More than 50,000 Students Worldwide Use “Game-Changing” Technology to Tackle New FIRST Tech Challenge Game, FIRST RES-Q

5,000+ Teams of Students to Use New Java-Based Android Platform Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 Processor During 2015/16 Season

MANCHESTER, N.H.--FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international not-for-profit K-12 organization founded to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology, launched its 2015/2016 FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) season with an online game reveal on September 12. FTC teams gathered at 65 international Kickoff events to get a first glimpse of this season's game: FIRST RES-QSM. An estimated 51,500 students on 5,150 teams around the world will participate in the 2015/2016 season.


Earlier this year, FIRST announced the adoption of a game-changing technology platform to be rolled out for the 2015/2016 FIRST Tech Challenge season. The new platform features robot and driver-station controls based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, which is new in the large robotics competition arena. The new system was tested by FIRST Tech Challenge teams, and was demonstrated at the 2015 FIRST Championship in St. Louis. The platform, which consists of handheld devices, will be powered by these Snapdragon 410 processors from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, a FIRST Strategic Partner.

FIRST Tech Challenge is a widely-accessible robotics program for grades 7 through 12 that promotes project-based learning. Using a proven formula to engage student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), FTC is one of the fastest-growing programs of its kind. FTC is highly-scalable and easily integrates into the classroom with measurable results. FIRST teams collaborate with business, engineering, and science professionals, and working together, become a focal point of the community in which they live.

"We are thrilled to introduce a new technology platform into our FIRST Tech Challenge program for the 2015/2016 season," said Donald E. Bossi, President, FIRST. "Part of the beauty of this change is that virtually no one is intimidated by this technology, especially young people. This new platform means that just about everyone is already walking around with a robot controller in their pocket. We think this will forever change the way students look at and leverage mobile technology."

The 2015/16 game, FIRST RES-QSM, is modeled after actual rescue situations faced by mountain explorers all over the globe. Played by two Alliances of two robots each, robots will score points by: "resetting" Rescue beacons; delivering Rescue Climbers to a shelter; parking on the mountain; and parking in the Rescue beacon repair zone or floor goal. Robots may also score points by retrieving debris from the playing field and placing them in mountain or floor goals, and also by hanging from a pull-up bar during the last 30-seconds of a match.

"We are excited about this season's game, and eager for our teams to embrace this new technology platform," said Ken Johnson, Director, FIRST Tech Challenge. "As always, this season is about more than the robot. Students will collaborate, and learn through trial-and-error - much like a ‘real-world' engineering project they would encounter in the workforce."

FIRST Tech Challenge Global Sponsors include Official Program Sponsor, Rockwell Collins; Official IoT, CAD, and Collaboration Software Sponsor, PTC; and Official Control System Sponsor, Qualcomm Incorporated.

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 $22 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for Grades 7-12; FIRST LEGO League (FLL) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for Grades K-3. 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 www.usfirst.org.

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