FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen (inventor of Segway, a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter) to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit, public charity based in Manchester, New Hampshire. FIRST is volunteer-driven and built on partnerships with individuals, businesses, educational institutions, and government. Some of the world’s most respected companies provide funding, mentorship time, talent, and equipment to make FIRST’s mission a reality.
FIRST commenced in 1992 and this year is the 30th season of the FIRST® Robotics Competition. The theme is DESTINATION: DEEP SPACES Presented By The Boeing Company. FIRST combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. FIRST calls the Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.