First Robotics

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What is FIRST?

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology is a program whose main goal is to inspire and teach young people in the fields of science and technology. The program does this by pairing high school students and professional mentors to solve intense engineering problems in a competitive way. Each January a new game is announced and a universal kit of parts is given to each team. The teams then have six weeks to build a robot to play the game. They then go to regional competitions and finally a national competition competing to see who has the best designed robot.

How did this program begin?

Dean Kamen, a distinguished inventor and president of DEKA Research, started this program in 1992 with only 19 teams. His main goal was to introduce and teach students in the fields of science and technology. Dean believes that today's students will be the adults who change the world in the future. The program helps students to do better in school and promotes good habits from "gracious professionalism" to organizational skills.

Who is involved?

Over 25,000 students in over 1000 schools are involved in the 2005 competition. These schools come from every US state and numerous other countries. Thousands of parents and mentors will also be involved guiding each team along. Teachers from every school represent the teams along with engineers from the sponsored companies and mentors from local colleges. Each team is sponsored by the school and a company. Some of the companies involved include Gillette, NASA, Delphi, Motorola, Pepsi, and many other major corporations, usually not technologically related. Some colleges involved include WPI, Clarkson University, MIT, Northeastern, and Brown.

Is it expensive?

The program is usually funded in one of three ways. First, a sponsor, a willing company may be able to provide the team with full financial backing. The second way is through local grants from the government or school. However, the...
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