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FIRST Unveils New Game at 2007 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff.

Life-Changing Program Inspires Young People to Pursue Opportunities in Science and Technology

Over 32,500 High-school Students to Compete in 37 Regional Competitions

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) launched its sixteenth FIRST Robotics Competition season today with a Kickoff at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH, hometown and headquarters of FIRST. The FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual competition that helps students discover the rewards and excitement of science, engineering, and technology. Over 32,500 high-school students on 1,300 teams from Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the U.K., and - for the first time ever - every state in the U.S., are participating in this year's competition.

At the Kickoff, all teams were shown this year's game field for the first time and received a common kit of parts and a manual of game rules and regulations. Working with mentors, students now have just six weeks to design, build, and test their robots to meet the season's engineering challenge. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

In this year's game, "Rack 'N' Roll," students' robots are designed to hang inflated colored tubes on pegs configured in rows and columns on a 10-foot high center "rack" structure. Extra points are scored by robots being in their home zone and lifted more than 4" off the floor by another robot before the end of the 2 minute and 15 second match.

The Kickoff in Manchester, sponsored in part by Brooks Automation and NASA, gave teams the opportunity to meet, make friends and renew old friendships, pick brains, and see the new game for the first time. Teams across the nation and in Brazil, Canada, and Israel watched the proceedings via NASA TV broadcast or Web cast from 46 regional kickoff sites, many of which also offered workshops and a chance to meet other teams. The agenda included presentations by FIRST founder Dean Kamen; New Hampshire Governor John Lynch; Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle; Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin; New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer, Connie Crawford; FIRST advisor Dr. Woodie Flowers; FIRST chairman John Abele; FIRST president Paul Gudonis; and NASA program executive Dave Lavery.

In 1992, the FIRST Robotics Competition began with 28 teams and a single 14 x 14 foot playing field in a New Hampshire high school gym. This season, over 1,300 teams will participate. Thirty-seven regional competitions will lead up to the 2007 FIRST Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 12-14.

Since its beginning, FIRST has had a positive impact on students and academic communities. FRC participants are eligible to receive over $7.5 million in scholarships from some of the finest science and engineering schools in the country. Research has shown that FIRST students' attitudes about science, math, teamwork, and the working world significantly improved after participating. The students' self image also improved, particularly in minority groups. In addition, interest in internship and employment opportunities with sponsoring companies increased. FIRST is supported by a strong network of sponsors who provide funding, mentorship time, talent, volunteerism, equipment, and more.

To find FIRST Robotics Competition events and teams in your area, visit www.usfirst.org and click on the map in the top right corner.

About FIRST

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Vex Challenge for high-school students, the FIRST LEGO([R]) League for children 9-14 years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.

About Brooks Automation, Inc.

Brooks is a leading worldwide provider of automation solutions and integrated subsystems to the global semiconductor and related industries. The company's advanced products and services can help customers improve manufacturing efficiencies, accelerate time-to-market and reduce cost of ownership. Brooks products and global services are used in virtually every semiconductor fab in the world as well as in a number of diverse industries outside of semiconductor manufacturing. For more information, visit http://www.brooks.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 6, 2007
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