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Over 10,000 Students from Around the Globe Test Robotic Skills at 2013 FIRST Championship

This week, more than 10,000 students from around the globe travelled to St. Louis, Mo., to put their engineering skills to the test at the annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship, held at the Edward Jones Dome.


Students put their custom-built robots to the test in this year's FIRST Robotics Competition game, ULTIMATE ASCENTSM, during FIRST Championship, April 24-27, in St. Louis, Mo. Two Alliances made up of three teams each try to score as many flying discs into their goals as possible. Photo by Adriana Groisman


The three-day event, April 24-27, came down to a heart-pounding conclusion Saturday night in front of a roaring crowd of 25,000 when three teams from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; The Woodlands, Texas; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada won the coveted FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Championship Winning Alliance. In this year’s game, ULTIMATE ASCENTSM, two Alliances made up of three teams each try to score as many flying discs into their goals as possible during the two-minute and 15-second match. This year, 2,546 FRC teams in 17 countries participated in 77 Regional and District competitions.

In all, more than 10,000 students, ages 6 to 18, participated in the Championship events. At the Opening Ceremonies, accomplished inventor and FIRST founder Dean Kamen recognized pop superstar for his volunteer work with the not-for-profit. “I’m proud to help FIRST inspire young people to pursue science and technology careers,” said. “The experience that students gain and the values they learn in FIRST programs are crucial to creating the innovative problem solvers of tomorrow.”

Several other U.S. and international FIRST student robotics teams earned honors for design excellence, competitive play, research, business plans, website design, teamwork, and partnerships. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST inspires young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

Nearly 650 teams from 37 countries competed in the three levels of FIRST: FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®, grades 4 to 8, 9 to 14-year-olds in the U.S, Canada, and Mexico; 9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S, Canada, and Mexico); FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®, grades 7 to 12, 12 to 18-year-olds); and FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®, grades 9 to 12, ages 14 to 18). In addition to the high-energy robotics matches, 40 teams of 6 to 9-year-olds participated in the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®, grades K-3), World Festival Expo.

In addition to the FRC winning Alliance and awards, the first-ever Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial Scholarships were given to:

  • Sofia Dhanani of California
  • Sarah Rudasill of Pennsylvania
  • Pascale Wallace Patterson of Oregon

Major awards were presented by senior officials from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, as well as executives from Autodesk, Boeing, General Motors, PTC, Microsoft, Google, Rockwell Automation, and UL, among others.

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 – Rockwell Automation
  • 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 – Faridodin “Fredi” Lajvardi, Teacher, Carl Hayden Community High School, Director, Center for Marine Science Program; Vice President, APASE (Arizona Promoters of Applied Science in Education); Mentor, Team 842, Falcon Robotics, Phoeniz, Ariz.
  • Inaugural Make It Loud Award, given to the person who has contributed the most in increasing the awareness of FIRST to the general public –, Grammy-award winning entertainer
  • Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award – Al Skierkiewicz, Maintenance and Design Engineer, WTTW Inc. Public Television, Chicago, Ill.; Team 111, WildStang, Schaumburg, Ill.
  • Future Innovator Award sponsored by the Abbott Foundation – Parker Owen, FRC Team 3469 and FTC Team 4260, both named Spanish Inquisition, Mobile, Ala. for his invention, the Cycle-Leg, an inexpensive prosthetic made from a single recycled bicycle

2013 FIRST Championship Winners

The event offered three different robotics challenges; the 2013 winners of the competitions are as follows:

1.  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 fundraise, design a brand, exercise teamwork, and build and program robots to perform tasks against competitors.

This year’s FRC challenge was ULTIMATE ASCENTSM, where matches are played between two Alliances of three teams each. Each Alliance competes by trying to score as many discs into their goals as possible during the two (2)-minute and 15-second match. Discs scored in higher goals score Alliances more points. Matches end with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field.

