Monday, April 20, 2009

20,000 Cheer FIRST™ Students at the Ultimate Celebration of Science and Technology

-(BUSINESS WIRE)--Twenty-thousand spectators, students, mentors, volunteers, sponsors, and FIRST™ supporters gathered over the weekend to experience the ultimate celebration of science and technology that ignites students’ scientific savvy in three levels of Championship competitions. Teams from California, Illinois, and Michigan emerged victorious at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It was the climax to months of regional competitions involving 1,680 teams from the United States and ten other nations: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

The total FIRST Community – with over 196,000 students, 86,000 volunteers, and 3,500 sponsors this year alone – is estimated at one million strong and growing. With continued support from industry, the number of FIRST teams continues to grow despite the downturn in the global economy.

“Our mission is about more than building robots; we are working to inspire and change a culture,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder. “Over the past few days in Atlanta, we had the opportunity to witness this culture shift in action. We watched as the innovators of tomorrow showed us they could step up to the challenge and solve complex technological problems. And that’s good news for us, because we need more innovative thinkers to help solve a number of increasingly complex problems in the world. I am confident there is a bright future ahead – I caught a glimpse of it at the FIRST Championship.”

FIRST is a not-for-profit founded by inventor Dean Kamen to celebrate science and technology via robotics competitions worldwide. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization offers innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math while building life skills. Teams earned their invitations to the Championship by excelling in their regional tournaments in competitive play, sportsmanship, and the development of partnerships among schools, businesses and communities.


High-school student teams built their robots from a kit of hundreds of parts in six weeks. This year’s game, called “LUNACYTM,” tested the students’ and robots’ ability to pick up 9" game balls and score them in trailers hitched to their opponents’ robots, while contending with the laws of physics on a low-friction floor.

The Winning Alliance of the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship was: Team 67 “The HOT Team” of Huron Valley Schools from Milford, Michigan; Team 111 “WildStang” of Rolling Meadows High School and Wheeling High School from Schaumburg, Illinois; Team 971 “Spartan Robotics” of Mountain View High School in Mountain View, California.

Team 236 “Techno Ticks” of Lyme-Old Lyme High School from Old Lyme, Connecticut won the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor given at the FRC Championship that recognizes the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.


Approximately 1,000 high-school students used a modular robotics kit to compete in the “Face Off!” challenge, mirroring many real-world challenges that robotics engineers face today, such as navigating uneven surfaces, manipulating odd-shaped objects, using sensors to determine the environment, and withstanding physical stress. The FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Inspire Award, recognizing excellence in robot design and teamwork, went to Team 32 “Einstein’s Daughters”, an all-female team from San Diego, California.

The FIRST Tech Challenge Winning Alliance was Team 92 “Jr. Bomb Squad” from Mountain Home, Arkansas; Team 679 “RoboRaiders” from Sandy Springs, Georgia; Team 2820 “Alberta Longhorns” from Calgary, Alberta.


Eighty four teams from 27 countries participated in the FIRST LEGO League World Festival. This year’s “Climate Connections” real-life challenge tasked students, ages 9 to 14, to design, build, and program robots and embark on an exploration of the earth’s climate.

Top honors went to Champion’s Award 1st Place winner, Team 55 “Da Peeps” from Swartz Creek, Michigan; Champion’s Award 2nd Place winner, Team 2223 “Turbulent Typhoons” from Westerville, Ohio; and Champion’s Award 3rd Place winner, Team 9201 “NXT Generation” from Nordborg, Denmark. The Champion’s Award measures how teams inspire and motivate others about the excitement and wonders of science and technology, while demonstrating gracious professionalism.


FIRST also recognized the recipients of numerous educational scholarships worth $9.8 million from the most prestigious science and engineering schools in the country, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, Kettering University, Georgia Tech, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Carnegie Mellon University, Purdue University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Bucknell University.


The major honors that were awarded at the FIRST Championship included:

* Founder’s Award, presented each year by FIRST founder Dean Kamen to one organization or individual for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST – National Instruments
* Woodie Flowers Award, founded by Dr. William P. Murphy, Jr. and Small Parts, Inc. to recognize an outstanding engineer or teacher who best demonstrates teaching excellence in teaching science, math, and creative design – John Novack, Engineer, Baxter Healthcare, Arkansas
* Outstanding Commitment Award, celebrates one individual who has had a sustained impact on the FIRST Championship by actively supporting FIRST programs through leadership and personal commitment over an extended period – Dave Lavery, Program Executive for Solar System Exploration, NASA

FIRST Robotics Competition Championship:

