I just got back from the monthly presentation by the Lake County .Net User Group (LCNUG). The presentation this month described how to use the Microsoft Robotics Developer studio and C# to program remote control devices and robots. It was presented by Min Maung.
My basic reaction... Hot damn! There's a lot of potential here. The guts of the code is a type of web service. This allows many different sorts of controllers to interface with different types of mechanical devices. One of the projects the speaker demoed was a light controlled via wi-fi by an Xbox controller. Another was a remote controlled lawnmower controlled via his smartphone.
Microsoft Robotics Developer includes a visual programming component that allows a developer to quickly link up different controllers, sensors, and other devices. It also includes the ability to write web services that serve as modules and can sit between those devices.
The meeting left me thinking about a number of possible applications, mostly with encryption. It is clearly possible to control an entire house from a computer with each piece having a little microcontroller and a central computer controlling the action. That includes lights, music, vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, just about anything.