This is not new but still is for a lot of people. If you are looking for a way to get into robotics, Robochamps is the one. It is Microsoft Robotics Challenge using MS RDS.  It provides an excellent learning experience because all tools are free (listed below) and no real/physical robot is needed.

– Free MS Visual Studio 2008n Express Edition

– Free MS Visual Robotics Develop Studio 2008 Express Edition

–  Virtual robots, 3D environments, initial backbone codes  are provided for free.

All you need to do is providing the logic to your robot. Test/debug your robot is a breeze via MS RDS simulator.