PHILADELPHIA, PA– High school students from 8 states and 46 area schools have been tasked with the challenge and excitement of designing and building an original robot in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (www.usfirst.org). This week, at the Liacouras Center at 1776 N. Broad Street, six weeks of intense design and construction will culminate in the Drexel University hosted FIRST Robotics Competition Philadelphia Regional, where 55 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.
“We are proud to sponsor this event and we encourage students to participate in FIRST Robotics with anticipation they will advance in the fields of science and technology. It creates both excitement and a challenge for the students while celebrating their role as scientists and engineers,” said Dr. Selcuk Güceri, dean of the College of Engineering.
Over a six-week timeframe, students work with professional 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 game, “LUNACY™,” robots are designed to pick up 9″ game balls and score them in trailers hitched to their opponents’ robots for points during a 2 minute and 15 second match. Additional points are awarded for scoring a special game ball, the Super Cell, in the opponents’ trailers during the last 20 seconds of the match. “LUNACY” is played on a 54’x27’ low-friction floor, which means teams must contend with the laws of physics.
Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, Drexel University’s 2007 Engineer of the Year and creator of the Segway? Human Transporter (HT), FIRST was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities. Currently in its seventeenth year, the FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates its largest season ever with over 1,500 teams from every state in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Chile, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the U.K. competing in 41 regional competitions. More than 1200 students will compete at the Philadelphia Regional to earn a spot at the Championship to be held April 17-19 at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.
“The FIRST Robotics Competition is not just about the design and building of sophisticated robots. These students also develop maturity, professionalism, teamwork, and mentoring skills that enrich their lives,” said Dean Kamen. “Many of our students develop an affinity for their science and math courses, go on to study engineering, technology, or science in college, and also pursue employment opportunities with sponsoring companies.”
This season, participating FIRST students are eligible to apply for over $9.5 million in scholarships from leading universities, colleges, and companies. Scholarship announcements will be made at the FIRST Championship in April.
Since its beginning, FIRST has had a positive impact on students and academic communities. Research has shown that FIRST students’ attitudes about science, math, teamwork, and the working world significantly improved after participating. The students’ self image also improved, particularly in minority groups. In addition, interest in internship and employment opportunities with sponsoring companies increased.
FIRST Robotics Competition Philadelphia Regional sponsors and volunteers come from some of the most highly regarded organizations in the area, including Drexel University, PECO, DuPont, Rohm & Haas, Motorola, and ETC. Sponsors provide resources including time and talent from professional mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions, and volunteers.
About Drexel University’s College of Engineering
Since its founding in 1891, Drexel University’s College of Engineering has emphasized its strengths in engineering, science and technology to train students to become the leaders of the future. The College has the largest undergraduate private engineering program among the nation’s private universities and is Drexel’s flagship school with more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students specializing in experiential and global education. For more information on Drexel University’s College of Engineering, please visit http://www.drexel.edu/coe.
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 the support of many of the world’s most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, the FIRST LEGO® League for children 9-14 years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.