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National Instruments Technology Partnership With FIRST Puts Real-World Engineering Tools In Student Hands

ST. LOUIS, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FIRST Championship – FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and National Instruments (Nasdaq: NATI) today 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.  

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130426/DA02671)  

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, vice president 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.

"Support from partners like National Instruments is helping FIRST provide hands-on learning experiences that mirror what students will do in their future careers," said Steve Chism, vice president of programs at FIRST. "We're creating a generation of scientists and engineers ready to confidently take on the challenges facing our world."

Visit www.usfirst.org for more information on all FIRST programs.Visit http://poweredby.labview.com/ to learn about more innovative LabVIEW applications.

About National InstrumentsSince 1976, National Instruments ( www.ni.com) has equipped engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity, innovation and discovery. NI's graphical system design approach to engineering provides an integrated software and hardware platform that speeds the development of any system needing measurement and control. The company's long-term vision and focus on improving society through its technology supports the success of its customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders.

About FIRST ® Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering. Over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies support FIRST. FIRST offers more than $16 million in college scholarships, and hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC ® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC ® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL ®) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL ®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism ® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.

LabVIEW, National Instruments, NI and ni.com are trademarks of National Instruments. FIRST, FRC, Jr.FLL and the FIRST logo are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). LEGO ® is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group.  ©2013 the LEGO Group. Other product and company names listed are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.

Editor Contact: Jessica Kaiser, jessica . kaiser@ni.com, (512) 683-6823

SOURCE National Instruments

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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