FIRST ® Championship Draws More Than 10,000 Young People in Three Levels of Robotics Challenges at the Ultimate Celebration of Science and Technology

Inventor Dean Kamen, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Professional Engineers and Sponsors Recognize Exceptional Robotics Competitors

Special Video Appearance by Bill Gates

ATLANTA — (BUSINESS WIRE) — April 17, 2010 — Twenty thousand FIRST ® supporters – mentors, students, volunteers, sponsors and fans – gathered this weekend at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to experience the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship, the ultimate heart-pounding, high-energy celebration of science and technology. The 19th annual FIRST Championship culminated in a frenzied final round of robotic matches when teams from Redondo Beach, Calif., Milford, Mich., and South Windsor, Conn., emerged victorious as the winning FIRST® Robotics Competition alliance. FIRST founder, inventor Dean Kamen, presented this award and a list of others, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined Kamen in presenting the 2010 FIRST Dean’s List Award.

More than 500 teams from 30 countries competed in the three levels of FIRST: FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®, grades 4 to 8, 9 to 14-year-olds in the U.S and Canada; 9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S and Canada); FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®, grades 9 to 12, 14 to 18-year-olds); and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC®, grades 9 to 12, ages 14-18).

“Over the past few days in Atlanta, we have had the opportunity to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers,” said Kamen. “This is increasingly important as we try to build momentum in the U.S. to fuel a robust talent pipeline of innovative 21st century STEM professionals. For the thousands of young problem-solvers who participated in the FIRST Championship, we caught a glimpse of the great things that are in store when these students tackle greater challenges in years ahead.”

Another noted technologist, Bill Gates, sent a special video offering encouragement and congratulations to all competitors at the FIRST Championship.

FIRST is a not-for-profit that celebrates science and technology via robotics competitions worldwide. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization inspires young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that encourages innovation, and that foster self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

The FIRST Community continues to grow with more than 212,000 students, 90,000 volunteers, thousands of alumni, and more than 3,500 sponsors. This year’s event marked the highest level of participation since FIRST began in 1992 in a New Hampshire high school gymnasium with one level of competition. FIRST now offers three distinct and challenging levels of competitions. Following are descriptions of each competition and winners:

FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION (FRC) CHAMPIONSHIP

High-school student teams built their robots from a kit of hundreds of parts in six weeks. More than 340 teams competed in “Breakaway™,” a soccer-like game to climb obstacles and score goals against their opponents. The Winning Alliance of the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship was: Team 294, “Beach Cities Robotics,” Redondo Beach, Calif.; Team 67, “The HOT Team,” Milford, Mich.; Team 177, “Bobcat Robotics,” South Windsor, Conn., from the Newton Division.

Team 341 “Miss Daisy” of Ambler, Pa., won the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor given at the FRC Championship, recognizing the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.

Winners of the Dean’s List Award were: Beth Hadley, Team 548, "Robostangs," Northville, Mich.; Seth Berg, Team 694, "StuyPulse," New York, N.Y.; Kyle Fender, Team 1002, "The CircuitRunners," Marietta, Ga.; Carlos Pineda, Team 1480, "Robatos Locos," Houston, Texas; Ian Graham, Team 1535, "Knights of Alloy," Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada; Delia Votsch, Team 1712, "Spirit of the United Neretva," Ardmore, Pa.; Caitlin Mori, Team 2437, "Lancer Robotics," Honolulu, Hawaii; Luke Scime, Team 2614, "MARS," Morgantown, W.V.; Sarah Heimlich, Team 3132, "Thunder Down Under," Sydney, Australia; Ingrid Fiedler, Team 3368, "Dawgma," Mostar, Herzegovina.

FIRST TECH CHALLENGE (FTC)

More than 100 teams competed in the “Hot Shot™” FIRST Tech Challenge, in which teams’ robots earned points by collecting and firing balls into their designated goals. The FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Inspire Award, recognizing excellence in robot design and teamwork, went to Team 25 “Rock ‘n Roll Robots” from Arcadia, Calif. The FIRST Tech Challenge Winning Alliance was Team 2868 (Captain) “Smoke and Mirrors” from Lakeland, Fla.; Team 2843 “Under the Son” from Hollywood, Md.; and Team 3864 “GForce” from Aiken, S.C.

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE (FLL)

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