PTC Sponsors FIRST Robotics Competition for Students

10 Dec, 2007

Company provides Windchill Web-based portals to help high school teams parallel real-world product-development processes.

PTC announced yesterday that it will serve as a FIRST Collaboration Sponsor for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. The educational initiative was founded in 1989 by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen and reaches more than 125,000 students in grades K-12 annually, according to the announcement. The goal of FIRST is to design accessible, innovative programs for children that build science and technology skills and interests, as well as self confidence, leadership, and life skills.

Through this sponsorship, PTC is offering a hosted version of its collaboration solution, Windchill, to be used by FRC teams to improve collaboration among team members during the intense, six-week build season.

More than 150 participating teams have already registered to use Windchill to manage FRC projects. Participating teams also are offered the school editions of PTC Pro/ENGINEER CAD/CAM/CAE software and Mathcad engineering calculation software.

"We're excited to welcome PTC as a sponsor for the FIRST Robotics Competition," said Kamen. "PTC's software donation allows the teams to work with collaboration technology throughout all phases of the competition. Additionally, sponsorship provides an exciting opportunity for PTC and its employee mentors to make a rewarding investment in our future technology workforce."

PTC also has launched a program to reach out to PTC employees, resellers, and customers, encouraging those individuals to mentor FRC teams in their local area or volunteer at one of 41 regional competitions.

Using Windchill can benefit FIRST teams in the following ways, according to PTC:

  • Teams can create Web-based, compartmentalized project portals and easily self-administer team access to content. Project portals will enable team members to track the project schedule, deliverables, and status.

  • Online discussion forums can help teams keep track of conversations between members and decisions made.

  • The Web-based portal reduces the need for travel and increases responsiveness.

  • Robust document management capabilities can allow teams to manage any documents and offer special-purpose capabilities to manage and visualize CAD data. Visualization capabilities enable all team members to view, comment on, measure, and mark up designs without access to the CAD application itself.

  • Comprehensive project-management and execution capabilities include the ability to define and manage milestones, tasks, deliverables, and resources.
An FRC project template is preloaded with a Getting Started Guide, online tutorials, and FRC schedule. FIRST teams are encouraged to register online for the Windchill Web-based solution.