SAN JOSE, Calif. — Freescale Semiconductor Inc. announced its Make It Challenge Tuesday, May 3, at the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley.
Engineers enter the contest by enrolling in a hands-on workshop, where they will receive a free biped robot studded with Freescale sensors with which to create a unique mechatronics application. Up to 100 robot builders, plus 100 more in a parallel systems track, will share a $12,000 purse. And a single grand prize winner, selected as the "Best in Show" from among contestants in both tracks, will receive a VIP motorsports weekend for two adults to the NASCAR "Sprint Cup" (or similar event) including admission, accommodations, pit-pass and $200 gift card for incidentals. The "Make It Challenge" will be held at the Freescale Technology Forum (June 20-22 in San Antonio, Texas). Registration is available through Freescale's website.
“Our design challenge gives engineers an opportunity to demonstrate unique ways to integrate sensors into applications,” said Eric Gregori, Freescale firmware/software engineer. “The robot track will give them everything they need to create a mechatronics application that combines mechanical, electrical, control and software engineering.”
The Freescale Robot (FreeBot) is a 4-degree-of-freedom biped walking robot controlled by a Tower mechatronics board housing a 32-bit ColdFire microcontroller, 64k of RAM and 512k of flash. Four pulse-width-modulated RC servos work the leg mechanics for the FreeBot, with accelerometer, touch and other Freescale Xtrinsic sensors available by virtue of plug-in daughterboards.
Contestants will have access to the entire Freescale development software suite during the workshop. The robot track will introduce the RobotSee language, a scripting language that is as easy to use as BASIC, but with the utility of C, according to Gregori, who will be the workshop presenter.
“If you know C, then you can use the whole CodeWarrior Development Studio. But if you don’t, then RobotSee is very easy to use, and we'll have example code that already makes the robot walk, talk and access its various sensors," said Gregori.
The Make It Challenge live competition will take place at the Freescale Technology Forum, slated for June 20-23 in San Antonio. Judges will include EE Joe Grand, former host of Discovery Channel's “Prototype This!” and current president of Grand Idea Studio Inc. (San Francisco).