More than 69,000 Students Worldwide to Explore Teamwork and Advanced Technology with FIRST Tech Challenge ROVER RUCKUS presented by Qualcomm

7,000 Teams of Students Tackle New Space-Themed Robotics Challenge During 2018-19 Season

MANCHESTER, N.H., September 9, 2018 FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international, youth-serving not-for-profit organization, launched its 2018-19 FIRST® Tech Challenge season with an online game reveal on September 8. Teams of students and adult mentors gathered at more than 100 international Kickoff events to get a first glimpse of this season’s space-themed game: ROVER RUCKUS presented by Qualcomm. An estimated 69,000+ students in 27 countries around the world will participate this season.

FIRST Strategic Partner Qualcomm Incorporated returns as the Season Presenting Sponsor for the 2018-19 FIRST Tech Challenge season. This season, Qualcomm technology will allow 7,000 FIRST Tech Challenge teams to create Android smartphone-controlled robots powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ mobile platform. This control system technology enables students to build innovative and advanced robot designs with autonomous and vision processing features.

In addition to technology, Qualcomm directly supports FIRST events, programs, and thousands of teams globally. With its commitment to teams via direct funding and time donated by hundreds of employees, Qualcomm is doing its part to bring innovation, collaboration, and STEM education to students all over the world.

“The relevant, real-world technical and leadership skills FIRST provides for students are critical to the future of invention,” said Brian Modoff, executive vice president of strategy and M&A at Qualcomm. “We are proud to return as the FIRST Tech Challenge Season-Presenting Sponsor for a third year, and are excited to again see our foundational technologies at work enabling these robot control systems.”

FIRST Tech Challenge is a widely accessible robotics program for grades 7 through 12 in which teams design, build, code, and operate sophisticated robots to play a themed floor game in an alliance format. Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.

In the 2018-19 game, ROVER RUCKUS, teams work in an alliance to go on a space adventure. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by descending from the main game structure (the lander), collecting the scoring elements or minerals from the crater, sorting and scoring minerals into the cargo hold of the lander, performing autonomous tasks, and navigating to specific parts of the playing field. The scoring elements for the game are 60 silver minerals and 90 gold minerals, and a team-supplied game element, the team marker. The game is played in three sections: autonomous, driver-controlled, and the end game. Points are added throughout game play, and penalties are assigned at the end of the match.

“Nearly 50 years after the first moon landing, this season’s FIRST Tech Challenge game will inspire a new generation to set their sights on the mysteries of space – and accomplish what once seemed impossible,” said Donald E. Bossi, president of FIRST. “By engaging students with real-world technology and themes, FIRST Tech Challenges helps young people boost their self-confidence in STEM and build valuable skills needed to be successful in any career.”

In addition to designing and building robots, FIRST Tech Challenge participants raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach to earn specific awards during the competition season. High school FIRST participants are eligible to apply for over $80 million in college scholarships from 200 scholarship provides through the FIRST Scholarship Program.

Registration for teams participating in the 2018-19 season is now open. Need-based grants supported by generous sponsors are available for new and returning FIRST Tech Challenge teams.

FIRST Tech Challenge sponsors include Season Presenting Sponsor Qualcomm, Official Program Sponsor Rockwell Collins, and IoT, CAD and Collaboration Sponsor PTC.

About Qualcomm
Qualcomm invents breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects, computes and communicates.  When we connected the phone to the Internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our inventions are the foundation for life-changing products, experiences, and industries.  As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables.  Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio.  Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions, and all of our products and services businesses, including, our QCT semiconductor business.  For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

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 $80 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


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