Those of you who have read Outside Innovation will recall the story about the partnership between LEGO and National Instruments (brokered by Dr. Chris Rogers who promotes engineering in elementary/primary school curricula, catalyzed by a kids’ robotics competition in Austin, Texas, and cemented during a rain-soaked soccer game). As a result, Dr. Truchard, (“Dr. T”), National Instruments’ founder and chairman, authorized an innovative partnership to embed NI’s $2,000 LabVIEW software platform into the software that would be sold as part of a $200 Mindstorms NXT kit to kids and teachers.
Photo by: usfirst.org
On April 17th, National Instruments took a further leap in extending its market to the younger set. They announced a partnership with FIRST to provide the robotics controllers (hardware and firmware) to be used in the robotics kits for the FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC)—the robotics league for High School kids. This is a multimillion dollar in-kind donation.
So now National Instruments is providing hardware as well as software,
and it is extending its reach from 8-year-old engineers through to high
school age kids.
The benefit to the kids is that this new platform will be less expensive, reducing the cost of the kits from approximately $15,000 down to closer to $2,000. (Each team has to raise the money to purchase the robotics’ kit they’ll need each year.)