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Vol. XXVI, 4th Quarter
October – December 2008

Engineering and design competition for students launched

A COMPETITION DESIGNED to mine the best engineering and design skills among Filipino college students is on. Now on its 8th year, the Microcontroller Design and Application Contest has two categories such as “Open Design” and “Mobot” or mobile robot races.

“The long term objective of the MADC is to foster the growth of small and medium-scale industries in the local electronics industry. By doing so, we can help the country capture part of the growing world market for design and manufacture of electronic products,” explains Luis Sison, the 2009 MADC steering committee chairperson and co-founder of the competition.

Open design entries may include applications in cellphone, PDA, Ir, Bluetooth; keyboard, mice, remote control, biometrics; CAN/LIN/SUB; Ethernet; memory devices; virtual instrumentation; power management; powerline communications; barcode and scanners; and ideas or devices with immediate industry impact.

The three awards at stake are “Most Commercializable”, “Leading Edge”, and “Most Promising Team”. The Mobot Races include line following and maze traversal.

A microcontroller is a computer-on-a-chip commonly used in automatically controlled products and devices like automobile engine control systems, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, and toys. It contains a central processing unit far less powerful than that in desktop or laptop. It is suitable for many commercial products because of its small size and affordability.

In 1999, Alex Sy of Alexan Commercial Inc., and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.--Philippine Section initiated MADC. The non-profit IEEE (www.ieee.org) is the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology with over 370,000 members including 80,000 students in 160 countries.

In 2002, Zilog Electronics Philippines Inc.’s partnership with IEEE started to further promote the program’s objectives among schools and universities in the Philippines. Zilog (www.zilog.com) is a design center of the US-based semiconductor company founded in 1974 by Federico Faggin, the inventor of the world’s first microprocessor. ZEPI is Zilog’s test

engineering and shared services facility in the Philippines.

ZEPI’s major contributions to MADC include provision of Zilog development kits to partner schools and universities, and support for training workshops. In 2008, the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology, an agency under the Department of Science and Technology joined MADC as major sponsor.

Competing teams in previous years were those from Adamson University, Ateneo de Manila University, Mindanao State University-General Santos City, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Rogationist College (Cavite), University of Baguio, University of the Philippines Diliman, and Wesleyan University-Philippines (Cabanatuan).

The 2009 MADC was launched at the University of the Philippines North S&T Park along Commonwealth Avenue in Diliman last September 25. Zilog Worldwide Director for Applications Engineering Dahmane Dahmani, and Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo Ebora shared their thoughts during the event.

Judging for the open design entries is February 20 next year while the Mobot Races will happen the following day. Both events will be held at the SM Mall of Asia’s Science Discovery Center in Pasay City.

[For contest guidelines and other details, contact the MADC secretariat at madcsecretariat@yahoo.com]
[S&T Media Service]