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

Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:34am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

FIRST Championship Draws More Than 10,000 Students and 533 Robots from 28
Countries in Three Levels of Robotics Challenges to Georgia Dome in Atlanta

Inventor Dean Kamen, professional engineers, and sponsors recognize best of
young robotics competitors
ATLANTA--(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

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",
* 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",
* 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",
* 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

For a complete listing of awards, match results and scholarship winners, please
visit FIRST online at www.usfirst.org and click on the "FIRST Championship"


Abbott Laboratories, Autodesk, Inc., BAE Systems, and The Coca-Cola Company are
Official Championship Sponsors of the 2009 FIRST Championship. Other sponsors
this year are: The Boeing Company - FIRST Championship Sponsor; FedEx
Corporation - FIRST Shipping Sponsor; NASA - Machine Shop and Satellite
Broadcast Sponsor; Underwriters Laboratories - FIRST Safety Partner; Association
for Laboratory Automation - FIRST Judges Room & Dinner Sponsor; Google Inc. -
FIRST Event Sponsor; Georgia Institute of Technology - FIRST Scholarship Row
Sponsor; Central Intelligence Agency, Rolls-Royce, and Worcester Polytechnic
Institute - FIRST Robotics Conference Sponsors. 


Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition
of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and
technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible,
innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while
motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and
engineering. With the support of many of the world`s most well-known companies,
the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST
Tech Challenge for high-school students, the FIRST LEGO League for children 9-14
years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more
about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org. 

*FRC Divisions are named after legendary scientists. 

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

Cone, for FIRST
Kimmie Leistinger, 617-939-8353
FIRST Communications
Marian Murphy, 603-666-3906, ext. 409

Copyright Business Wire 2009