Details of FIRST STEAMWORKSSM 2017 Robotics Game Revealed

Full Details of FIRST STEAMWORKS Game Unveiled to More than 83,400 High-School Students Worldwide at the 2017 FIRST® Robotics Competition Season Kickoff

  • Over 20,000 adult supporters to mentor students in 25 countries
  • Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas encouraged students to become the next generation of creative problem solvers

MANCHESTER, N.H., January 7, 2017― Inventor and FIRST® Founder Dean Kamen launched the 2017 FIRST® Robotics Competition season today with the Kickoff of a new robotics game called FIRST STEAMWORKSSM before a crowd of more than 1,000 people, including Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H., hometown of FIRST Headquarters. More than 83,400 high-school students on 3,336 teams at 123 venues around the globe joined the 2017 Kickoff via Twitch Livestream.Dean at Kickoff

“A lot of kids will tell you, ‘I don’t like science and math.’ But they all love [science fiction]. Well, the only difference between science fiction and science is timing,” said Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research & Development. “We want kids, through their FIRST experience, to realize that whatever is in their imaginations could become reality if they develop the tools – science, technology, engineering – and apply those tools into innovations to turn today’s science fiction into tomorrow’s science.”

FIRST STEAMWORKSSM invites two adventure clubs from an era in which technology relied on steam power to prepare their airships for the ultimate long distance race. Each three-team alliance scores points and prepares to take flight by building steam pressure, gathering materials to start the rotors, and boarding robots onto their airships. The adventurer club with the highest score at the end of the match is the best prepared for the race and wins.

Students at KickoffAt today’s Kickoff, teams were shown the FIRST STEAMWORKS game field and challenge details for the first time, and received a Kit of Parts made up of motors, batteries, control system components, construction materials, and a mix of additional automation components – with limited instructions. Working with adult Mentors, students have six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Once these young inventors build a robot, their teams will participate in one or more of the 145 Regional and District events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

Senator Hassan told students in the audience that the world needs people with the skills they are gaining by participating in FIRST. She also encouraged girls to participate in STEM, run for office, and to be leaders. To all, she advised, “Have fun. Learn. Dream. Make this country a better place.”Crowd at Kickoff

The 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff event is an opportunity for teams from all over the world to come together as a community to share in the excitement of seeing the new game unveiled. Teams at local Kickoffs in Australia, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, and the United States watched the proceedings via live broadcast. 

For a replay of the Kickoff broadcast, click here.

To find FIRST Robotics Competition events and/or teams in your area, visit /team-event-search.


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 over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $30 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. 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