Inventor and FIRST® Founder Dean Kamen launched the 2019 FIRST® Robotics Competition season today with the Kickoff of a new robotics game called DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE Presented By The Boeing Company before a crowd of 1,200 people, including New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire, hometown of FIRST Headquarters. Nearly 100,000 high-school students on 3,790 teams at 146 venues around the globe joined the 2019 Kickoff via live broadcast.
Kamen, president of DEKA Research & Development, encouraged students to take the inspiration and skills they gain from FIRST to solve critical problems. “We are here to make sure you have the tools to cure cancer, build clean energy supplies, and make water, food, and cybersecurity available worldwide – to make the world a better, healthier place,” he said.
DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE finds FIRST Robotics Competition teams collecting samples on Planet Primus. Two competing alliances will combat unpredictable terrain and weather patterns, making remote robot operation essential to their mission on the planet. With only two minutes and thirty seconds until liftoff, the alliances must gather as many cargo pods as possible and prepare their spaceships for departure before the next sandstorm arrives.
At today’s Kickoff, teams were shown the DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE game field and challenge details for the first time and received the Kickoff Kit from the Kit of Parts, which is made up of motors, batteries, control system components, construction materials, and a mix of additional automation components – with limited instructions.
Working with adult mentors, students have limited time to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Once these young inventors build a robot, their teams will participate in one or more of the global 173 Regional and District events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.
By participating in FIRST, students gain confidence to explore the innovation process while learning valuable science, engineering, technology, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. FIRST Robotics Competition participants are eligible to apply for more than $80 million in FIRST Scholarships from leading colleges and universities. Students also learn and apply the FIRST ethos of Gracious Professionalism®.
The Boeing Company is the presenting sponsor for the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition season. As a FIRST Strategic Partner, Boeing supports FIRST in many ways including: sponsorship of teams, employee volunteerism and mentorship, scholarships, and financial contributions. In February 2018, the company provided a $1.5 million grant to FIRST – part of a broader $3.5 million commitment – to assist in the development of targeted mentorship programs that increase STEM diversity, proficiency, and interest among K-12 students.
“Through charitable grants which fund STEM programs like FIRST, Boeing ensures students develop the skills they need to succeed in the future,” said John Blazey, vice president of Boeing Global Engagement. “Exposure to STEM subjects and experiences provides students opportunities to hone their critical thinking skills and learn to collaborate with one another — skills critical in today’s marketplace.”
The 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff is powered by Rockwell Automation. A long-time sponsor and FIRST Strategic Partner for more than 10 years, Rockwell Automation provides an innovative product donation to help fully automate FIRST Robotics Competition field management and scoring systems. Rockwell Automation also provides team sponsorships through employee volunteers who serve as team mentors, judges, referees, and other key roles.
“Our support of STEM programs like FIRST is one of the best investments we can make for the future of our company and industry,” said Blake Moret, Rockwell Automation Chairman & CEO. “The science and technology experiences that students gain from FIRST programs provide a strong foundation for their future careers, and we invest in these next-generation leaders to help maintain a strong workforce of young men and women who like technology and the possibilities it unlocks.”
The 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff event is an opportunity for teams from all over the world to come together as a community to share in the excitement of seeing the new game unveiled. Teams at local Kickoffs in Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, and the United States watched the proceedings via live broadcast.
For a replay of the Kickoff broadcast, click here.
To find FIRST Robotics Competition events and/or teams in your area, visit http://www.firstinspires.org/team-event-search.
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 over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $80 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. 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 www.firstinspires.org.