FIRST selects National Instruments' CompactRio for robot control system

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FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a non-profit US organisation encouraging young people to be science and technology leaders, has selected National Instruments' (NI) CompactRio embedded control platform as its next-generation FIRST Robotics Competition robot controller. More than 42,000 students in the competition will develop advanced robotics applications using the NI control.

NI is making a multimillion-dollar in-kind donation over the next five years to FIRST to provide the CompactRio system to participating teams.

'Our goal is to have a FIRST team in every high school and to change the culture to celebrate excellence in science and engineering the same way we celebrate sports,' said Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST and president of DEKA Research and Development Corporation. 'It's the support of partners like NI that is helping FIRST make that goal a reality.'

The CompactRio platform gives high school students access to advanced control capabilities. Students will be able to create robots that may be driver-controlled or run in fully autonomous mode using the latest technologies including wireless monitoring and simulation for greater in-competition control and more accurate designs.

FIRST engages and encourages students to discover the excitement of science and engineering through a range of robotics competitions including Junior FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Technical Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition. With the partnership between NI, LEGO and FIRST, 150,000 students in all FIRST competitions will have access to programming platforms that provide an introduction to technology in an exciting, hands-on learning environment.