* Engineering Inspiration Award – Team 341, “Miss Daisy”, Pennsylvania
* Championship Finalists – Team 68, “T3”, Michigan; Team 217 “ThunderChickens”, Michigan; Team 247, “Da Bears”, Michigan
* Division* Champions – Archimedes Division: Team 222, “Tigertrons”, Pennsylvania; Team 1218, “Vulcan Robotics”, Pennsylvania; Team 2753, “Team Overdrive”, New Jersey. Curie Division: Team 68, “T3”, Michigan; Team 217 “ThunderChickens”, Michigan; Team 247, “Da Bears”, Michigan. Galileo Division: Team 67, “The HOT Team”, Michigan; Team 111, “WildStang”, Illinois; Team 971, “Spartan Robotics”, California. Newton Division: Team 121, “Rhode Warriors”, Rhode Island; Team 177, “Bobcat Robotics”, Connecticut; Team 1507, “Warlocks”, New York.
* Division Finalists – Archimedes Division: Team 118, “Robonauts”, Texas; Team 343, “Metal-In-Motion”, South Carolina; Team 488, “Team XBot”, Washington. Curie Division: Team 188, “Blizzard”, Ontario, Canada; Team 329, “Raiders”, New York; Team 399, “Eagle Robotics”, California. Galileo Division: Team 870, “Team R.I.C.E.”, New York; Team 1717, “D’Penguineers”, California; Team 2775, “Liberty Robotics”, Tennessee. Newton Division: Team 85, “B.O.B. (Built On Brains)”, Michigan; Team 135, “Penn Robotics”, Indiana; Team 1918, “NC Gears”, Michigan.
* Autodesk Visualization Award – Team 1716, “Redbird Robotics”, Wisconsin
* Autodesk Inventor Award – Team 103, “Cybersonics”, Pennsylvania
* Chrysler Team Spirit Award – Team 1086, “Blue Cheese”, Virginia
* Delphi “Driving Tomorrow’s Technology”TM Award – Team 339, “Kilroy”, Virginia
* General Motors Industrial Design Award – Team 67, “The HOT Team”, Michigan
* Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism Award – Team 118, “Robonauts”, Texas
* Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award – Team 687, “The Nerd Herd”, California
* Motorola Quality Award – Team 1717, “D’Penguineers”, California
* Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award – Team 365, “Miracle Workerz”, Delaware
* Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety Award – Team 337, “Hard Working Hard Hats”, West Virginia
* Xerox Creativity Award – Team 263, “Sachem Aftershock”, New York
* Imagery Award, in honor of Jack Kamen – Team 33, “Killer Bees”, Michigan
* Rookie All-star Award – Team 3091, “100 Scholars”, Georgia
* Rookie Inspiration Award – Team 2741, “Method 2 Madness”, Illinois
* Website Award – Team 1114, “Simbotics”, Ontario, Canada
* Judges’ Awards – Team 359, “Hawaiian Kids”, Hawaii; Team 1511, “Rolling Thunder”, New York

FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship:

* FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Finalists – Team 39, “Gingerbread Men”, Michigan; Team 577, “Staples Wreckers”, Connecticut; Team 2818, “G-Force”, Maryland
* PTC Design Award – Team 2842, “Burnin’ Rubber!”, Illinois
* FIRST Tech Challenge Connect Award – Team 18, “Techno Chix”, New York
* FIRST Tech Challenge Innovate Award – Team 2848, “Techno Guards”, California
* FIRST Tech Challenge Motivate Award – Team 3365, “Project Pulse”, Texas
* FIRST Tech Challenge Think Award – Team 2, “Psychotic Strawberryz”, Oregon
* Judges’ Awards – Grace Under Pressure: Team 14, “Plan B”, Virginia; Potential Unlimited: Team 1, “Team Unlimited”, Massachusetts

FIRST LEGO League World Festival:

* Robot Performance Award – Team 8004, “Emerotecos”, Brazil
* Innovative Design Award – Team 8080, “TechnoBotts3”, United Kingdom
* Quality Design Award – Team 1042, “Tech Kids”, Indiana
* Programming Award – Team 784, “The Techno Travelers”, Minnesota
* Research Quality Award – Team 9401, “Double Oh Zero”, South Africa
* Innovative Solution Award – Team 9111, “Spectrum Bots”, Chile
* Creative Presentation Award – Team 8060, “Giant Panda”, China
* Teamwork Award – Team 5, “The Olympians”, Washington
* Team Spirit Awards – Team 3790, “The Icebreakers”, New York; Team 111, “Les Electrocuteurs”, Haiti
* Against All Odds Awards – Team 422, “Wallace Bobcats”, Indiana; Team 2447, “JETS”, Texas
* Outstanding Volunteer Awards – Dave Brooks, West Virginia; Bill and Susan Duggins, Virginia; Bill McGowan, New Jersey
* Adult Coach/Mentor Awards – Helena Coetzee, South Africa; Tim Mills, Iowa
* Young Adult Mentor Awards – Dorian Shani, Israel; Ang Wen Xian, Singapore
* Judges’ Awards – Team 33, “YOROZ”, Turkey; Team 121, “FLL-ISPR”, Haiti; Team 8030, “EAGLEKNIGHTS WILLIAMS”, Mexico; Team 8000, “Triple Legend”, Egypt

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