FIRST ® Tech Challenge Expands Options to Allow a New Mechanical Building System for Competitions

MATRIX Robotics System unveiled at the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS & MANCHESTER, N.H.--FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology, announced a change in the FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) robot-build rules to be implemented in the 2012-2013 season. This change allows FTC teams to choose from two mechanical robot kit options. The MATRIX Robotics System will be piloted in selected areas next season. The popular TETRIX® Robotics System will continue to be allowed for use by all FTC teams.

"FTC teams are seemingly diverse, and yet a common request has been to expand the options allowable to build FTC robots. Each year, FTC has expanded those options including the use of sheet plastics, aluminum, and off-the-shelf structural materials"

The MATRIX Robotics System is designed for use with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT controller and the FTC proprietary Samantha Wi-Fi Communications device to ensure that teams' programming and robot communications experience will remain uniform and consistent with the present configurations.

"FTC teams are seemingly diverse, and yet a common request has been to expand the options allowable to build FTC robots. Each year, FTC has expanded those options including the use of sheet plastics, aluminum, and off-the-shelf structural materials," said Ken Johnson, Director of FIRST Tech Challenge. "Allowing teams to choose from two building systems continues that trend. Next season we plan to pilot the MATRIX kit in several areas and provide selected FTC teams with the chance to see and try the kit. TETRIX will continue to be an important part of FTC and a great choice for FTC teams."

The MATRIX Robotics System is an aluminum-based, 3D metal building system that includes an NXT compatible motor controller, DC drive and servo motors, drive train materials and battery and charger. It is designed to allow for rapid prototyping and multiple seasons of use. Further specifics about the system can be found at

About MATRIX Robotics

MATRIX Robotics was created in 2011 by a group of robotics enthusiasts and engineers who have spent more than 25 years working and playing with robots. The people at MATRIX set out to design the robotics system they have always wanted and the result is the MATRIX Robotics System; a high quality, affordable, 3 Dimensional building system. The people at MATRIX Robotics created this innovative system because they believe that hands on robotics is a great way to learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics and are committed to making robotics accessible to more students worldwide. MATRIX products can be purchased through local distributors. For more information visit the MATRIX website at

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 more than $14 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

Featured Product

Universal Robots - Collaborative Robot Solutions

Universal Robots - Collaborative Robot Solutions

Universal Robots is a result of many years of intensive research in robotics. The product portfolio includes the UR5 and UR10 models that handle payloads of up to 11.3 lbs. and 22.6 lbs. respectively. The six-axis robot arms weigh as little as 40 lbs. with reach capabilities of up to 51 inches. Repeatability of +/- .004" allows quick precision handling of even microscopically small parts. After initial risk assessment, the collaborative Universal Robots can operate alongside human operators without cumbersome and expensive safety guarding. This makes it simple and easy to move the light-weight robot around the production, addressing the needs of agile manufacturing even within small- and medium sized companies regarding automation as costly and complex. If the robots come into contact with an employee, the built-in force control limits the forces at contact, adhering to the current safety requirements on force and torque limitations. Intuitively programmed by non-technical users, the robot arms go from box to operation in less than an hour, and typically pay for themselves within 195 days. Since the first UR robot entered the market in 2009, the company has seen substantial growth with the robotic arms now being sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.