FIRST Innovators of Tomorrow

FIRST Innovators of Tomorrow

“Somewhere out there are kids who can potentially cure cancer, eliminate infectious diseases, or build an engine that does not pollute. They may not know it yet, but they are the future, and FIRST can help inspire them to pursue those paths and provide them with the skills to seize those opportunities.”  
Founder, Dean Kamen

FIRST is more than just robots. It is also the catalyst for inspiring innovation in young people. The FIRST Innovators of Tomorrow can be seen in each of the FIRST Programs and through countless stories of imaginative, creative and innovative students. Learn more about:

Global Innovation Award

GIAThe FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award is designed to encourage and assist FIRST LEGO League (FLL®) teams to further develop their innovative solutions to real-world problems. In June 2013, nearly 500 FLL teams from around the world submitted ideas for inventions that could help seniors lead better lives. The winning invention, submitted by “NeXT GEN” from Oakland, Md., is an assistive device that helps seniors pick up pills or other small objects that are difficult to retrieve with a conventional claw or magnetic-type device. The theme for the competition was SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM; FLL teams were tasked with creating inventions that help seniors lead better lives. Read more in June 18, 2013 Press Release.

FIRST Future Innovator Award sponsored by the Abbott Fund


The FIRST Future Innovator Award (FFIA) award recognizes creativity in effectively solving a real-world, complex problem through the invention of a unique solution beyond the requirements of the FIRST competition season. This award directly links to the FIRST mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and to the FIRST vision to transform the culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated. Read more>>

Rockwell Automation Team Grants for Next-Generation Innovators

Engineering Our Future: Next-Generation Innovators Envision a Brighter Future
The Engineering Our Future™ video contest in November 2013 was designed to ignite the imaginations of this next generation of innovators and get them thinking about how they will apply the engineering skills they’re learning through FIRST to make a difference in their communities and our world. As an added bonus, teams had the chance to win team grants – Rockwell Automation awarded $10,000 to the winning teams. More than 140 FIRST teams from around the world submitted their ideas for how they will use engineering to change the world. Read more>>


How FIRST Students are Making an Impact as Innovators


The critically-acclaimed business-themed show, Shark Tank spotlights FIRST Teams in two separate episodes
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Alumni, “The Inventioneers” from Londonderry, New Hampshire
Entrepreneurs: The Inventioneers
Pitch: The Smartwheel, a device that lights up or makes a tone to alert the driver that he/she is engaged in one of three unsafe driving positions.
Result: They have a deal for the wheel. Watch the episode >>

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Alumni, “Team S.P.I.K.E.” from Pennington, New Jersey
Entrepreneurs: Dave Jackson and Dave Petrillo
Pitch: Coffee Joulies, a product that absorbs the heat from your coffee to make it a drinkable temperature within minutes. Then the product releases the heat it absorbed to keep the coffee within the perfect drinking range for twice as long as usual.
Result: The Dave's made a deal with four of the ‘sharks.’ Watch the episode >>

FIRST LEGO League Team Builds a Better Lunch Box
The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) "MadArt" Team — five kids from Madison, Wisconsin with one great idea: to build a better lunch box. Last year they researched food safety and came up with one yucky conclusion — when it comes to keeping food safe, most lunch boxes don't measure up. So, they came up with a solution — the MadBox — and their invention was scooped up by Lands' End.
Watch video: We Invented It — The Lands' End MadBox™


Elaine Houston, FIRST Alum - Where is she now?

In May 2010, Elaine graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. Following graduation, Elaine was accepted into the Rehabilitation Science and Technology Ph.D. program at the University of Pittsburgh. For the last three years, Elaine has been a member of a research team at the Human Engineering Research Lab working on interface design for PerMMA (Personal Mobility and Manipulation Appliance), a robotic wheelchair with two robotic arms to allow people with significant disabilities to perform tasks independently and spontaneously, both at home and in the community. Watch a video featuring the PerMMA in action, with Elaine using a touchscreen interface she helped develop. Read more>>

Dean’s List Award Winner, Kathryn Hite

“Because of the knowledge I have gained through FIRST, I have continued to develop my own autonomous wheelchair with an emphasis on low-cost components and marketability. I recently turned this into a science fair project, and, winning my regional fair, was given the opportunity to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix in May. This was an amazing event, and I was able to not only gain input on my project, but speak with interesting people from around the world including Intel, NASA, and Google engineers. I plan on continuing my project, and I hope to produce a solution to this transportation problem experienced by hundreds of thousands of people.

FRC Team Using Robotic Technology to Make a Difference in the Lives of Disabled Veterans.

A group of home-school students are using robotic technology to make a difference in the lives of disabled veterans. The team created a device that enables wheelchair-bound man to leash and unleash his service dog, and feed himself for the first time since his accident.

The students said it is a privilege to help wounded veterans who have done so much for their country. They are working with veterans groups to identify wounded veterans in the area and design and fabricate custom parts to help them.

"We feel that science and technology is one of the greatest ways that we can better society," sophomore Cullan Fritts said. "It not only helps them. It helps us. It helps everybody." Read more >>