Inventor Dean Kamen was joined by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, will.i.am, frontman of The Black Eyed Peas, and a host of other celebrities via video to launch the 21st FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season today with the Kickoff of a new robotics game called “Rebound RumbleSM.” Before a crowd of 800 people at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H., the hometown and headquarters of FIRST, an estimated 60,000 around the world joined the Kickoff via live NASA-TV broadcast and webcast.
Over a hundred students from more than 40 teams across central and north Florida attended a regional Kick-Off at Devry University in Orlando, and other Florida teams attended kick off events in Melbourne and Coconut Creek, as well as informal events in schools and homes around the state.
The Kick-Off announced the 2012 “Rebound Rumble” STEM competition, for which students have just six weeks to build a robot that can score basketballs into hoops during a two-minute and 15-second match. Balls scored in higher hoops score teams more points, and team alliances are awarded bonus points if they are balanced on bridges at the end of the match.
Sponsored by NASA and Needham, Mass.-based PTC, the FRC Kickoff event was an opportunity for teams competing in the 2012 season to see the new game challenge and rules firsthand. Teams across the nation, and in Canada, Israel, and Mexico, watched the proceedings via NASA-TV broadcast or webcast from 73 Kickoff sites, many of which also offered workshops and a chance to meet other teams.
In addition to getting their first look at “Rebound Rumble” teams also received their Kit of Parts made up of motors, batteries, a control system, a PC, and a mix of automation components – but no instructions. Working with adult Mentors, students have six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge.
The Kickoff included presentations by FIRST founder Dean Kamen; NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden; PTC President and CEO Jim Heppelmann; FIRST Chairman Walt P. Havenstein; FIRST National Advisor Dr. Woodie Flowers; and FIRST president Jon Dudas. The program also featured remarks by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report; and FIRST Robotics Competition Director Bill Miller. The program also recognized this year’s Safety Animation Award winner, Arrowbots (FIRST Team #3705) of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, and the 2012 FIRST Safety Video presented by Underwriters Laboratories.
Learn more about this year’s game and read quotes and comments from Kick-Off speakers at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/2012-rebound-rumble.
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 nearly $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, FIRSTLEGOLeague (FLL) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) and Junior FIRST LEGOLeague (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 www.usfirst.org