​Windows 10 gets 'Arduino-certified' with two new open source libraries

Arduino developers can now take advantage of cheap sensors and processing capabilities in Windows 10 devices to add new features to projects.

Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be installed on one billion devices in the next three years, and as of today, Arduino and Raspberry Pi devices can become part of that.

Alongside the much anticipated Insider Preview of Windows 10 IoT Core for Pi 2 devices, Microsoft has released a range of tools in the Arduino-certified Windows 10 that act as a bridge between the Universal Windows Platform and Arduino hardware.

Microsoft hopes Android and iOS developers will use the Universal Windows Platform to bring their apps to Windows. The platform is a superset of WinRT, the Windows 8 and Windows RT runtimes that sit on top of the Windows Core.

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In the context of Windows 10 for Arduino, developers that build a security camera with motor controls powered by Arduino can use the Universal Windows Platform to flesh out other core capabilities, such as the user interface, a connection to the cloud, motion detection, and facial and voice recognition.

To support Arduino, Microsoft has released Windows Virtual Shield for Arduino that allows developers to access sensors within Windows 10 devices, such as a $70 Lumia 530, which might be cheaper than buying the same sensors independently.

"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," Steve Teixeira, the Windows IoT team director of program management, said .

The second key tool is Windows Remote Arduino, which again lends capabilities in Windows 10 devices to Arduino devices, including a Windows 10 device's image processing, speech recognition, website parsing, cameras, and audio. According to Teixeira, developers can "extend their extend their Universal Windows Application with Arduino commands that execute on a wirelessly-connected Arduino device".

For developers concerned about Microsoft's tendency towards proprietary software, Arduino says that both tools are available as open source libraries.

The Pi preview release, meanwhile, brings direct access to hardware capabilities, remote debugging, and management features for Raspberry Pi 2 devices.

Of course, the preview isn't a finished product and so Pi 2 developers will notice some missing drivers and "rough edges", but Microsoft is keen to get feedback from developers ahead of its commercial release.

"We'll be incorporating the feedback we receive into regular software updates along with additional drivers, bug fixes, and new features," said Teixeira.

A more stable version of the Pi 2 is expected later this summer, when it's scheduled for general availability.

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