Infobox Non-profit
Non-profit_name = FIRST
Non-profit_type = 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity
founded_date = 1989
founder = Dean Kamen
location = Manchester, NH
origins =
key_people = Dean Kamen, Founder
John Abele, Chairman of the Board
Paul Gudonis, President
Woodie Flowers, Vice Chairman
area_served =
focus =
method =
revenue = $20,803,521 [ 2006 FIRST Annual Report] , Retrieved on 2007-04-05]
endowment =
num_volunteers = 60,000
num_employees =
num_members = 130,000 students
10,652 robots
37,000 mentors
27,000 event volunteers [ FIRST At A Glance] , Retrieved on 2007-04-04]
owner =
Non-profit_slogan = "To create a world where science and technology are celebrated... where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes"
homepage = []
dissolved =
footnotes =

FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 in order to develop ways to inspire students in engineering and technology fields. The organization is the foundation for the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST LEGO League, Junior FIRST Lego League, and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions.

FIRST also operates FIRST Place, a research facility at FIRST Headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire where it holds educational programs and day camps for students and teachers. [ [ FIRST Place] ]


FIRST seeks to promote a philosophy of teamwork and collaboration among engineers and encourages competing teams to remain friendly, helping each other out when necessary. The term frequently applied to this ethos is "gracious professionalism," a term coined by Woodie Flowers which supports respect towards one's competitors and integrity in one's actions.cite web | title = Gracious Professionalism | work=FIRST | url = | accessdate = 2008-01-12]

FIRST Robotics Competition

The first program developed through FIRST was the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), which is designed to inspire high school students to become engineers by giving them real world experience working with professional engineers to develop a robot. The inaugural FIRST Robotics Competition was held in 1992 in the Manchester Memorial High School gymnasium. [ [ FIRST History] ,] As of 2008, over 1500 high school teams totaling over 37,000 students from Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, and more compete in the annual competition. The competition challenge changes each year, and the teams can only reuse certain components from previous years. The robots weigh around convert|120|lb|0|abbr=on|lk=on, depending on that year's rules. The kit issued to each team contains a base set of parts. Registration and the kit of parts together cost about US$6000. In addition to that, teams are allowed to spend another $3500 on their robot. The purpose of this rule is to lessen the influence of money on teams' competitiveness. Details of the game are released on the first Saturday in January, and the teams are given six weeks to construct a robot that can accomplish the game's tasks. [ [ 2008 FIRST Robotics Competition Manual and Related Documents] ] In 2008, teams participated in 41 [cite web | title=FRC Regional Events | work=FIRST | url= | accessdate=2007-01-08] regional competitions throughout March in an effort to qualify for the FIRST Championship in Atlanta, Georgia in April. Previous years' Championships have been held in Houston, Texas and at Walt Disney World's Epcot.cite web | title=FIRST Robotics Competition | work=FIRST | url= | accessdate=2006-06-09] .Each year the First Robotics Competition has scholarships for the participants in the program. In 2008 there was $9.8 million worth of scholarships from 108 colleges and universities, associations, and corporations.

FIRST Lego League

In 1998, the FIRST Lego League (FLL), a program similar to the FIRST Robotics Competition, was formed. It is aimed at 9 to 16-year-old students and utilizes Lego Mindstorms sets (NXT or RCX) to build palm-sized Lego robots, which are then programmed using the ROBOLAB software to autonomously compete against other teams [ [ FLL History] ] . The ROBOLAB software is based on National Instruments' LabView industrial control engineering software. The combination of interchangeable Lego parts, computer 'bricks', sensors, and the aforementioned software, provide preteens and teenagers with the capability to build reasonably complex models of real-life robotic systems.Fact|date=February 2008 This competition also utilizes a research element that is themed with each year's game, and deals with a real-world situation for students to learn about through the season.

Junior FIRST Lego League

The Junior FIRST Lego League is a variation of the FIRST Lego League, aimed towards elementary school children, in which 6-9-year-olds build Lego models dealing with that year's FLL challenge. At least one part of a model has a moving component. The teams participate in exhibitions around the country, where they demonstrate and explain their models and research for award opportunities.

FIRST Tech Challenge

The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), formerly FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC), is a mid-level robotics competition announced by FIRST on March 22, 2005. According to FIRST, this competition was designed to be a more accessible and affordable option for schools. FIRST has also said that the FTC program was created for those of an intermediate skill level. FIRST Tech Challenge robots are approximately one-third the scale of their FRC counterparts. The FTC competition is meant to provide a transition for students from the FLL competition to the FRC competition. FTC was developed for the Vex Robotics Design System, which is available commercially. [ [ What is FVC?] ]

The 2005 FVC pilot season featured a demonstration of the FIRST Vex Challenge using a 1/3 linear scale mock-up of the 2004 FRC Competition, . For their 2005-2006 Pilot Season, FVC teams played the Half-Pipe Hustle game using racquet balls and ramps.

