National Instruments’ CompactRIO embedded control platform has been selected as the robot controller for the next-generation FIRST Robotics Competition. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders.
Using the CompactRIO platform, high school students will create advanced robots starting in the 2009 FIRST season. Students can program their robots in either the NI LabVIEW graphical programming software or the ANSI C language.
NI is granting FIRST a multimillion in-kind donation over the next five years to provide the CompactRIO system to participating teams. Several key technology suppliers have collaborated with NI to provide in-kind donations of components required to build the CompactRIO control system. They include Analog Devices, Boston Engineering, ChipX, Dove Electronics, Freescale, MSI, Texas Instruments, TTI, Westak, Wind River, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Xilinx.
The CompactRIO platform gives the students access to advanced control capabilities and superior performance, including a 400-MHz PowerPC and FPGA-based I/O. The modular I/O system offers connectivity to a wide array of sensor and actuator options and powerful real-time vision processing. 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 more in-competition control and more accurate designs.