2011 FIRST Championship Celebrates Science, Technology and Teamwork

2011 FIRST® Championship Celebrates Science, Technology and Teamwork with will.i.am and White House Technology Officer

will.i.am and Dean Kamen Matched Robotic Wits and Morgan Freeman Refereed a Robotics Match as 11,000 Students and their Robots Competed in Dean Kamen’s Annual International Robotics Celebration, April 28-30  

MANCHESTER, N.H., April 30, 2011 ― Over the weekend, will.i.am, Morgan Freeman, Aneesh Chopra, assistant to the president chief technology officer of the U.S. and 25,000 fans, families, educators and industry leaders celebrated students’ engineering prowess at the annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship. Three teams from San Jose, Calif.; Schaumburg, Ill.; and Atascadero, Calif., won the final showdown, earning the coveted FIRST Robotics Competition Championship Winning Alliance, April 28-30, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo. Several other FIRST student robotics teams earned honors for design excellence, competitive play, teamwork and partnerships. A not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST inspires young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.    

“We continue to be impressed by the level of dedication, collaboration and the high caliber of problem-solving skills among our FIRST students,” said Kamen. “These young innovators will be handling the complex challenges of the 21st Century and bolstering our global economy with new research, inventions and jobs. Every year, we celebrate the achievements of the best young minds in science and innovation at the FIRST Championship,” added Kamen. 

This year, The Black Eyed Peas hosted a special concert to honor the FIRST students and the largest contingency ever, at 25,000 attendees. Major awards were presented by senior officials from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, as well as executives from Autodesk, Boeing, General Motors, PTC, Rockwell Automation, UL, among others.  

“The President is a very big fan,” said Chopra.  “When he announced our STEM collaboration program in November 2009, he had the FIRST robotics team in Roanoke, Virginia, demonstrate first and foremost what they did and how they did it.  And the President had a ball doing it.”   

More than 600 teams from 29 countries competed in the three levels of FIRST: FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®, grades 4 to 8, nine to 14-year-olds in the U.S and Canada; nine 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). Thirty teams of six to nine-year-olds participated in the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL, grades K-3), showcasing their science and technology smarts in the Jr.FLL World Festival Expo.

This year marked the 20th season of the FRC program. In year one, FIRST hosted an FRC program with 28 teams in a New Hampshire high school gym. In 2011, 2,075 FIRST teams in 11 countries participated in FRC. In addition to the FRC winning alliance and awards, the first-ever FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award was given to an all-girl FLL team, The Flying Monkeys. The inaugural award, sponsored by X Prize and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, recognized The Flying Monkeys as the top winner, and provided two runner-up awards to the Blue Gear Ticks from Lincoln, Mass., and 4th Motor from East Troy, Wis.   

The FIRST Championship honored long-time supporters of the FIRST mission. 

  • Founder’s Award, presented each year by FIRST founder Dean Kamen to one organization or individual for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST – The Boeing Company
  • Woodie Flowers Award, founded by Dr. William P. Murphy Jr. to recognize an outstanding engineer or teacher who best demonstrates teaching excellence in teaching science, math and creative design – John Larock, staffing manager for engineering and operations, DuPont; mentor, Team 365, MOE, Wilmington, Del.
  • Family Legacy Award – The Doerr Family, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Volunteer of the Year Award, Ceci Neumann, Attorney, Fairfield, Conn.

The event offered three different robotics challenges; the 2011 winners are as follows:

FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) Championship – FRC combines sports excitement with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to fund, design a brand, exercise teamwork, build and program robots to perform tasks against competitors.   

This year’s FRC challenge was “LOGO MOTION™,” honoring Jack Kamen, Dean Kamen’s father. Two alliances of three teams competed on a field with poles, attempting to earn points by hanging as many triangle, circle and square logo pieces as possible. Bonus points were awarded for each robot that hung and assembled logo pieces to form the FIRST logo.  

The Winning Alliance of the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship was Team 254, The Cheesy Poofs, San Jose, Calif.; Team 111, WildStang, Schaumburg, Ill.; Team 973, Greybots, Atascadero, Calif., from the Galileo Division. 

