Blog - #TBT
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#TBT The Smartest Mouse Wins the Rat Race
by ON Semiconductor - 2015-06-25

'The winner of this rat race is the mouse with the best ability to nose its way through a maze' starts this May 25, 1979 Peninsula Times article which documents two of the competitors in the 1979 Amazing MicroMouse Contest.

The contest was created by former IEEE Spectrum Editor in Chief Donald Christiansen. An article he wrote about the contest for the magazine 50th Anniversary can be found here.

Participants of the contest (which has versions of it still running around the world) design, build, and program robotic mice and compete to see who can navigate their way through the maze in the shortest time.

A typical entry has a pair of motors for propulsion, a battery for energy storage, infra-red sensors to detect walls, and a microprocessor for intelligence. The design of the maze is usually held secret until race time and each mouse has a handful of runs to make mistakes, learn and improve its time in the final run.


APEC 2016, the premier power tradeshow that ON Semiconductor participates in annually, will hosts its 30th annual MicroMouse contest in Long Beach, California next year.

*ON Semiconductor acquired AMI Semiconductor in 2008

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