What is FIRST?
FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, was founded in 1992 by inventor Dean Kamen, in hopes to further interest young people in pursuing fields related to science and technology.
FIRST currently runs three programs for teams. Originally, there was only the FIRST Robotics competition, a program for students in grades 9-12. In FRC, teams designed and built robots to complete a specific task, being only provided with a control system and a small kit of parts.
The success of FRC eventually led to the creation of FIRST LEGO League and Jr. FIRST LEGO League. These two new programs were intended for students in middle-school and elementary levels, respectively. In these programs, students would design and program a robot, using the LEGO Mindstorms system.
With FIRST recognizing the continued success of FLL and Jr. FLL, they decided to release a brand new program, utilizing the VEX robotics system. This program, the FIRST Tech Challenge, would also be for students in grade 9-12.
Currently, FIRST is prominent throughout the world, having competitions in over 56 countries. They are supported by over 3,500 corporations, and have over 90,000 volunteers working with them. FIRST also offers over $12 million in college scholarships to participating students.
Given those statistics, FIRST is a big deal. Every day, FIRST makes a big difference in the world. If you would like to be a part of that difference, start a team in your area today.