Team 359, Hawaiian Kids, of Waialua, Hawaii, 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. Read the judges’ award script. 

Winners of the Dean’s List Award were: Nicholas Bandiera, Team 1334, OTHS Red Devils, Oakville, Ontario, Canada; Luther Banner, Team 1985, Robohawks, Florrisant, Mo.; Tina Dutra, Team 228, Team ‘Gus’, Meriden, Conn.; Santiago Garza, Team 2543, TitanBOT, Chula Vista, Calif.; Lydia Johnston, Team 1983, Skunkworks Robotics, Des Moines, Wash.; JB Ring, Team 2534, The Lakers, Baltimore, Md.; Michael Schrager, Team 135, The Black Knights, Mishawaka, Ind.; Michael Violet, Team 78, AIR Strike, Newport County, R.I.; Cody Wall, Team 987, HIGHROLLERS, Las Vegas, N.V.; Christina Wettersten, Team 1868, Space Cookies, Moffett Field, Calif. 

Other awards included:

  • Engineering Inspiration Award – Team 1629, Garrett Coalition (GaCo), McHenry, Md.
  • Championship Finalists Team 2016, Mighty Monkey Wrenches, Ewing, N.J.; Team 177, Bobcat Robotics, South Windsor, Conn.; Team 781, Kinetic Knights, Kincardine, Ontario, Canada 
  • Division WinnersArchimedes Division: Team 2016, Mighty Monkey Wrenches, Ewing, N.J.; Team 177, Bobcat Robotics, South Windsor, Conn.; Team 781, Kinetic Knights, Kincardine, Ontario, Canada. Curie Division: Team 987, HIGHROLLERS, Las Vegas, N.V.; Team 968, RAWC (Robotics Alliance of West Covina), West Covina, Calif; Team 51, Wings of Fire, Pontiac, Mich. Galileo Division: Team 254, Cheesy Poofs, San Jose, Calif.; Team 111, WildStang, Schaumburg, Ill.; Team 973, Greybots, Atascadero, Calif. Newton Division: Team 217, ThunderChickens, Sterling Heights, Mich; Team 1503, Spartonics, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; Team 25, Raider Robotix, North Brunswick, N.J.
  • Division FinalistsArchimedes Division: Team 2054, TECH Vikes, Hopkins, Mich.; Team 330, Beach Bots, Hermosa Beach, Calif.; Team 3747, Caotech, Mankato, Minn. Curie Division: Team 71, Team Hammond, Hammond, Ind.; Team 2826, Wave Robotics, Oshkosh, Wis.; Team 103, Cybersonics, Kintnersville, PA. Galileo Division: Team 469, Las Guerrillas, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; Team 610, The Coyotes, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Team 188, Blizzard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newton Division: Team 3138, Innovators Robotics, Dayton, Ohio; Team 233, The Pink Team, Rockledge/Cocoa Beach/Viera, Fla.; Team 1801, The Dapper Dans, Kountze, Texas
  • Coopertition™ Awards Archimedes Division: Team 931, Perpetual Chaos, St. Louis, Mo.; Galileo Division: Team 195, Cyber Knights, Southington, Conn.; Newton Division: Team 148, Robowranglers, Greenville, Texas
  • Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox – Team 1983, Skunkworks Robotics, Des Moines, Wash.
  • Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi – Team 2054, TECH Vikes, Hopkins, Mich.
  • Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers – Team 687, The Nerd Herd, Carson, Calif.  
  • Excellence in Design Award (3D) sponsored by Autodesk – Team 75, RoboRaiders, Hillsborough, N.J.
  • Excellence in Design Award (Animation) sponsored by Autodesk – Team 1671, Buchanan Bird Brains, Clovis, Calif.
  • Gracious Professionalism™ Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson – Team 118, Robonauts, League City, Texas
  • Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen – Team 2169, KING TeC, Prior Lake/Savage, Minn.
  • Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors – Team 254, Cheesy Poofs, San Jose, Calif.
  • Industrial Safety Award sponsored by UL – Team 1710, The Ravonics Revolution, Olathe, Kan.
  • Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation – Team 2056, OP Robotics, Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
  • Quality Award sponsored by Motorola – Team 1538, The Holy Cows, San Diego, Calif.
  • Team Spirit Award sponsored by Chrysler – Team 329, Raiders, Medford, N.Y.
  • Rookie All-star Award – Team 3478, Campus San Luis, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
  • Rookie Inspiration Award – Team 3527, Tec Balam Esmeralda, Atizapan, Mexico
  • Website Award – Team 245, Adambots, Rochester Hills, Mich.
  • Judges’ AwardsInfecting a Continent Award: Team 3132, Thunder Down Under, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Seizing the Opportunity: Team 3747, Chaotech, Mankato, Minn.

FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) World Championship– FTC is designed for head-to-head competition. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. This year’s FTC challenge was GET OVER IT!™ Using a combination of sensors, including infrared tracking (IR), line following, magnet seeking, ultrasonic, touch, and more, students programmed their robots to operate in both autonomous and tele-operated modes over a raised center goal. 

GET OVER IT! matches lasted two minutes and 40 seconds, with a 40-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute tele-operated period. The final 30 seconds of the tele-operated period was the “end game.” Teams could only earn balance points when they made contact with their own bridge and sent their robots and goal on top of the bridges. 

The FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Inspire Award, recognizing excellence in robot design and teamwork, went to Team 4466, Robots and Brain Bots Inc., from Waltham, Mass. The FIRST Tech Challenge Winning Alliance was Team 178 (Captain), SD30 Robotics from Ronan, Mont.; Team 577, Wreckers, Westport, Conn.; and Team 2875, MITibot, from Lexington, Mass.

The FTC Volunteer of the Year Award winner was John Toebes, Director of Patents, Cisco Systems, who was recognized for creation, leadership, and support of the wireless FTC robot communication system Samantha. The Compass Award for excellence in coaching/mentoring was awarded to John and Marion Brooks of FTC Teams 31 and 32. The mentors were nominated by their team members.

Other awards included:

  • World Championship Finalists – Team 4278 (Captain), de.evolution, San Diego, Calif; Team 4102, CHS Robotics, South Orange, N.J.; Team 3053, Doves of Justice, Atherton, Calif.
  • Division Finalists – Edison Division: Team 4240 (Captain), 4-H Techno Clovers, McHenry, Md.; Team 2869, Flaming Cup Noodles, Portland, Oregon; Team 2818, The Original G-FORCE, McHenry, MD; Franklin Division: Team 3785 (Captain), Beastie Bots, Highland Park, Ill.; Team 2803, Raptor Robotics, Elkhart, Ind.; Team 3705, ICY, Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • PTC Design Award – Team 3415, Lancers, Livingston, N.J.
  • Connect Award – Team 452, PHI – Power through Higher Innovation, Lancaster, Calif.
  • Rockwell Collins Innovate Award – Team 4220, Landroids, Livingston, N.J.
  • Motivate Award – Team 560, *STAR*, Alpharetta, Ga.
  • Think Award – Team 2827, Artificial Stupidity, Durham, N.C.
  • Judges’ Awards – Team 3294, Bulldogs, Monterrey, Mexico; Team 3529, Scrap Metal, South Lyon, Mich.

FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) World Festival – FLL introduces younger children to real-world engineering challenges by conducting research projects and building LEGO-based autonomous robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface.  FLL teams, guided by their imaginations, discover exciting career possibilities and learn to make positive contributions to society. This year’s challenge, Body Forward® engaged kids to explore the exciting world of Biomedical Engineering through hands-on, minds-on teamwork. 

