TechInsights Announces the 'Great 8' Designs in the Microchip PIC32 Design Challenge, Winners to be Announced at ESC Silicon Valley

Innovative, social-networking community for engineers worldwide has generated more than 5,700 members; Total prize value of more than $200,000.

Feb 17, 2009

TechInsights, the daily source of essential business and technical information for the electronics industry, today announced the top eight designs in the Microchip PIC32 Design Challenge ( This announcement marks the start of the fourth and final phase of this year-long contest, which is sponsored by Microchip Technology Inc. and Digi-Key Corporation, as the exclusive distributor. Three final winners will be announced April 1st at the Embedded Systems Conference in Silicon Valley. More than 5,700 community members rated and voted to select the top eight designs submitted during this international competition. To review the "Great 8" design finalists, visit

The objective of the four-phase Design Challenge is to foster a social community where designers build, test and display their designs through the use of blogs, videos and forums. The interactive community consists of registered members and contestants. Registered members are able to rate and vote on each contestant's design according to the design value criteria, post blogs and participate in the member forums. Members can also post comments and suggestions in the contestant blogs and profiles to help them advance their designs. Each week, community members are eligible for prizes based on their participation and activity within the PIC32 Design Challenge community.

The first phase of the contest generated 396 abstracts, of which 126 designs were selected to develop their hardware for Phase 2. The top 32 contestants then moved on to Phase 3 to complete their software design. And now the remaining eight contestants begin Phase 4, the Final Prototype Phase. These contestants will receive a PIC32 prize package, which includes the Intronix 34 Channel LA1034 Logicport Logic Analyzer, (retail value $389). Industry partners are also providing the following prizes: Micrium: Permanent license version of uC/Probe (retail value $995) and a Total Phase: I2C Development Kit (retail value $550).

Contestants of the Design Challenge rely on Microchip's PIC32 Starter Kit, an easy to use, all-in-one module (retail $49) based on the high performance Microchip PIC32 32-bit Microcontroller. A set of three industry expert judges, as well community members, vote during the challenge to see who "survives" and wins prizes that help contestants continue their contest journey. The winning contestant will receive a home theater system valued at $8000 and a trip to ESC Silicon Valley 2009 The total value of prizes for members and contestants throughout the contest exceeds $200,000.

"Watching the designs evolve from an abstract in Phase 1 to designing the hardware in Phase 2 to the software in Phase 3 has been exciting. It was nice to 'meet' the contestants and get to know them better as they were posting video blogs and sharing ideas with the community along the way," said Richard Nass, Director of Content/Media at TechInsights and Challenge judge. "Selecting 8 contestants to move on to the next phase was very difficult, because the 32 designs chosen in Phase 3 were so creative and the community members were so passionate about their favorite designs."

Terry West, PIC32 Marketing Manager at Microchip agrees. "Watching the community interact over these ten months has been entertaining and insightful. The personal aspect of this challenge is so unique. We've seen the contestants and community members alike, share their frustrations, excitement and innovation in the forums. We've watched their designs progress in their videos. We've read their blogs... and we've cheered for them along the way! The community has also been so supportive in helping contestants when they needed it. I'm very proud to be involved with such a great community and look forward to watching the Great 8 evolve in the final Phase 4, prototype. I speak for all of the judges in saying that we can't wait to meet the top five designers at ESC on April 1 and announce the three winners!"

"This phase certainly challenged the contestants to not only design the hardware for their design, but market them to gain community votes. The selection for the top 8 has been difficult because of the commendable effort and thought that was put into each project. I look forward to meeting the top 5 designers at ESC this spring," added Scott Wing, Director of Technical Support at Digi-Key.

  For contest rules and eligibility requirements, visit

  About TechInsights

TechInsights is the daily source of essential business and technical information for the electronics industry's decision makers - the Creators of Technology - that define, develop, and bring to market the electronic products that improve our lives. With global market leading brands such as EE Times, Semiconductor Insights, TechOnline, Embedded Systems Conferences and Portelligent, TechInsights is the leading dedicated information and services business serving the global electronics market. For more information, please visit TechInsights is a division of United Business Media (, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

About Microchip Technology

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality. For more information, visit the Microchip website at

About Digi-Key Corporation

One of the world's fastest growing distributors of electronic components, Digi-Key has earned its reputation as an industry leader through its total commitment to service and performance. As a full-service provider of both prototype/design and production quantities of electronic components, Digi-Key has been ranked #1 for Overall Performance for 16 consecutive years from among the nation's more than 200 distributors (EE Times Distribution Study/ May 2007). Offering more than a million products from over 400 quality name-brand manufacturers Digi-Key's commitment to inventory is unparalleled. Access to the company's broad product offering is available 24/7 at Digi-Key's top-rated website,


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