FIRST Unveils New Game at 2008 – FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff

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Over 37,500 High-school Students to Compete in 41 Regional Events MANCHESTER, N.H.–(Business Wire)–FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) launched its seventeenth FIRST Robotics Competition season today with a Kickoff at outhern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH, hometown and headquarters of FIRST. The FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual competition that helps students discover the rewards and excitement of science, engineering, and technology. Over 37,500 high-school students on more than 1,500 teams from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the U.K., and every state in the U.S. are participating in this year’s competition.

first robotics competition

At the Kickoff, all teams were shown this year’s game field for the first time and received a common kit of parts made up of motors, batteries, a control system, and a mix of automation components – but no instructions. Working with mentors, students now have just six weeks to design, build, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

In this year’s game, “FIRST Overdrive,” students’ robots are designed to race around a track knocking down 40″ inflated Trackballs
and moving them around the track, passing them either over or under a 6’6″ overpass. Extra points are scored by robots positioning the Trackballs back on the overpass before the end of the 2 minute and 15 second match.

Teams across the nation and in Brazil, Canada, and Israel watched the Manchester Kickoff proceedings via NASA TV broadcast or Web cast from 49 local kickoff sites, many of which also offered workshops and a chance to meet other teams. The Kickoff agenda includednpresentations by FIRST founder Dean Kamen; New Hampshire Governor John Lynch; FIRST advisor Dr. Woodie Flowers; FIRST chairman John Abele; FIRST president Paul Gudonis; and NASA program executive Dave Lavery.

In 1992, the FIRST Robotics Competition began with 28 teams and a single 14 x 14 foot playing field in a New Hampshire high school gym. This season, more than 1,500 teams – including a record 316 rookie teams – will participate. Forty-one regional competitions will lead up to the 2008 FIRST Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 17-19.

Since its beginning, FIRST has had a positive impact on students and academic communities. Research has shown that FIRST has significantly improved students’ attitudes about math and science and has fostered a culture of teamwork, leadership, and self-confidence. FRC participants are eligible to apply for over $9.5 million inscholarships from leading universities, colleges, and companies. In addition, interest in internship and employment opportunities with sponsoring companies has increased.

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