Press Release - September 13, 2012

Dean Kamen Encourages More Than 25,000 Students Around The World to RING IT UP!SM For The 2012-2013 FIRST ® Tech Challenge Game

FTC launches a new robotics season game that challenges students to think like engineers and scientists

MANCHESTER, N.H., Sept. 13, 2012 FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, officially launched its 2012-2013 FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC®) season with a series of live and online Kickoff events unveiling this year’s game, RING IT UP!SM

FIRST Tech Challenge is a widely-accessible robotics program for grades 7 through 12 that promotes project-based learning. Using a proven formula that engages student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), FTC is one of the fastest-growing programs of its kind in the world. FTC is highly-scalable and easily integrates into the classroom with measurable results. FIRST teams learn to engage business, engineering and science professionals, and working together, become a focal point of the community in which they live.

Using a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears, and sensors, including infrared tracking (IR) and magnet seeking, about 25,000 students will program their robots to operate in both autonomous and driver-controlled modes on a field with a center rack. The object of the game is to score more points than an opponent by placing plastic rings on to pegs on a center rack. Teams will be challenged to detect special “weighted” rings to earn them bonus points. RING IT UP!SM matches will last two minutes and 30 seconds, and begin with a 30-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute driver-controlled period. The final 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period is the “end game,” where each team can score bonus points by lifting up their Partner’s robot off the game floor to a maximum height of 24 inches.

FIRST Tech Challenge empowers students to think like engineers and scientists,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation.  “There is no doubt in my mind that FTC students will solve society’s greatest challenges by employing the same disciplines and critical thinking that they’re bringing to this year’s FTC game, RING IT UP!SM 

“Hands-on, project-based learning has been the hallmark of FTC from its inception,” said Ken Johnson, Acting Chief Program Officer and Director, FIRST Tech Challenge. “The universal growth and acceptance of FTC can be tied to its continuing leadership and success in STEM-based education.”

During the 2012-2013 FTC season, an estimated 2,500 FIRST Tech Challenge teams will compete in events in the U.S., Australia, China, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan—and new this year—Spain and Germany. The RING IT UP!SM season Qualifying and Championship events will culminate with the FIRST Championship, April 24-27, 2013, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo. The 2012-2013 FIRST Tech Challenge Sponsors include Official Program Sponsor for the FIRST Tech Challenge, Rockwell Collins, and FTC CAD and Collaboration Sponsor, PTC®.

About FIRST®

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 $15 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. 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.

FIRST®, the FIRST® logo, FIRST® Robotics Competition, FRC®, FIRST® Tech Challenge, and FTC®are registered trademarks, and RING IT UP!SM  is a service mark, of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®).

Media Contacts:

Dennis Garrigan, FIRST
Ph. 603-206-2454