Heard in the Channel: FIRST Robotics Competition is in full swing

Feb. 19, 2013
Newark element14 sponsors Maryland high school team for third straight year

The 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition kicked off in early January, and high school teams from around the country are now busy working on their entries for this year’s events, which run through April, culminating in the championship April 24-27 in St. Louis.

FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—is a worldwide program designed to get high school students interested in science, technology and engineering. Founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, the program has grown to include events for middle and elementary school students as well. For the flagship FRC competition, high schools around the country form teams that design a robot that can achieve a particular task, determined each year by FIRST organizers. This year’s competition is titled “Ultimate Ascent,” a robotics disc game similar to soccer, where robots score goals both with and without operating inputs from the teams. The match ends with robots attempting to climb as high as possible up pyramids in the center of the field.

FIRST teams depend on sponsors to create their robots, and the industrial and electronics communities have a history of helping out. For the third straight year, Newark element 14 is one of those companies, sponsoring Team Ursa Major from Hammond High School in Columbia, Md. Team Ursa has six weeks to design, build, program and test their robots for competition. Newark element14 is donating the components and tools the team needs to develop their robot and is encouraging them to use additional resources on the element14 community as well.

“We’re excited to support Team Ursa and the goals of FIRST,” said Tamara Jurgenson, senior vice president, marketing, Newark element14. “We invite FIRST participants to use the resources of our collaborative element14 engineering community, which offers everything from the latest Raspberry Pi  project to deep technical information and advice from experts.”

In other industry news:

  • Avnet Electronics Marketing and TE Connectivity are celebrating 25 years of partnering to provide OEM customers with connectivity solutions. Avnet marked the anniversary by making a donation to the FIRST Robotics Competition in TE’s name.
  • Avnet EM also received a new award, the Americas Region Distributor of the Year Award from Molex.
  • Interconnect distributorBTC Electronic Components announced it is now stocking and building application-specific Printed Circuit Tail Connectors in 48 hours.
  • Peerless Electronics launched a value-added services website highlighting its varied service offering, which includes switch, relay and circuit breaker panels, connector marking and cable assemblies, terminal block modification and more.

And in other news, distributors and manufacturers announced some new distribution agreements:

  • Components Direct, an authorized distributor of excess and end-of-life electronic components, announced the immediate availability of Nvidia GeForce 9800 plus additional graphic processor units from NVIDIA.
  • Distributor Master Electronics signed a new distribution agreement with Panasonic Industrial Devices Sales Company of America, expanding its business with Panasonic to include the company’s passive component offering.


Don’t miss these upcoming industry events:

23rd Annual North American Research Symposium on Purchasing and Supply Chain Management (NARS)
March 14-15, 2013
Phoenix/Chandler, AZ

CARTS International
March 25-28

EDS 2013
May 6-9
Las Vegas

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About the Author

Victoria Fraza Kickham | Distribution Editor

Victoria Kickham is the distribution editor for Electronic Design magazine, SourceESB and GlobalPurchasing.com, where she covers issues related to the electronics supply chain. Victoria started out as a general assignment reporter for several Boston-area newspapers before joining Industrial Distribution magazine, where she spent 14 years covering industrial markets. She served as ID’s managing editor from 2000 to 2010. Victoria has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in English from Northeastern University.