and structures, etc.

  5. Scott Godin says:

    So Micro$oft can’t build a community, so they buy one. Sounds perfectly in line their normal business practices. Also, M$ announced a new 3d printer file format. How much do you want to it will be infested DRM and other proprietary licensing crap.

    Moves make me fear for the future of the Maker movement!

    1. suedepuma says:

      you know. using a dollar sign to replace the “s” in Microsoft or MS is so 90’s. I think this is a good thing. this opens microcontroller (IoT) development to so many more people.

      1. Scott Godin says:

        The Arduino IDE is readily available on Linux, OS X, and Window for some time now. So, saying this opens MCUs more then the prior state of openness is a bit silly. There is nothing north of the North Pole.

        As to the usage of the ‘$’ sign, MS core culture is still driven greed and power, and this is but another attempt gain control. The scorpion stings because it is its nature. We should not suppose them in riding on the backs of the open source community.

        1. suedepuma says:

          well, the virtual shield is pretty cool. I was one of the kickstarter funders for 1sheeld which does this in the android environment. but now, MSFT has created a virtual shield capability with only needing a Bluetooth or serial connection, and you can then use windows 10 as your virtual shields. that is pretty nice for prototyping and even deploying.

          Using visual studio does add a lot of openness to the many visual studio c# developers out there. right now, you can use Visual Micro, but that still sticks you in the Arduino “c-like” language. and you don’t get all the great step-by-step debugging, etc. that you would get in a normal visual studio environment.

          as to the core culture of MSFT being greed driven, do you know anyone at MSFT? I do, and I think that people working there are just like the rest of us. trying to do cool things and make a living at it. as for the company, they are like any other corporation. they are out to produce profit. if not, why be in business.

          And whether you like it or not, MSFT’s recent moves with driving .NET to open source (while there might be motives there), make them one of the most open large companies out there.

          Take it for what you will, but a blanket statement about greed is also a “bit silly”

          1. Scott Godin says:

            I think MSFT track record is pretty clear as to what it core values are.

            Focusing in the technical aspects, C#/.NET brings nothing new, and nothing more open to the game. The Netduino tried this already. Additionally, have you ever tried to step in MSFT library code for .NET, like the serial port? All you get is a pile of IL code that you can’t modify. Nothing open about that.

            If you are at point in learning embedded system development that you really require debugging and want to stick with Arduino hardware, go download AVR Studio( and buy AVR Dragon JTAG interface (

          2. suedepuma says:

            I really don’t think that anything is clear about core values. I think this is a subjective thing. certain people hate MSFT, others love them. I am not here to change anybody’s mind, but the MSFT of the 90’s is different than the MSFT of today. But I am not here for a fight. I like competition. and lots of choices (unlike what we had in the 90’s when MSFT dominated).
            there are a lot of c# developers out there. the more the merrier. open source isn’t about making a private club to keep MSFT out of it.

            as to Netduino, that is actually a pretty good environment if you are a .NET developer. I have done a lot of great projects by prototyping first on a Netduino, then using a finished product in the commercial world. I am not sure if you are more into the hobbiest market, but from my experience, c# and visual studio speeds your time to delivery quite a bit. and with something like Netduino (and the MinWin on Galileo as well as W10 on RP2) will give you that step by step debugging as well as easy connectivity to networking services for collecting data and controller functions.
            again, I am not here for a fight. Keep working in what makes you feel comfortable. I just don’t think that there is anything ominous going on here. IBM has been in the IoT world with MQTT since at least 1999. so, it isn’t anything new to have big companies getting into this space.
            Also, I think that a lot of the hobbyist folks look at Arduino as an end product. And while it can be an end product for one offs or small runs, many of us use Arduino as a great prototyping tool. we can do quick development and once we get it to a point, we can then send it to production where we implement just the needed pieces of the Arduino (and functions from virtual shields) into a single board so that we can do larger runs and a cheaper price.

  6. John Daniels says:

    I like the idea. I wish that Android would do the same. Maybe there is already a build of Android out there that does this. Does anyone know of one? I’d gladly change my Android version to get this compatibility.

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I love to tinker and write about electronics. My days are spent building projects and working as a Technical Editor for MAKE.

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