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 excite students about engineering and technology. The FIRST Robotics Competition is designed to inspire high school students to be 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. The FIRST Lego League, is a similar program for younger students. FIRST also operates FIRST Place, a facility at FIRST headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire where FIRST holds educational programs for students and teachers.
The FIRST Robotics Competition involves teams of mentors (corporate, teachers, or college students) and high school students that collaborate to design and build a robot in six weeks. This robot is designed to play a game, which is designed by FIRST and changes from year to year. This game is announced at a nationally simulcast kickoff event in January. Regional competitions take place around the United States and Canada, but FIRST has a multinational following that further includes the United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia,Germany and Israel.
Teams are expected to solicit local businesses for support in the form of donations of time, money, or skills. Some teams have membership of 60 or more and have established substantial presence in their local communities by helping local FIRST Lego League teams (see below), running classes in various technical topics, and more.
As of 2005, FIRST includes more than 1000 teams (around 20,000 students) competing in 31 Regional Competitions, as well as one national competition held in Atlanta, Georgia.
The highest honor bestowed in FIRST is the Chairman's Award, which is given to the team that best manifests the FIRST spirit of gracious professionalism. Regional Chairman's Award winners then compete at the national level for the National Chairman's Award.
2005's Game is called Triple Play. 2004's Game was called FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar.
FIRST Lego League
FIRST Robotics' sister organization is the FIRST Lego League (FLL). FLL is intended to further the same ideals that FIRST does but at a middle school level and utilizing the Lego Mindstorms for Schools educational robotics system, including ROBOLAB programming software based on National Instruments' LabView industrial control engineering software. The combination of interchangeable LEGO parts, computer 'bricks' and sensors, and the aforementioned software, provide preteens and teenagers with the capability to build reasonably complex models of real-life robotic systems.
2003's challenge was inspired by that year's Mars Rover mission, in that the competing teams had to design and construct robots to solve a number of problems like removing rocks from a 'solar panel' to ensure a Mars base energy supply, collect 'soil/rock samples' from the Martian desert landscape, as well as several additional subproblems.
2004's challenge will be centered around building models of various robotic assistant systems for disabled persons, and demonstrate how the systems are (hopefully) able to solve the given model problems in a satisfying way.
FIRSTwiki is a website where members of the FIRST community can all contribute to create a resource on everything FIRST. As of mid-2004, it has over 1100 content articles.
FIRSTwiki was created on May 24, 2004. Like Wikipedia, it is a wiki- a website that can be edited by anyone. It uses the MediaWiki software (currently version 1.3.5). It was created and is currently managed by Iammaxus (known as Max on FIRSTwiki). FIRSTwiki was created in response to a thread (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28697) on the unofficial FIRST forums suggesting such a FIRST wiki by FIRSTwiki user Phrontist.
It is currently hosted by ChiefDelphi, an unofficial online forum designed by FIRST Team 47 to facilitate interaction between FIRST participants.
FIRSTwiki is modeled in large part after Wikipedia with many of the meta pages being copied, often word for word, from Wikipedia. Many technical pages have links to their Wikipedia counterparts. In fact, even its logo is directly modeled after Wikipedia's logo. See the Logo candidates page for it and others.
- Official FIRST Website (http://www.usfirst.org)
- Unofficial FIRST Forums as hosted by Team 47 (http://www.chiefdelphi.com)
- openFIRST Web Portal System (http://www.openfirst.org) (a system designed to make it easy for FIRST teams to create a website)