There is a trend in the robotics community toward Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The thought is that roboticists have spent far too much time reinventing the wheel over the past several decades.
Our contribution in this area is a set of toolboxes, or libraries, that interact with some commonly used robotics hardware. In all cases, we provide the source code (Open Source). While the our code is free, in some cases it relies on a proprietary operating environment (Matlab). However, there are several freeware Matlab clones available (Octave, SciLab). In many cases, universities and robotics researchers already have Matlab site licenses.
While the code is free, be sure to cite it in your publication and presentations!
Matlab Toolbox for the iRobot Create (MTIC)
iRobot's Create is a hackable version of the Roomba vacuum clearer. It provides a nice small scale mobile platform at an extremely reasonable price. This toolbox lets you control the create from a base station PC or laptop running Matlab.
Matlab Toolbox for the Intellitek Scorbot (MTIS)
Prof. Esposito, Wick, Knowles
For decades the Scorbot has been one of the most popular platforms for articulated robotics education. Previous versions had a transparent RS232 interface. The new version utilizes a USB with proprietary device drivers. This toolbox allows you control the USB Scorbot through Matlab.