Thursday, March 24, 2011

Teens from Tri-County area showcase design and engineering skills at FIRST Robotics Competition

Students Learn Problem Solving and Teamwork in Addition to Designing and Building Robots by Working with Professional Mentors to participate at Palmetto Regional, March 24-26.

High-school students from 8 states and the Tri-County-area schools will have the opportunity to showcase their hard work after an intense six weeks of designing and building an original robot in the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition ( This week, at the North Charleston Coliseum, 43 teams of students and engineering and technical Mentors will demonstrate their skill for science, mathematics, and technology. They will compete for honors and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities.  There is no charge for admission.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who introduced the IBOT Mobility System and the Segway® Human Transporter (HT), FIRST was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities. Now in its 20th season, the FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates close to 2,075 teams from 48 states in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, and the United Kingdom to compete in 49 regional competitions. More than 1,000 students will compete at the Palmetto Regional to earn a spot at the Championship to be held April 27-30 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO.

“It’s not about the robots,” said FIRST founder Dean Kamen. “It’s much bigger than that. It’s about building self-confidence, respect, and important relationships with people who invent new technologies and work to make the future better than the past.”

Local organizer and Citadel professor Dr. Jason Skinner stated, “Society celebrates achievement in sports and entertainment, yet we often overlook achievements in academia.  FIRST has devised unique robotics games that spark the competitive interest of participants and onlookers, but it is richly based in science, technology, engineering, and math.

North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey said, “FIRST provides an education and career path for young people who might not otherwise have discovered an interest in and pursued education and careers in science and technology.  We are honored to be the host city for the FRC Palmetto Regional and look forward to an action-packed and educational weekend.”

This season, participating FIRST students are eligible to apply for more than $14 million in scholarships from leading universities and colleges. Scholarship announcements will be made at the FIRST Championship in April.

Over a six-week timeframe, students work with professional engineering Mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules. 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 robotics game, “LOGO MOTION™, two alliances of three teams will compete on a 27-by-54-foot field with poles, attempting to earn points by hanging as many triangle, circle, and square logo pieces as possible. Bonus points will be earned for each robot that can hang and assemble logo pieces to form the FIRST logo. Robots can also deploy Mini-Bots to climb vertical poles for a chance to earn additional points.

This year's game


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 support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and more than $14 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL™) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism™ is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

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