FIRST (For Inspiration of Science and Technology) is an organization that began in 1989 by Dean Kamen with a vision "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders."
In 1992 FIRST started competitions with 28 teams and has grown over the last 20 years to an anticipated 2400+ teams.
FIRST exposes students to fields of mechanical and electrical engineering, computer-aided design programs, electrical wiring, programming of robots using National Instrument software, C++, or JAVA, web design, graphic animation, fundraising, marketing and communication skills. Through the FIRST Robotics program, students will have opportunities to work with real problems, tools, software, culture and friendship to gain skills and knowledge that can affect them for years to come.
The Robots that the teams build are full size and contain industrial controllers and components. The typical starting size of the robot needs to fit in a box 28" x 36" x 60" and, depending on the game, can grow outside of that after the match starts. The weight of the robots are up to 120 lbs (plus bumpers and batteries).
On the first Saturday in January, all teams receive a challenge that must be completed in 6 weeks. This challenge uses real world scenarios for the teams to learn how to problem solve, work with limited resources, limited materials, limited time, and limited funds - such as what all businesses, organizations and countries face everyday. Within this short time frame, these teams design, build, program and test their robots along with developing character and life skills that are unique to real world engineering and professionalism.
The Tri-Sonics team made up of students from Allendale, Coopersville and Jenison registers every year to compete in various events as well as the West Michigan District Event (at the Allendale GVSU Field House).
To visit the Allendale Robotics web page click here.
Here is the link to view the 2013 FIRST Robotic Competition Kickoff Broadcast
Watch the 2014 First Game Animation - Aerial Assist to see what types of challenges our team faces.