SOURCE: FIRST

January 16, 2007 10:20 ET

Boston FIRST Announces Second Regional Robotics Competition

Returning Judges Include Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, iRobot Chairman Helen Greiner and Ethernet Inventor Bob Metcalfe

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 16, 2007 -- The Boston FIRST Robotics Committee today announced it will host the second annual Boston FIRST Regional Robotics Competition on March 23-24, 2007 at Boston University's Agganis Arena.

FIRST (For Inspirations and Recognition of Science and Technology), founded by inventor Dean Kamen, announced the 2007 competition's objectives and rules on January 7, 2007 via a worldwide NASA broadcast. For the next six weeks, over fifty high school teams in the Boston region will work with business leaders, engineers and higher-education volunteers to design and build robots with only a basic kit of parts, nominal budget and standard set of rules.

In this year's competition -- nicknamed "Rack 'n Roll" -- students' robots must hang inflated colored tubes on pegs that are configured in a grid (the "rack") ten feet high. Extra points can be scored by returning a robot back to its home zone or by lifting another robot more than four inches off the floor before the end of the 135 second match.

In 2006, the Boston FIRST competition (www.BostonFIRST.org) attracted nearly 5,000 attendees from New England and beyond. Over 1,000 student participants were cheered on by area leaders, which included major university residents, CEOs of multinational corporations, notable inventors and astronauts. This year, the Boston FIRST Planning Committee expects an even bigger and better event through the help and support of additional financial backers, in-kind donations and hundreds of volunteers.

"We are continuing to build off the success of last year's event," said Marc Hodosh, Boston FIRST Committee Chairman. "We have a very enthusiastic committee of volunteers representing many of Boston's leading technology companies. We are pleased that this year's event will devote special attention to promoting the wonders of science and technology to school children throughout the region," continued Hodosh.

Returning this year to judge the competition are Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, iRobot Chairman Helen Greiner and Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe (of Polaris Ventures).

Since its inception, FIRST has significantly improved students' attitudes towards math and science and has fostered a culture of teamwork, leadership and self-confidence. Students participating in FIRST are eligible to apply for over seven million dollars in scholarships from leading universities, colleges and companies. Scholarship announcements will be made at the FIRST championship in Atlanta later this year.

To date, this year's major sponsors include Boston University, MIT, P&G Gillette and Textron.

About FIRST

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to promote an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, NH, FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that 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 non-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students and the FIRST Lego League for children 9-14 years old. To learn more about FIRST, go to http://www.usfirst.org. To learn more about Boston FIRST and the Boston Regional Competition, please visit http://www.BostonFIRST.org

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