Three Student Teams Win Annual FIRST Championship

21 Apr, 2008

Inventor Dean Kamen recognizes best of young robotics competitors; former President George H.W. Bush asks students to use innovation to solve societal problems.

Teams from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; Greenville, Texas; and Sterling Heights, Michigan emerged victorious at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta April 18-19. The event culminated months of competition involving more than 1,500 teams from the United States and seven other nations. Autodesk served as the Official Championship Sponsor of the 2008 FIRST Championship.

Autodesk Visualization Award finalist, Team #868 from Carmel High School in Indiana, navigate their robot during preliminary rounds of the FIRST Robotics Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST is a not-for-profit initiative offering innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. Teams earned their invitations to the championship by excelling in competitive play, sportsmanship, and the development of partnerships among schools, businesses, and communities.

"FIRST is inspiring the next generation of innovators and engineers," said Kamen. "Years from now, some of the students who competed in the Georgia Dome will be inventing solutions to society's most challenging problems."

Former President George H. W. Bush echoed Kamen's beliefs during Opening Ceremonies on April 18. He reminisced about attending the inaugural FIRST Championship 16 years ago and recognized Kamen for fostering young people's aspirations in science and technology.

Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia also addressed the crowd of budding engineers on Friday, and Governor Linda Lingle also attended the FIRST Championship to support six teams from Hawaii. Throughout the past year, FIRST the number of teams in Lingle's state has grown from four to 26. During this year's championship, Team 359, "Hawaiian Kids" from Waialua, Hawaii, won the Engineering Inspiration Award, and Team 368, "TKM.368" (Team Kika Mana) from Honolulu, Hawaii, was a Division Finalist.

The Winning Alliance of the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship consisted of the following:

  • Team 148, "Robowranglers" of Greenville High School from Greenville, Texas

  • Team 217, "ThunderChickens" of Utica Community Schools from Sterling Heights, Michigan

  • Team 1114, "Simbotics" of Governor Simcoe Secondary School from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Student teams built their robots from a kit of hundreds of parts. This year's game, called "FIRST Overdrive," tested students' and their robots' ability to race around a track, knocking down 40" inflated Trackballs and moving them around the track and passing them either over or under a 6'6" overpass.

Team 842, "Falcon Robotics" of Carl Hayden High School from Phoenix, Arizona, won the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship Chairman's Award, recognized as the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.

Approximately 1,000 high-school students used a modular robotics kit to compete in the "Quad Quandary" challenge, in which students' robots placed 3" rings on goals and moved goals around the field. The FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Inspire Award, recognizing excellence in robot design and teamwork, went to Team 801, "Panteras," from Mexico City, Mexico.

The FIRST Tech Challenge Winning Alliance consisted of the following: Team 23, "Beach Cities Robotics" from Redondo Beach, California; Team 30, "Mr. T" from Montville, New Jersey; and Team 74, "Team Overdrive" from Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Eighty-one teams from around the world participated in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) World Festival. This year's "Power Puzzle" real-life challenge tasked students aged 9 to 14 to design, build, and program robots to explore sustainable options to meet the planet's growing energy needs in environmentally sound ways.

Top honors went to Champion's Award First Place winner, Team 8095, "External Fusion" from Singapore; Champion's Award Second Place winner, Team 2560, "Pixelation," from North Branch, Minnesota; and Champion's Award Third Place winner, Team 334, "Power Peeps," from Swartz Creek, Michigan. The Champion's Award measures how teams inspire and motivate others about science and technology while demonstrating professionalism.

FIRST also recognized the recipients of numerous educational scholarships worth nearly $10 million from various science and engineering schools, including Georgia Institute of Technology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Purdue University.

Other major honors that were awarded at the FIRST Championship include the following:

  • Founder's Award, presented each year by Dean Kamen to one organization or individual for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST - BAE Systems

  • Woodie Flowers Award, founded by Dr. William Murphy and Small Parts to recognize an outstanding engineer or teacher who best demonstrates teaching excellence in teaching science, math, and creative design - Mark Breadner, Vice Principal, Toronto District School Board, Ontario, Canada

  • Outstanding Commitment Award, celebrates one individual who has had a sustained impact on the FIRST Championship by actively supporting FIRST programs through leadership and personal commitment over an extended period - Mike Wade, NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland, who passed away in May, 2007

For a complete list of FIRST Robotics Competition Championship winners and other awards, match results, and scholarship winners, visit FIRST online and click on the "FIRST Championship 08" headline.