  • The Winning Alliance of the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship was Team 1241, THEORY6, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Team 1477, Texas Torque, The Woodlands, Texas; Team 610, The Coyotes, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. from the Galileo Division.
  • Team 1538, The Holy Cows, San Diego, Calif. 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.
  • Winners of the Dean’s List Award included:
    • Kaley Bibic, Team 4476, W.A.F.F.L.E.S., Kingston, Ontario, Canada;
    • Ephraim Bililign, Team 1533, Triple Strange, Greensboro, N.C.;
    • William Blaser, Team 359, Hawaiian Kids, Waialua, Hawaii;
    • Naoka Gunawardena, Team 3504, Girls of Steel, Pittsburgh, Pa.;
    • Ofri Harlev, Team 4159, CardinalBotics, San Francisco, Calif.;
    • Kathryn Hite, Team 3547, Virus, Monroe, Mich.;
    • Kristina Landen, Team 2093, Bowtie Brigade, Portland, Oreg.;
    • Kristen Law, Team 2834, Bionic Barons, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.;
    • Isabel Martos-Repath, Team 589, Falkon Robotics, La Crescenta, Calif.;
    • Joshua Thomas, Team 704, Warriors, Grand Prairie, Texas

Other FRC Awards included:

  • Engineering Inspiration Award – Team 3478, LamBot, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
  • Championship Finalists – Archimedes Division: Team 33, Killer Bees, Auburn Hills, Mich.; Team 469, Las Guerrillas, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.;Team 1519, Mechanical Mayhem, Milford, N.H.
  • Division Winners – Archimedes Division: Team 33, Killer Bees, Auburn Hills, Mich.; Team 469, Las Guerrillas, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.;Team 1519, Mechanical Mayhem, Milford, N.H. Curie Division: Team 1678, Citrus Circuits, Davis, Calif.; Team 148, Robowranglers, Greenville, Texas; Team 862, Lightning Robotics, Canton, Mich. Galileo Division: Team 1241, THEORY6, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Team 1477, Texas Torque, The Woodlands, Texas; Team 610, The Coyotes, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newton Division: Team 303, TEST team, Bridgewater, N.J.; Team 3476, Code Orange, Dana Point, Calif.; Team 1640, Sab-BOT-age, Downingtown/ Exton, Pa.
  • Division Finalists – Archimedes Division: Team 2415, WiredCats, Atlanta, Ga.; Team 987, HIGHROLLERS, Las Vegas, Nev.; Team 2959, Robotarians, Coloma, Mich. Curie Division Team 4814, United Robotics Team of London, London, Ontario, Canada; Team 67, The HOT Team, Milford, Mich.; Team 1918, NC GEARS, Fremont, Mich. Galileo Division: Team 2169, KING TeC, Prior Lake/Savage, Minn.; Team 3284, Camdenton 4H LASER Team, Camdenton, Mo.; Team 2175, The Fighting Calculators, Woodbury, Minn. Newton Division: Team 1538, The Holy Cows, San Diego, Calif.;Team 1986, Team Titanium, Lee's Summit, Mo.; Team 217, ThunderChickens, Sterling Heights, Mich.
  • Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox – Team 3018, Nordic Storm, Saint Peter, Minn.
  • Engineering Excellence Award sponsored by Delphi – Team 1986, Team Titanium, Lee's Summit, Mo.
  • Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers – Team 2614, MARS, Morgantown, W.Va.
  • Gracious Professionalism® Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson – Team 3138, Innovators Robotics, Dayton, Ohio
  • Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen – Team 1902, Exploding Bacon, Winter Park, Fla.
  • Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors – Team 254, The Cheesy Poofs, San Jose, Calif.
  • Industrial Safety Award sponsored by UL – Team 2638, Rebels, Great Neck, N.Y.
  • Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation – Team 1717, D'Penguineers, Goleta, Calif.
  • Media & Technology Innovation Award sponsored by Comcast – Team 2283, Panteras, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Quality Award sponsored by Motorola – Team 33, Killer Bees, Auburn Hills, Mich.
  • Team Spirit Award sponsored by Chrysler – Team 233, The Pink Team, Rockledge/Cocoa Beach, Fla.
  • Highest Rookie Seed – Archimedes Division: Team 4450, Olympia Robotics Federation, Olympia, Wash. Curie Division: Team 4814, United Robotics Team of London, London, Ontario, Canada. Galileo Division: Team 4557, FullMetal Falcons, Middletown, Conn. Newton Division: Team 4476, W.A.F.F.L.E.S., Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Rookie All-star Award – Archimedes Division: Team 4731, monarch-e, Morelia, Mexico. Curie Division: Team 4488, ShockWave, Hillsboro, Ore. Galileo Division: Team 4472, SuperNOVA, Manassas, Va. Newton Division: Team 4451, ROBOTZ Garage, Laurens, S.C.
  • Rookie Inspiration Award – Archimedes Division: Team 4471, SPARTRONS, Hollywood, Fla. Curie Division: Team 4814, United Robotics Team of London, London, Ontario, Canada. Galileo Division: Team 4601, Circuit Birds, Canfield, Ohio. Newton Division: Team 4586, PRIMO, modiin, Israel
  • Judges’ Awards – Archimedes Division: “Reach for the Top” Team 3467, The Windham Windup, Windham, N.H. Curie Division: “Setting the Bar HIGH and Making it LOUD” - Team 3354, TecDroid, Queretaro, Mexico. Galileo Division: Team 3211, The Y Team, Yeruham, Israel. Newton Division: “Community Involvement” - Team 4539, KAOTIC Robotics, Frazee, Minn.

2. FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) World Championship – FTC is designed for head-to-head competition. Teams use a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears, and sensors, including infrared tracking (IR) and magnet seeking, to design, build, and program robots to compete in an Alliance format against other teams. The object of this year’s game, named RING IT UP!SM, is to score more points than an opponent by placing plastic rings on to pegs on a center rack. Teams will be challenged to detect special “weighted” rings to earn them bonus points. Matches last two minutes and 30 seconds, and begin with a 30-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute driver-controlled period. The final 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period is the “end game,” where each team can score bonus points by lifting up their Alliance partner’s robot off the game floor to a maximum height of 24 inches.

Approximately 2,500 FIRST Tech Challenge teams competed during the 2012/2013 FTC season. The 2012/13 FIRST Tech Challenge Sponsors include Official Program Sponsor for the FIRST Tech Challenge, Rockwell Collins, and FTC CAD and Collaboration Sponsor, PTC®.

The FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Inspire Award, recognizing excellence in robot design and teamwork, went to Team 3550, Beta, West Des Moines, Iowa. The FIRST Tech Challenge Winning Alliance was Team 4251, Cougar Robotics Team, Columbus, Ohio; Team 4140, Fish in the Boat, Lakeville, Minn.; Team 5096, Monkey Madness, Huntsville, Ala. from the Franklin Division.

The FTC Volunteer of the Year Award winner was Mary Ellen Toebes of North Carolina. The Compass Award for excellence in coaching/mentoring was awarded to Vince Liao, Team 4250, Lightsabers, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Other FTC awards included:

