[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

An international robotics competition aimed at developing a new generation of technology leaders kicks off at 10:30 a.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 7. NASA, the largest sponsor of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, and its centers across the nation will join local technology firms to launch the event. The main competition kickoff will take place at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester and will air live on NASA Television.

The FIRST Robotics Competition gives students the opportunity to design, build and test a robot that can perform specific functions. The competition also gives students the opportunity to be mentored by NASA professionals.

During the live broadcast of this year’s competition kickoff, inventor and FIRST founder Dean Kamen and designers of the annual challenge will reveal this year’s competition scenario. This will kick off a six-week design and building session for students and their engineering mentors.

Each year, participating FIRST teams are presented with a new robotics competition scenario.Each team receives a kit of parts and has six weeks to design and build a robot based on the team’s interpretation of the game scenario. Other than dimension and weight restrictions, the look and function of the robots is up to each team.

This year, there will be regional competitions across the country, as well as four additional international competitions in March and April. The FIRST Championship competition will be held April 25-28 in St. Louis.

The program was founded in 1989 by Mr. Kamen. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST is a non-profit organization.

[Image Courtesy: FIRST]