2012 FIRST Championship Celebrates Science, Technology and Robots

Biggest FIRST® Championship Ever Features NBA Hall of Famer, Reigning World Series Champion, Pop Superstar, Celebrity Chef, Inventors, and Government Officials

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Jay,, Chef Homaro Cantu, Dean Kamen, and Congressman Chaka Fattah Root for Robotics Matches as 12,000 Students from 32 Countries and Their Robots Compete in International Robotics Championship, April 25-28

MANCHESTER, N.H., April 28, 2012 ― Over the weekend, 30,000 participants, fans, families, educators and industry leaders celebrated students’ engineering and robotics prowess at the annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship, held in St. Louis, Mo., at the Edward Jones Dome.

Three teams from Stuart, Fla., Mountain Home, Ark., and North Brunswick, N.J. won the final showdown, earning the coveted FIRST Robotics Competition Championship Winning Alliance. Several other U.S. and international FIRST student robotics teams earned honors for design excellence, competitive play, research, business plans, website design, teamwork, and partnerships. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST strives to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.    

This year,, pop superstar, was on hand to kick off the week-long event, meet teams, and take part in a ceremony and a new innovation competition, “Wouldn’t It Be Cool If” sponsored by Time Warner Cable, a FIRST Strategic Sponsor. Major awards were presented by senior officials from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, as well as executives from Autodesk, Boeing, General Motors, PTC, Microsoft, Google, Rockwell Automation, and UL, among others.  

More than 600 teams from 32 countries competed in the three levels of FIRST: FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®, grades 4 to 8, 9 to 14-year-olds in the U.S, Canada, and Mexico; 9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S, Canada, and Mexico); FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®, grades 9 to 12, 14 to 18-year-olds); and FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®, grades 9 to 12, ages 14-18). In addition, 40 teams of 6 to 9-year-olds participated in the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®, grades K-3), showcasing their science and technology smarts in the Jr.FLL World Festival Expo.

This year marked the 21st season of the FRC high-school-level program. In its initial competition year, FIRST hosted an FRC program with 28 teams in a New Hampshire high school gym. This year, 2,343 FIRST teams in 12 countries participated in 52 Regional events, 15 District Competitions, and two Region Championships. In addition to the FRC winning alliance and awards, the first-ever Future Innovator Award sponsored by the Abbott Foundation was given to Ben Mattinson, Team 2840, Blue Tide, Paradise Valley, Ariz.

The FIRST Championship honored long-time supporters of the FIRST mission:

  • Founder’s Award, presented each year by FIRST founder Dean Kamen to one organization or individual for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST – Google Inc.
  • Woodie Flowers Award, founded by Dr. William P. Murphy Jr. to recognize an outstanding engineer or teacher who best demonstrates teaching excellence in teaching science, math and creative design – Dr. Earl Scime, chair of Physics Department, West Virginia University; Mentor, Team 2614, MARS, Morgantown, W.Va.
  • Volunteer of the Year Award – Aidan F. Browne, Ph.D., Faculty, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, N.C.

The event offered three different robotics challenges; the 2012 winners are as follows:

FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) Championship – FRC combines sports excitement with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to fundraise, design a brand, exercise teamwork, and build and program robots to perform tasks against competitors.   

This year’s FRC challenge was “Rebound RumbleSM,” where matches are played between two Alliances of three teams each. Each Alliance competes by trying to score as many of the basketballs in the hoops as possible during the two-minute and 15-second match. Balls scored in higher hoops score teams more points. Team Alliances are awarded bonus points if they are balanced on bridges at the end of the match. The Winning Alliance of the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship was Team 180, S.P.A.M., Stuart, Fla.; Team 16, Bomb Squad, Mountain Home, Ark.; Team 25, Raider Robotix, North Brunswick, N.J. from the Galileo Division.

Team 1114, Simbotics, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, won the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor given at the FRC Championship, recognizing the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.

