FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that promotes Physics, Math, and mostly, Engineering to students from elementary through high school. Its mission is "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."
They run 3 different competitions, each corresponding to an age group. Founded by Dean Kamen (World renowned inventor, entrepreneur), their goal is to inspire youth from around the world, and to instill the value of Gracious Professionalism. FRC, their high-school aged intensive robotics competition has spread to more than 3,5000 teams and 375,000 students worldwide. FRC challenges students from around the World to design, build, ship off, and compete with a robot under major time constraints. Each year, a unique game is announced, and teams have a mere 6 weeks to design, build and test their robot. It is sent to holding locations until competition, where an intense level of both spirit and achievement fills the air.
FIRST not only inspires its participants to enter STEM fields, but also makes it possible. In 2011, $15 Million in scholarship funds was made available to its top performing participants, bringing the dream of becoming an engineer, or any other STEM professional not only possible but a reality.
Visit http://usfirst.org/ to find out more about the organization.
To bridge any confusion there may be, what you see in this model is a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) robot for the 2011 game, Logomotion. This robot, named Rob 2.0 and built by BHRobotics "MorTorq" (Team #1515) won its designers and builders the innovation in control award in both the Los Angeles and Denver, CO regionals for its unparalleled touch-screen driving OI. Its team placed finalist alliance in the LA Regional and 3rd place in Denver. View it in competition here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbMFEw4W_q8
Saucy? I think so.
The model above was initially created in Autodesk Inventor 2011, but for the convenience of the judges and the GrabCAD community was exported to a .dwf and a .stp to avoid all assembly/part opening problems, as I have not uploaded the entire folder. To view the file, if your CAD system does not do so natively (.stp is universal, so it should open that), visit http://freewheel.labs.autodesk.com/index.aspx .
To provide a personal background, I am 16 years old and I joined FIRST Robotics in the 7th grade, 4 years ago. Today, I am both CAD Captain and Co-Director of Mechanical Design for Team 1515. FIRST has inspired me to do incredible things. Through the program, I have made the decision to major in Mechanical Engineering and pursue a career in Mechatronics.