  • Championship Finalists – Team 3717, CyberKnights, Seattle, Wash.; Team 3846, Maelstrom, Tampa, Fla.; Team 4855, Batteries In Black, Portland, Ore.
  • Division Winners – Edison Division: Team 3717, CyberKnights, Seattle, Wash.; Team 3846, Maelstrom, Tampa, Fla.; Team 4855, Batteries In Black, Portland, Ore.; Franklin Division: Team 4251, Cougar Robotics Team, Columbus, Ohio; Team 4140, Fish in the Boat, Lakeville, Minn.; Team 5096, Monkey Madness, Huntsville, Ala. from the Franklin Division.
  • Division Finalists – Edison Division: Team 4220, Landroids, Livingston, N.J.; Team 4102, CHS Cougars, Maplewood, N.J.; Team 3485, Da Peeps, Flint, Mich.; Franklin Division: Team 4530, Infinite Resistance, Cincinnati, Ohio; Team 4546, SnakeByte, Austin, Texas; Team 3531, The Short Circuits, Portland, Ore.
  • Rockwell Collins Innovate Award – Team 3717, CyberKnights, Seattle, Wash.
  • Motivate Award – Team 5132, AHERT Ravens, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Connect Award – Team 3509, PHOENXTRIX, Folsom, Calif.
  • Think Award – Team 4076, RoBUGs, McDonough, Ga.
  • PTC Design Award – Team 4140, Fish in the Boat, Lakeville, Minn.
  • Promote Award – Team 2753, Team Overdrive, Bridgewater, N.J.
  • Judges’ Awards:
    • FIRST Responders Award – Team 3539, Say Watt?, Edison, N.J.
    • March to the FIRST Beat Award – Team 3981, Gold Griffins, Kingston, Jamaica

3.  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, SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM engaged 205,000 kids to explore the challenges seniors may face through hands-on, minds-on teamwork.

Top honors went to Champion’s Award 1st Place winner, Team 16100, Untitled 1, Bath, England; Champion’s Award 2nd Place winner, Team 16850, SESI Robotics School, Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Champion’s Award 3rd Place winner, Team 742, Robo Raiders, Lebanon, Ill.

Other FLL awards included:

  • Robot Performance Award – Team 16550, China Compass, Changzhou, China
  • Strategy & Innovation Award – Team 15950, mindfactory, Baden, Switzerland
  • Programming Award – Team 17200, Dawn of Innovation 3, Tripoli, Lebanon
  • Mechanical Design Award – Team 16000, Epunkt e., Paderborn, Germany
  • Research Award – Team 951, RoboThunder, Park City, Utah
  • Presentation Award – Team 237, All Saints Academy, Middletown, R.I.
  • Innovative Solution Award – Team 5993, Argonaut Cats, Bethesda, Md.
  • Teamwork Award – Team 3985, World Changers, Davenport, Iowa
  • Inspiration Award – Team 15700, SAP Grey Matters, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Gracious Professionalism® Award – Team 405, Bremen Botz!, Bremen, Ind.
  • Outstanding Volunteer Awards – Randall Hicks of Mississippi; Kenny Meesters of Netherlands and Kathie Reuter of Missouri
  • Young Adult Mentor Awards – Peter Tucker of Arkansas and Proud Heng of Los Angeles
  • Adult Coach/Mentor Awards – Tiffanie Eyre of Washington and Denny Davis of Missouri

Judges’ Awards

  • Team 16700, Robot League Kimberley, Puerto Tejada, Colombia
  • Team 16750, Roots Pakistan, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Team 17000, Hayovel Seeds, Yehud, Israel
  • Team 17150, VIARO, Sant Cugat Del Valles, Spain

Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) World Festival Expo – The Jr.FLL Expo introduces children ages 6 to 9 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.

In this year’s Jr.FLL Challenge, SUPER SENIORSSM, teams took a hands-on approach to the topic of aging by learning about the challenges some seniors may have (i.e. keeping in touch with friends and family, staying fit). The Challenge 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.

2013 FIRST Championship Sponsors

The 2013 FIRST Championship Official Sponsor is Qualcomm.

Championship Program Sponsors this year are: Abbott, The Boeing Company, The Coca-Cola Company, FedEx, NASA, National Defense Education Program, NRG Energy, Inc., United Technologies, and U.S. Air Force.

Other 2013 Championship Sponsors include: Air National Guard, Autodesk, Comcast, Good Samaritan Society, International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), Renesas Electronics, SAIC, Saint Louis Science Center, Siemens Industry, Inc., Southwest Airlines, SpaceX, Stanley Black & Decker, and UL. Also, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), a new Booth Sponsor, will share a booth with their partner, Oak Ridge National Labs’ Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.

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