For the 2006-2007 FTC Season, the FIRST Tech Challenge teams competed in the Hangin'-A-Round challenge using softballs, rotating platforms, a hanging bar, and a larger 'Atlas' ball which is significantly larger than most Vex robots and harder to manipulate. [ [ Welcome to the 2006 FVC season!] ] [ [ 2006 FVC Manual, Sect. 1-8] ] Competitions were held around the United States, Canada, and Mexico. [ [ FVC Events] ]

Political involvement

Each year during his speech at the kickoff event, founder Dean Kamen gives the student participants a homework assignment. It often involves spreading the word about FIRST in various ways, such as increasing attendance at regionals (2005) [ [ Transcript of 2005 FRC Kickoff] ] , mentoring rookie teams, making sure that FIRST-specific scholarships are applied for (2004) [ [ Transcript of 2004 FRC Kickoff] ] , and researching the capabilities of motors and disseminating that information to other teams (2006) [ [ Transcript of 2006 FRC Kickoff] ] . In 2007, Dean's homework was for each team to contact their government officials (e.g. mayors, legislators, governors, federal officials) and invite them to a FIRST regional or the championship to expose them to the competition and increase the level of political awareness of FIRST. In 2008, it was to inform the media more about FIRST. Any responses (or lack thereof) would be publicly posted on the FIRST Q&A forum. [ [ FIRST Forums: Dean's Homework] ]

The efforts to attract political attention to FIRST in 2007 were quite successful, with visits to regional including the US Secretary of Commerce, 4 US Senators, 8 members of Congress, 4 state governors, 7 mayors, and a deputy Prime Minister. Following the FIRST Championship Event in Atlanta in April, the championship winners of the FRC (#365), FTC (#801), and FLL competitions were invited to the White House to demonstrate their robots to President Bush and members of Congress. Further, FIRST President Paul Gudonis was invited to testify before the Congressional Committee on Education and Labor about FIRST's achievements and goals. [ [ ] ]

In 2008, former President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush spoke at the World Championship in Atlanta.


Note: All years indicate the year that the championship for that game was held.


External links

* [ FIRST website]
* [ FIRST Robotics Competition website]
* [ FIRST Tech Challenge website]
* [ FIRST LEGO League website]
* [ The Blue Alliance - Match Videos, Video Tutorials]
* [ FIRSTwiki] - Unofficial FIRST Wiki
* [ Chiefdelphi - Forums]
* [ Other Useful Websites]
* [ Venture capitalist Lawrence (Larry) Goldfarb interviewed on Comcast Local Edition about FIRST]
* [ Autodesk FIRSTbase Competition website]

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  • first — ► ORDINAL NUMBER 1) coming before all others in time or order; earliest; 1st. 2) before doing something else specified or implied. 3) foremost in position, rank, or importance. 4) informal something never previously achieved or occurring. 5) Brit …   English terms dictionary

  • First — or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one. It can also refer to:* FIRST, a science and technology competition founded by Dean Kamen * FIRST (CERT), Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams * Ruth First (1925 1982), a leading anti… …   Wikipedia

  • First In — – First Out (engl. etwa „Zuerst rein – zuerst raus“), häufig abgekürzt mit FIFO, gleichbedeutend mit First Come First Served bzw. FCFS, bezeichnet jegliche Verfahren der Speicherung, bei denen diejenigen Elemente, die zuerst gespeichert wurden,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • first — 1. When used with a number, first (like last) normally precedes it, as in the first three cars. This practice dates from the 16c, when first came to be regarded more as an adjective than as a noun; before that time, it was common to say the two… …   Modern English usage

  • First — steht für: die obere Schnittkante von zwei Dachflächen, siehe Dachfirst eine Reihe von Gipfeln eines Gebirges, siehe Gebirgskamm in der Geologie die Schicht im unmittelbaren Kontakt zum Bezugshorizont, siehe Hangendes im Bergbau für das… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • first — [fʉrst] adj. [ME < OE fyrst, lit., foremost, superl. of fore, before (see FORE), akin to OHG furist, Ger fürst, prince, lit., foremost < IE base * per , beyond > L prae, before, Gr para, beside, beyond] 1. preceding all others in a… …   English World dictionary

  • first — I (earlier) adjective aboriginal, anterior, earlier, earliest, embryonic, inaugural, incipient, introductory, previous, primeval, primitive, prior associated concepts: at first impression, first lien, first reading, first stages of litigation, on …   Law dictionary

  • first — (adj., adv.) O.E. fyrst foremost, superlative of FORE (Cf. fore); from P.Gmc. *furisto (Cf. O.S. fuirst first, O.H.G. furist, O.N. fyrstr, Dan. fèrste, O.Fris. ferist, M.Du. vorste prince, Du. vors …   Etymology dictionary

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