USA: FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and National Instruments announced they are extending their technology partnership through 2019 with the shared goal of creating more scientists and engineers.
FIRST engages young people in exciting mentor-based robotics programs that celebrate science and technology, inspire innovation, and foster self-confidence and communication skills. NI provides the real-world engineering tools that power these programs.
This phase of the technology partnership centers around the creation of a next-generation embedded robotics control platform code-named “Athena.” Athena is a super-rugged, reconfigurable controller that, when paired with NI LabVIEW system design software, makes it possible for FIRST teams to design real systems faster than ever. Students will use Athena starting in the 2015 season of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).
Starting with Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL), which is the entry-level program in a Progression of Programs at FIRST for youths ages 6 to 18, students use tools powered by LabVIEW to intuitively learn embedded control and robotics programming concepts. As students advance through these four robotics programs, access to tools that scale with each skill level is essential to their success. Athena, which is programmable with LabVIEW, gives high school students experience with the same tools they will use throughout college and in their science and engineering careers.
“We’re excited to extend our technology partnership with FIRST to continue pursuing the shared goal of creating more scientists and engineers,” said Ray Almgren, VP of corporate marketing at National Instruments. “We believe the combination of LabVIEW and this next-generation controller will continue making programming more accessible to all students.”
Through a donation from NI, FIRST will provide these next-generation robotics systems to participating teams starting in 2015. This donation provides hardware for all existing and “rookie” FRC teams over a five-year period. NI also currently provides LabVIEW software to all FRC teams. Students in FIRST will use the same hardware and software platform professional engineers currently use to create applications in virtually every industry, from testing smartphones to launching spaceships.