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Freescale Semiconductor inspires Next Generation of Engineers as Gold Supplier of the FIRST Robotics Competition


Austin, TX . – Freescale Semiconductor Inc. announced today that it is joining forces with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, as a Gold Supplier of the FIRST Robotics Competition.

As a FIRST Robotics Competition Gold Supplier, Freescale provided FIRST with its MPC5200 Power microprocessors. These microprocessors are embedded in the FIRST robotics control system, a National Instruments compact RIO, which was distributed to more than 1,680 teams of high school students.

“For 18 years, the FIRST organization has been working to create a culture where students not only emulate leaders in science, technology, and engineering, but also realize the potential within themselves to someday be one of those pioneers,” said FIRST President Paul R. Gudonis. “Freescale is helping to instill those values and beliefs in today’s youth. Like FIRST, Freescale aims to excite students about pursuing careers in engineering.”

By providing components for the competition, FIRST suppliers are putting the latest technology in the hands of students, giving them the opportunity to apply the same tools used by professional scientists and engineers and ultimately helping them learn real-world skills they will carry into the workplace. The 2009 Kit of Parts each student in the competition receives contains 604 items, 39 percent of which are donated.

”Freescale is proud to be a supplier to FIRST,” said Andy Mastronardi, director of Freescale’s University Programs. “Our microprocessor technology will help enable students to be innovative in the competition and hopefully excite them about pursuing a career in science, mathematics, engineering or related fields of study.”

Since 1992, FIRST has brought the excitement of a sporting event to science and technology via robotics competitions. On January 3, the organization unveiled the annual engineering challenge to teams, who also received a kit of parts made up of motors, batteries, a control system, and a mix of automation components – but no instructions. Working with mentors, students have just six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots in preparation for regional events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

More than 42,000 students from 10 countries will design and build robots to compete in regional events with winners advancing to the FIRST Championship in Atlanta, Georgia, April 16-18, 2009. Participating students are eligible to apply for more than $9 million in scholarships offered by leading universities, colleges, and companies.


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