SAN FRANCISCO, July 28 /PRNewswire/ --

- Innovative, social-networking community for engineers worldwide generated nearly 400 designs; Total prize value of more than US$200,000

TechInsights announced today the top 128 designs at the start of Phase II in the Microchip PIC32 Design Challenge (, a year-long contest and community sponsored by Microchip Technology Inc. and Digi-Key Corporation as the exclusive distributor. Nearly 400 designs were submitted in this international competition.

The objective of the four-phase Design Challenge is to foster a social community where designers can build, test and display their designs through the use of blogs, videos and forums. The interactive community is made up of community members and contestants. Registered members of the community have the ability 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 community.

The Top 128 contestants will be awarded a PIC32 prize package including a PIC32 Starter Kit, a PIC32 I/O Expansion Board, a Prototyping Board, webcam, plus a collection of Microchip analog and memory components. Several third parties will also reward top contestants with a non-commercial use object code license of SEGGER's embOS; a 90-day evaluation license of the C Compiler for PIC32 from HI-TECH Software for use in the MPLAB IDE; as well as a 40 percent discount on Newnes' Programming Microcontrollers in C: Exploring the PIC32 book.

Contestants of the Design Challenge will rely on Microchip's PIC32 Starter Kit, an easy to use, all-in-one, PIC32-based module (US$49 value). A set of three industry expert judges, as well community members, will 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 US$8000 and a trip to ESC Silicon Valley 2009 (April 1, 2009; The total value of prizes for members and contestants throughout the contest exceeds US$200,000.

"I'm truly amazed at the quantity, quality, and diversity of the entries that have been submitted. The creativity of the contestants is clearly coming through. It also shows the diversity of applications that are possible using the PIC32 architecture," said Richard Nass, Editor in Chief of Embedded Systems Design and Challenge judge.

Terry West, PIC32 Marketing Manager at Microchip agrees. "With over 40,000 unique visitors to, we are thrilled at the response that the PIC32 Design Challenge site has received since its launch. The design community has a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with some of the world's best engineers and push the limits of creativity and skill -- interactively, while developing in leading-edge 32-bit designs using Microchip's new PIC32 microcontroller."

"We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with Microchip and TechInsights as the exclusive distributor on the PIC32 Design Challenge," added Tony Harris, vice president of E-Commerce at Digi-Key. "As provider of the industry's preeminent Web site for design engineers, OEMs, and purchasers, Digi-Key adds a great outreach solution to the design contest. We look forward to driving traffic for our contest partners, and, as always, efficiently and expeditiously delivering product into the hands of the engineering community."

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 US$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,

Contact Alix Raine United Business Media LLC +1-516-562-7827 Web site:

Alix Raine, United Business Media LLC, +1-516-562-7827,