Written by Staff
By Will Jukes
The Irving Convention Center hosted FIRST Robotics Competition’s regional tournament on March 23. The competition challenged teams of robotic specialists from grades 9 through 12 to pit their robots against one another in timed matches, where points were scored by shooting frisbees at goals and climbing pyramid-shaped towers. The tournament drew 48 teams from the US and abroad, with one team coming from as far as Mexico City to compete.
FIRST Robotics Competition was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, best known as the inventor of the Segway, the iBOT, and other novel personal transportation systems. Kamen founded FIRST in an effort to inspire more young people to pursue careers in science and technology, fields that were and are suffering from a lack of human capital.
“Kamen saw the direction the world was going in, and this is what we should be inspiring our kids to do. So we continue to cure disease, to come up with technology, to make the world a better place, to inspire our students to be engineers and scientists and researchers we need,” said Christi Holman, Assistant Regional Director for FIRST. “Companies like Raytheon, Microsoft and Lockheed-Martin, are looking for a workforce that frankly doesn't exist in large numbers in the states.”
To that end, FIRST partners young people with mentors from all corners of the science and technology industries, from university students to working engineers. Major sponsors of FIRST also contribute significantly to the mentoring program, hoping to connect with students.