Matt Trossen spoke at the recent RoboDevelopment conference on the need for standards as robot and computer technology merge in the coming years. He described his vision for open robotics standards which includes an XML-based Robot Object Model describing sensor and actuator interfaces. He also addressed a question from the audience on Microsoft's recent entry into robotics and their apparent intention to proprietize the field, which would put them at odds with development of standards. Trossen expressed his hope that Microsoft will accept community developed standards rather than oppose them. His full talk is available as a 10 part collection of YouTube videos For more details on existing XML standards in the field of robotics, see the SensorML sensor definition language and Maxim Makatchev's RoboML proposal. There's also PSU's XRCL project (PDF format).