SAN JOSE, Calif., May 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ZiLOG(R), Inc., (Nasdaq: ZILG) a leading provider of integrated microcontrollers (MCUs) and universal remote control solutions, today announced that it is providing a range of its award-winning 8-bit microcontroller solutions and development tools to support a team of 30 innovative students from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in their bid to win the 2006 NASA Beam Power Challenge space elevator design competition. The $400,000 NASA-backed competition, part of the larger "Space Elevator:2010" project organized by the Spaceward Foundation, is now in its second year. The project aims to develop a space elevator prototype robot that will be the basis for a commercial space elevator, which would eventually provide transport to and from space at around five per cent of the cost of current methods (i.e., the Space Shuttle). ZiLOG is lending its full support to the UBC's "Team Snowstar" in its bid to win the challenge by supplying its eZ80Acclaim!(R), Z8 Encore! MC(TM) and Z8 Encore!(R) 8-bit MCU solutions and development kits, plus consultation and technical support. Team Snowstar is competing against 19 other teams from around the world in the 2006 Space Elevator Games, which will be held at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, in August. Teams entering the challenge must provide an autonomous, intelligent space elevator robot to climb the cable. It must be powered wirelessly from a ground-based power beaming station. Teams must also design and build a power beaming mechanism to power the climber. Although no team met the prize requirements of the 2005 Challenge, Team Snowstar's machine was among the most successful and was named "Most Likely To Win" in 2006. The MCUs provided by ZiLOG illustrate the versatility of the company's portfolio of products, with each performing a differing but equally critical function within the Snowstar project. The eZ80Acclaim! MCU, for example, will act as the central controller for the robotic vehicle and will provide the main communications interface to the ground to complete the beam control feedback loop. MCUs from the Z8 Encore! family will control subsystems and monitor the photovoltaic cell array, which powers the unit. Finally, a microcontroller from the recently-launched Z8 Encore! MC family will work to control the brushless DC motor that will be used to efficiently climb up the cable. ZiLOG is also supplying Team Snowstar with application development kits, including include evaluation boards, debuggers and ZiLOG's ZDS II Integrated Development Environment, which includes C Compiler. Commenting on ZiLOG's sponsorship of UBC Snowstar, ZiLOG chairman and CEO Jim Thorburn said: "ZiLOG has a long history of commitment to, and support for, educational endeavors and innovative projects -- from design contests to the Hubble telescope. To provide our MCUs and development tools to Team Snowstar for such an exciting project has really caught the imagination of the team here at ZiLOG and shows the multiple applications that our product portfolio is ideally suited for. We wish the team every success and look forward to supporting them further in future." "The support that ZiLOG is providing has been very important to us," added Steven Jones, Leader of Team Snowstar. "Our team required a very reliable solution that would be quick to implement and ZiLOG was able to provide it. The high performance and low footprint of the ZiLOG microcontrollers allow us to meet the demanding requirements of the competition. In addition, the wide range of development kits supplied by ZiLOG are very comprehensive and provide an easy to use development environment, enabling us to complete our system on the bench before our PCBs are made. Our system has a diverse range of requirements and the ZiLOG product line up has solutions for every type of problem that we will face." ZiLOG's involvement with Team Snowstar also drew praise from Ben Shelef, Founder of the Spaceward Foundation. "We are pleased to see ZiLOG as a sponsor for one of the university teams competing in our 2006 Space Elevator Games," said Shelef. "As an educational non-profit organization, we share their view that educating the next generation of engineers and scientists is one of the best ways to keep America at the forefront of emerging technologies." The Space Elevator Concept* -- The Space Elevator is a thin ribbon, with a cross-section area roughly half that of a pencil, extending from a ship-borne anchor to a counterweight well beyond geo-synchronous orbit. -- The ribbon is kept taut due to the rotation of the earth (and that of the counterweight around the earth). At its bottom, it pulls up on the anchor with a force of about 20 tons. -- Electric vehicles, called climbers, ascend the ribbon using electricity generated by solar panels and a ground based booster light beam. -- In addition to lifting payloads from earth to orbit, the elevator can also release them directly into lunar-injection or earth-escape trajectories. -- The baseline system weighs about 1500 tons (including counterweight) and can carry up to 15 ton payloads, easily one per day. -- The ribbon is 62,000 miles long, about three feet wide, and is thinner than a sheet of paper. It is made out of a carbon nanotube composite material. -- The climbers travel at a steady 200 kilometers per hour (120 MPH), do not undergo accelerations and vibrations, can carry large and fragile payloads, and have no propellant stored onboard. -- Orbital debris is avoided by moving the anchor ship, and the ribbon itself is made resilient to local space debris damage. -- The elevator can increase its own payload capacity by adding ribbon layers to itself. There is no limit on how large a Space Elevator can be. *Courtesy of the Spaceward Foundation Further information: 1. To find out more about ZiLOG's portfolio of MCUs and development tools and software, log onto www.zilog.com 2. Further information on Team Snowstar can be found at www.snowstar.ca 3. For more on the Space Elevator Challenge, check out www.elevator2010.org 4. You can find out more about the Spaceward Foundation at www.spaceward.org. About ZiLOG, Inc. ZiLOG, Inc. Founded in 1974, ZiLOG won international acclaim for designing one of the first architectures in the microprocessors and microcontrollers industry. Today, ZiLOG is a leading global supplier of 8-bit micro logic devices. It designs, manufactures and markets a broad portfolio of devices for embedded control and communication applications used in consumer electronics, home appliances, security systems, point of sales terminals, personal computer peripherals, as well as industrial and automotive applications. ZiLOG is headquartered in San Jose, California, and employs approximately 500 people worldwide with sales offices throughout Asia, Europe and North America. For more information about ZiLOG and its products, visit the Company's website at: www.ZiLOG.com. ZiLOG, eZ80Acclaim, Z8 Encore! and Z8 Encore! MC are trademarks or registered trademarks of ZiLOG, Inc. in the United States and in other countries.
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