Winners of the Dean’s List Award included: Ikechukwa Chima, Team 3059, Envirobotics, Yonkers, N.Y.; Marina Dimitrov, Team 1540, Flaming Chickens, Portland, Ore.; Chase Douglas, Team 128, The Botcats, Grandview Heights, Ohio; Tristan Evarts, Team 1058, PVC Pirates, Londonderry, N.H.; Danielle Gehron, Team 3138, Innovators Robotics, Dayton, Ohio; David Gomez, Team 3196, Team SPORK, Mooresville, N.C.; Rachel Holladay, Team 1912, Team Combustion, Slidell, La.; Jasmine Kemper, Team 2996, Cougars Gone Wired, Colorado Springs, Colo.; John Rangel, Team 842, Falcon Robotics, Phoenix, Ariz.; Matthew Ricks, Team 704, Warriors, Grand Prairie, Tex.

Other FRC awards included:

  • Engineering Inspiration Award – Team 1629, Garrett Coalition (GaCo), McHenry, Md.
  • Championship Finalists – Curie Division: Team 233, The Pink Team, Rockledge/Cocoa Beach, Fla.; Team 987, HIGHROLLERS, Las Vegas, Nev.; Team 207, METALCRAFTERS, Hawthorne, Calif.
  • Division WinnersArchimedes Division: Team 2056, OP Robotics, Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada; Team 4334, Alberta Tech Alliance ( ATA), Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Team 1114, Simbotics, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; Curie Division: Team 233, The Pink Team, Rockledge/Cocoa Beach, Fla.; Team 987, HIGHROLLERS, Las Vegas, Nev.; Team 207, METALCRAFTERS, Hawthorne, Calif.; Galileo Division: Team 180, S.P.A.M., Stuart, Fla.; Team 16, Bomb Squad, Mountain Home, Ark.; Team 25, Raider Robotix, North Brunswick, N.J.; Newton Division: Team 548, Robostangs, Northville, Mich.; Team 118, Robonauts, League City, Tex.; Team 2194, Fondy Fire, Fond du Lac, Wis.
  • Division FinalistsArchimedes Division: Team 2826, Wave Robotics, Oshkosh, Wis.; Team 67, The HOT Team, Milford, Mich.; Team 4143, MARS/ WARS, Metamora, Ill. Curie Division: Team 341, Miss Daisy, Ambler, Pa.; Team 78, AIR Strike, Newport County, R.I.;  Team 254, The Cheesy Poofs, San Jose, Calif.; Galileo Division: Team 231, High Voltage, Pasadena, Texas; Team 744, Shark Attack, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Team 1714, MORE Robotics, Milwaukee, Wis. Newton Division: Team 68, T3, Ortonville, Mich.; Team 330, Beach Bots, Hermosa Beach, Calif.; Team 639, Code Red Robotics, Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Coopertition™ Awards Archimedes Division: Team 4334, Alberta Tech Alliance (ATA), Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Curie Division: Team 1266, The Devil Duckies, San Diego, Calif., Team 178, The 2nd Law Enforcers, Farmington, Conn.; Team 2500, Herobotics, Minneapolis, Minn.; Team 3860, Operation RAV3, Sunnyside, Wash.; Galileo Division: Team 2158, ausTIN CANs, Austin, Tex.; Team 3784, Bit by Bit 4-H Robotics Team, Verona, Mo.; Newton Division: Team 4379, Greased Lightning, Weston, Fla.
  • Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox – Team 1717, D'Penguineers, Goleta, Calif.
  • Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi – Team 973, Greybots, Atascadero, Calif.
  • Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers - Team 3132, Thunder Down Under, Sydney, Australia
  • Excellence in Design Award (3D) sponsored by Autodesk – Team 862, Lightning Robotics, Canton, Mich.
  • Excellence in Design Award (3D Animation) sponsored by Autodesk – Team 192, GRT, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Gracious Professionalism™ Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson - Team 1108, Panther Robotics, Paola, Kan.
  • Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen - Team 1266, The Devil Duckies, San Diego, Calif.
  • Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors - Team 33, Killer Bees, Auburn Hills, Mich.
  • Industrial Safety Award sponsored by UL - Team 2062, C.O.R.E  2062, Waukesha, Wis.
  • Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell – Team 987, HIGHROLLERS, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Quality Award sponsored by Motorola - Team 2056, OP Robotics, Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
  • Team Spirit Award sponsored by Chrysler - Team 233, The Pink Team, Rockledge/Cocoa Beach, Fla.
  • Rookie All-star Award – Team 3990, Tech for Kids/La techno. au service des jeunes, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • Rookie Inspiration Award – Team 3929, Atomic Dragons, Philadelphia, PA
  • Website Award - Team 115, MVRT, Cupertino, Calif.
  • Judges’ Awards – Team 2341, Sprockets, Shawnee, OK; Team 3008, Falcons, Honolulu, Hawaii

FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) World Championship – FTC is designed for head-to-head competition. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming robots to compete in an Alliance format against other teams. This year’s FTC challenge was “BOWLED OVER!™”

Using a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears, and sensors, including infrared tracking (IR) and magnet seeking, students program their robots to operate in both autonomous and driver-controlled modes on a field that includes two home zones with a platform and a ramp, and two protected zones.

The object of the BOWLED OVER! game is to design and build robots robust enough to push a bowling ball uphill, yet sophisticated enough to pick up racquetballs and place them into crates, and then stack the crates to score points. The final 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period is called the end game, where each Alliance, consisting of two opposing teams, is challenged to push their bowling ball into their “home zones” to score additional bonus points.

During the 2011/2012 FTC season, approximately 2,100 FIRST Tech Challenge teams competed in events in Canada, China, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, and the U.S. This season, FTC also piloted programs in Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. The 2011/12 FIRST Tech Challenge Sponsors include Official Program Sponsor for the FIRST Tech Challenge, Rockwell Collins, and FTC CAD and Collaboration Sponsor, PTC®.

The FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Inspire Award, recognizing excellence in robot design and teamwork, went to Team 4220, Landroids, Livingston, N.J. The FIRST Tech Challenge Winning Alliance was Team 4444, Whitefield Academy, Louisville, Ky.; Team 4997, Masquerade, Tampa, Fla.; Team 354, ILITE Robotics, Haymarket, Va. from the Edison Division.

The FTC Volunteer of the Year Award winner was Mark Edelman, Playing at Learning, Fremont, Calif. The Compass Award for excellence in coaching/mentoring was awarded to Manuel Carbajal, coach of FTC team 3141, Bears of Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico.

Other FTC awards included:

  • Championship Finalists - Team 4220, Landroids, Livingston, N.J.; Team 4251, Cougar Robotics Team, Columbus, Ohio; Team 4240, 4-H Techno Clovers, Accident, Md.
  • Division Winners – Edison Division: Team 4444, Whitefield Academy, Louisville, Ky.; Team 4997, Masquerade, Tampa, Fla.; Team 354, ILITE Robotics, Haymarket, Va. Franklin Division: Team 4220, Landroids, Livingston, N.J.; Team 4251, Cougar Robotics Team, Columbus, Ohio; Team 4240, 4-H Techno Clovers, Accident, Md.
  • Division Finalists – Edison Division: Team 3717, CyberKnights, Seattle, Wash.; Team 3531, Short Circuits, Portland, Ore.; Team 5838, Inspiration Ginkgo, Cheng du, China. Franklin Division: Team 3705, Porhtal, Fairbanks, Alaska; Team 4590, CyberDaze, Seattle, Wash.; Team 3785, Beastie Bots, Highland Park, Ill.
  • PTC Design Award – Team 4529, Antipodes, Pacifica, Calif.  
  • Connect Award – Team 3141, The Bears, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Rockwell Collins Innovate Award – Team 5454, dent in the universe, Orlando, Fla.  
  • Motivate Award – Team 3477, Geeks In Just Their Underpants, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.  
  • Think Award – Team 4554, Robo Mustangs, Putnam, Conn.
  • Judges’ AwardsBoot Strap Award: Team 5843, Auto Vortex, Bucharest, Romania; SAFETY FIRST Award: Team 311, Fembots, Williamston, S.C.  

FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) World Festival – FLL introduces younger children to real-world engineering challenges by conducting research projects and building LEGO-based autonomous robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface.  FLL teams, guided by their imaginations, discover exciting career possibilities and learn to make positive contributions to society. This year’s challenge, Food Factor®, engaged kids to explore the exciting world of Food Safety through hands-on, minds-on teamwork. 

