FIRST Adds Kinect for Xbox 360 Technology to High-School Robotics Competition Tool Kit for 2012

FIRST Adds Kinect for Xbox 360 Technology to High-School Robotics Competition Tool Kit for 2012

Kinect for Xbox 360 to be used with Robots in Autonomous Mode, allowing students to "be the robot" 


MANCHESTER, N.H., October 7, 2011
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, today announced that Microsoft Corporation’s award-winning Kinect for Xbox 360 will be a part of the standard robotics Kit of Parts (KoP) for the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season. The addition of Kinect for Xbox 360 will allow the competitors to “be the robot,” using a natural user interface to control and interact with their robots with gestures, without the need to use a joystick, game controller, or other input device.

An estimated 60,000 high-school students will benefit from new technology in the annual robotics competition thanks to Microsoft’s donation of 2,500 Kinect sensors to the 2012 FIRST robotics game. The new sensor, which will be beta tested with robots built by FIRST students this fall, includes a depth camera and both video and audio sensors to capture video data in 3D. 

In the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition, teams will be able to control robots via Kinect. They will be able to either program their robots to respond to their own custom gestures made by their human teammates, or use default code and gestures. The added ability for teams to customize the application of the Kinect sensor data is a valuable enhancement to the FRC experience. 

The FIRST Robotics Competition is a unique ‘varsity Sport for the Mind™’ designed to help young people discover the interesting and rewarding aspects of engineering and research, while challenging teams and their mentors to solve problems in a six-week timeframe using a standard Kit of Parts and a common set of rules.

“This is an awesome capability to incorporate into a robot,” said Bill Miller, Director of FIRST Robotics Competition. "By working with Microsoft, we are able to provide FRC students with an additional high-level sensor capability, adding to the options for our students’ strategy on the field as well as delivering a unique robotics experience. This experience will take the competition to a new level, while also helping equip students with the skills and tools to innovate in the 21st century.”

 "This is an exciting time for FIRST teams," said Tony Hey, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research. "By putting the amazing capabilities of the Kinect sensor in students’ hands, FIRST is able to provide a compelling and powerful new technology for the teams. With so many students already familiar with Kinect for Xbox 360 at home, in school, and lately even on their PCs via the Kinect for Windows SDK beta, I’m sure it will be a popular choice."

During the 2011 season, 2,072 FRC teams totaling 51,800 students competed at 59 events in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. Participants are eligible to apply for nearly $15 million in scholarships at more than 140 colleges and universities.

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 more than $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, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S.,Canada, and Mexico) 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, visit www.usfirst.org

Media Contacts:

Cheryl Walsh, FIRST
Ph. 603-206-2460
cwalsh@usfirst.org