Body Forward was a two-part robotics challenge that required research to complete the project phase, and science and engineering to master the complex missions of the robot game phase. In the project phase, teams researched a body part, function, or system; created an innovative solution to protect, repair, heal, or improve it; and shared their solution(s). In the robot game phase, teams confronted some of today’s medical issues and applied robotics, sensor technology, and ingenuity to solve them. Robot missions in the FLL Challenge ranged from bone repair, rapid blood screening, and pace makers, to futuristic inventions such as nerve mapping, bionic eyes, and object control through thought. The robots, designed by the children and built using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies, required a variety of mechanical capabilities to accomplish the missions set forth in the Challenge.

Top honors went to Champion’s Award 1st Place winner, Team 3663, The Sentinels, Oakville, Ontario; Champion’s Award 2nd Place winner, Team 13300, SAP g33k$, Mpumalanga, South Africa; and Champion’s Award 3rd Place winner, Team 4129, Hammerheads, Umatilla, Fla.

Other awards included:

  • Robot Performance Award – Team 4129, Hammerheads, Umatilla, Fla.
  • Strategy & Innovation Award – Team 13550, avaloq, Kölliken, Switzerland
  • Programming Award – Team 2192, Blue Gear Ticks, Lincoln, Mass.
  • Mechanical Design Award – Team 3691, NX Treme, Ashburn, Va.
  • Research Award – Team 14650, Extreme, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Presentation Award – Team 14050, Bintulu Hawks, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Innovative Solution Award – Team 14550, NXT Generation, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Teamwork Award – Team 13050, KONDORTECH, La Molina, Peru
  • Inspiration Award – Team 13500, Team SAP Ireland, County Mayo, Ireland
  • Gracious Professionalism Award – Team 13700 SAP ROBO PUNDITS, Bangalore, India
  • Outstanding Volunteer Awards – Cathy Swider, Oregon, and Charlie and Cynthia Schmitz, Ill.
  • Young Adult/Mentor Awards – Raghan Altubabaiti of Saudi Arabia and John Damrath of Mich.
  • Adult Coach/Mentor Awards – Pablo Tomas Hernandez Cruz of Mexico and Khalil Asfour of Jordan

Judges’ Awards

    • Team 4497, iBrick, St. Albans, Mo.
    • Team 3250, GENIUS – Girls Exploring New Ideas Using Science, Marietta, Ga.
    • Team 14250, Montechsorri, Medellin, Colombia
    • Team 14750, Zedny Elman, Cairo, Egypt

Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) Expo – The Jr.FLL Expo introduces the youngest kids to the exciting worlds of science and technology.  Just like FLL, this program features real-world challenges to be solved by research, critical thinking and imagination. Guided by coaches, students work with LEGO elements to create solutions and present them for review.    

This year’s Jr.FLL Challenge was based on Body Forward and was defined in two parts – the Show-Me Poster and a Model. The Show-Me Poster required kids to illustrate their research and team journey. In the Model portion, students built a representation of what they researched, incorporating simple machines and movement into their creation.  

Teams were able to utilize a motor to power movement in their model, or move an element of it by hand. Teams displayed motorized LEGO models in the first-ever Jr.FLL World Festival Expo, each representing a medical tool or machine. Teams also participated in activities such as "Build-the-Change with LEGO® Education," in which students were invited to show what they thought the future of St. Louis would look like via LEGO models. 

Official Championship Sponsors for the 2011 FIRST Championship include: Abbott, AT&T, Autodesk, BAE Systems, SAIC, Siemens, The United States Air Force and United Technologies. Other FIRST Championship Sponsors this year are: The Boeing Company, Coca-Cola, glacéau vitaminwater, and the National Defense Education Program (NDEP); FedEx Corporation–FIRST Shipping Sponsor; NASA–Machine Shop and Satellite Broadcast Sponsor; UL–FIRST Safety Partner; Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS)–FIRST Judges Sponsor; Google–FIRST Event Sponsor; Maryville University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri–FIRST Scholarship Row Sponsors; and Central Intelligence Agency, Honda, and Rolls Royce–FIRST Robotics Conference Sponsors.

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® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (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.

FIRST andthe FIRST logo are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). LEGO® is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group. 

Media Contacts:

Cheryl Walsh, FIRST 
Ph. 603-206-2460
           Maureen O’Connell,
Ph. 617-939-8330