In the FOOD FACTOR® Challenge, teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT to solve a set of food safety missions as well as research, develop, and share their innovative solutions to improve the world’s current food preparation processes.     

Top honors went to Champion’s Award 1st Place winner, Team 15650, Falcons Japan, Tokyo, Japan; Champion’s Award 2nd Place winner, Team 252, Blue Gear Ticks, Lincoln, Mass.; and Champion’s Award 3rd Place winner, Team 15200, NXTremers, Bengaluru, India.

Other FLL awards included:

  • NASA Food for Thought Award - Team 252, Blue Gear Ticks, Lincoln, Mass.
  • Robot Performance Award – Team 14950, The Angry Eggies, Beijing, China
  • Strategy & Innovation Award – Team 4780, Magellan Mariners Wharf Rats, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Programming Award – Team 4725, NXTreme Team, Mont Vernon, N.H.
  • Mechanical Design Award – Team 15100, Watts up!, The Hague, The Netherlands
  • Research Award – Team 6960, Toxic, Tucson, Ariz.
  • Presentation Award – Team 15250, Team NEXUS, Hong Kong
  • Innovative Solution Award – Team 45, The Brickheads, Xenia, Ohio
  • Teamwork Award – Team 15850, DAS, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
  • Inspiration Award – Team 4105, Rock’n Robo Rabbits, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Gracious Professionalism Award – Team 4655, Hippie Pandas, Rochester, N.Y.
  • Outstanding Volunteer Awards – Patty Smith of Arizona, Ernie DiCicco of New Jersey and Danny Diaz of Texas
  • Young Adult Mentor Awards – Juan Fernando Correa of Peru and Patrick DeWane of Alaska
  • Adult Coach/Mentor Awards – Mitzi Pacheco of Chile and Satoshi Kawamoto of Japan

Judges’ Awards

  • Team 14850, The Afrobots, Monterrey, Mexico
  • Team 14700, SAP Exquisite Foodilicious, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
  • Team 15400, Panic at Dacka, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Team 16000, FANROBOTICOS, Cienega, Colombia

Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) Expo – The Jr.FLL Expo introduces the youngest kids to the exciting worlds of science and technology.  Just like FLL, this program features real-world challenges to be solved by research, critical thinking and imagination. Guided by coaches, students work with LEGO elements to create solutions and present them for review.    

In this year’s Jr.FLL Challenge, SNACK ATTACKSM, teams took a hands-on approach to the topic of food safety by examining the ingredients in their favorite snack food and then learning about how to properly prepare and store it to prevent contamination. They discover where their snack came from and the steps it went through in order to be safe to eat. The Challenge was defined in two parts – the Show-Me Poster and a Model. The Show-Me Poster required kids to illustrate their research and team journey. In the Model portion, students built a representation of what they researched, incorporating simple machines and movement into their creation.

Official Championship Sponsors for the 2011 FIRST Championship include: 2012 FIRST Championship Sponsors include: Official Championship Sponsor: Qualcomm Foundation; Lead Championship Sponsors: Abbott, Autodesk, The Boeing Company, SAIC, Saint Louis Science Center, Siemens, U.S. Air Force, and United Technologies; FIRST Championship Sponsors: Coca-Cola and National Defense Education Program (NDEP); FIRST Shipping Sponsor: FedEx; Machine Shop & Satellite Broadcast Sponsor: NASA; FIRST Safety Partner: UL; FIRST LEGO League World Festival Pit Sponsor: Intel; FIRST Event Sponsor: Google Inc.; FIRST Robotics Conference Sponsor: Rolls-Royce; Championship Supporters: Avnet; Central Intelligence Agency; International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE); and United States Army’s Rapid Equipment Force.

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 support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $15 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST®Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST®Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST®LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST®LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

FIRST and the FIRST logo are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). LEGO® is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group. 

Media Contacts:

Cheryl Walsh, FIRST 
Ph. 603-206-2460
Maureen O’Connell, Cone Inc.
Ph. 617-939-8330