FIRSTFIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1992 as a way of getting high school students involved in and excited about engineering and technology.
The program involves teams of mentors (corporate, teachers, or college students) and high school students that collaborate to design and build a robot in six weeks. This robot is designed to play a game, which is designed by FIRST and changes from year to year. This game is announced at a nationally simulcast kickoff event in January. Regional competitions take place around the United States and Canada, but FIRST has a multinational following that further includes the United Kingdom, Brazil, and soon Israel.
Teams are expected to solicit local businesses for support in the form of donations of time, money, or skills. Some teams have membership of 60 or more and have established substantial presence in their local communities by helping local FIRST Lego League teams (see below), running classes in various technical topics, and more.
As of 2004, FIRST includes more than 900 teams (around 20,000 students) competing in 26 Regional Competitions, as well as one national competition held in Atlanta, Georgia.
The highest honor bestowed in FIRST is the Chairman's Award, which is given to the team that best manifests the FIRST spirit of gracious professionalism. Regional Chairman's Award winners then compete at the national level for the National Chairman's Award.
2004's Game is called .
FIRST Lego League
FIRST Robotics' sister organization is the FIRST Lego League (FLL). FLL is intended to further the same ideals that FIRST does but at a middle school level and utilizing the Lego Mindstorms for Schools educational robotics system, including ROBOLAB programming software based on National Instruments' LabView industrial control engineering software. The combination of interchangeable LEGO parts, computer 'bricks' and sensors, and the aforementioned software, provide preteens and teenagers with the capability to build reasonably complex models of real-life robotic systems.
2003's challenge was inspired by that year's Mars Rover mission, in that the competing teams had to design and construct robots to solve a number of problems like removing rocks from a 'solar panel' to ensure a Mars base energy supply, collect 'soil/rock samples' from the Martian desert landscape, as well as several additional subproblems.
2004's challenge will be centered around building models of various robotic assistant systems for disabled persons, and demonstrate how the systems are (hopefully) able to solve the given model problems in a satisfying way.
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Icons of Evolution
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Don't Bring Home the Bacon
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Wag the Human
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Whatever Turns You On
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She's Gotta Have It
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Extinct Humans by Ian Tattersall and Jeffrey H. Schwartz
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Well Preserved for His Age
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Lingua Ex Machina by William H. Calvin and Derek Bickerton
Nobody Does It Better
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Rebel With a Cause
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Everybody Into the Gene Pool
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Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
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Burrow, Evolution and Society
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Singer in the Rain
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Understanding It All
Essay Review of C. D. Darlington, 'The Evolution of Man and Society'.
Review of Ray Jackendoff, Patterns in the Mind
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How to Misuse Darwin and (Almost) Get Away With It
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Killer Woman Blues by Benjamin Demott
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Are You in Anthropodenial?
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No Job for a Woman
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Stupid Pet Tricks
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Women Behaving Badly
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Limits of the Genetic Lexicon
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Why Sex Matters
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Ask Darwin's Grandma
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You Can't Get There From Here
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Why Who Did What When
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Excuse me, sir, your name is the wrong colour
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Monkey See, Monkey Do
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Muriel Egerton reviews 'Alas, poor Darwin: Arguments against evolutionary psychology' edited by Hilary Rose and Steven Rose.
Neurobiology of stress
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Hilary Rose reviews 'A Natural History of Rape' by Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer.
History of Neuroscience
Paul Crichton reviews 'An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage' by Malcolm Macmillan.
Almost like a Whale (Darwin's Ghost) - Steve Jones
A review and a link to other reviews of 'Almost like a Whale'(published in the US as 'Darwin's Ghost') by Steve Jones.
A Darwinian Left - Peter Singer
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The Anatomy of Melancholy - Robert Burton
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Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology
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Biology in Progress
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Major Transitions in Evolution
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Schizophrenia 'helped the ascent of man'
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Darwin's Worms - Adam Phillips
A review, and links to other information about and reviews of 'Darwin's Worms' by Adam Phillips.