Three teams from New York City, Michigan and Montreal emerged victorious at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta last weekend. It was the climax to weeks of competition involving more than 1,130 teams from the United States and six other nations, including Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Israel, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

FIRST was founded by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway Human Transporter, to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Teams earned their invitations to the championship by excelling in competitive play, sportsmanship and the development of partnerships between schools, businesses and communities.

Team 111 "Wild Stang" of Rolling Meadows High School and Wheeling High School from Schaumburg, Ill., won the prestigious FIRST Robotics Competition Championship Chairman's Award, recognized as the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.

The Winning Alliance of the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship was: Team 217 "The ThunderChickens" of Utica Community Schools from Sterling Heights, Michigan; Team 296 "Northern Knights" of Loyola High School in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and Team 522 "RoboWizards" of McKee Vocational High School in Staten Island, New York.

Student teams built their robots from a kit of hundreds of parts. This year's game, called "Aim High," tested the students' and robots' ability to fire foam balls through hoops, plow them into floor goals, and program a vision system allowing the robot to navigate.

"Our society is in the middle of a crisis in science and technology, and FIRST is trying to change how our culture views these fields," said Kamen. "We're helping young people see scientists and engineers in the same light as their traditional heroes in sports and entertainment."

FIRST also announced the recipients of numerous educational scholarships worth approximately $8 million from some of the most prestigious science and engineering schools in the country.

Also gathering at the FIRST Championship, 81 teams from around the world participated in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) World Festival. This year's "Ocean Odyssey" real-life challenge tasked students, ages 9 to 14, to design, build, and program robots to undertake aquatic challenges. Top honors went to Director's Award 1st Place winner, Team 266 "Central SpaceLab One" from Indiana; and Director's Award 2nd Place winner, Team 280 "MindStorm Troopers" from Ohio. The Director's Award measures how children, ages 9 to 14, inspire and motivate others about the excitement and wonders of science and technology, while demonstrating gracious professionalism.

In the FIRST Vex Challenge, more than 500 students participated in this pilot competition. Using the innovative Vex Robotics Design System, teams completed the challenge using a more accessible and affordable robotics kit. The FIRST Vex Challenge Award, a peer and formal judged award recognizing excellence in robot design and teamwork, went to Team 160 "The Impulse" from Waterbury, Connecticut. The FIRST Vex Challenge Winning Alliance was Team 46 "Singapore Smart" from Ambler, Pennsylvania; Team 268 "Simbotics" from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; and Team 1148 "Robowranglers" from Greenville, Texas.

The other major honors that were awarded at the FIRST Championship included:

   * The Founder's Award, presented each year by FIRST Founder Dean Kamen to
     one organization or individual for exceptional service in advancing the
     ideals and mission of FIRST - United Technologies Corporation
   * The Woodie Flowers Award, presented by SMALL PARTS, Inc. to an
     outstanding engineer or teacher participating in the competition who
     best demonstrates excellence in teaching science, math and creative
     design - Rob Mainieri, California
   * FIRST Outstanding Commitment - 3M Corporation

  FIRST Robotics Competition Championship:
   * Engineering Inspiration Award - Team 365, "MOE (Miracle of
     Engineering)," Delaware
   * Championship Finalists - Team 25, "Greater Robotix," New Jersey; Team
     195, "Cyber Knights," Connecticut; Team 968, "RAWC," California
   * Division Winners - Curie Division: Team 451, "The Cat Attack," Ohio;
     Team 503, "Frog Force," Michigan; Team 1139, "The Chamblee Gear
     Grinders," Georgia. Archimedes Division: Team 217, "The
     ThunderChickens," Michigan; Team 296, "Northern Knights," Quebec,
     Canada; Team 522, "RoboWizards," New York. Newton Division: Team 25,
     "Greater Robotix," New Jersey; Team 195, "Cyber Knights," Connecticut;
     Team 968, "RAWC," California. Galileo Division: Team 177, "Bobcat
     Robotics," Connecticut; Team 201, "The FEDS," Michigan; Team 1126,
     "SPARX," New York
   * Autodesk Visualization Grand Prize - Team 192, "GRT," California
   * Autodesk Inventor Grand Prize - Team 103, "Cybersonics," Pennsylvania
   * DaimlerChrysler Team Spirit Award - Team 1700, "Gatorbotics,"
     California
   * Delphi "Driving Tomorrow's Technology" Award - Team 25, "Raider
     Robotix," New Jersey
   * General Motors Industrial Design Award - Team 494, "Goodrich
     Martians," Michigan
   * Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award - Team 341, "Miss Daisy,"
     Pennsylvania
   * Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award - Team 234,
     "Cyber Blue," Indiana
   * Motorola Quality Award - Team 233, "The Pink Team," Florida
   * RadioShack(R) Innovation in Control Award - Team 195, "Cyber Knights
     Robotics," Connecticut
   * Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety Award - Team 337,
     "STAR-bots," West Virginia
   * XEROX Creativity Award - Team 868, "The Carmel Tech Hounds," Indiana
   * Imagery Award - Team 1746, "Forsyth Alliance," Georgia
   * Rookie All-Star Award - Team 1885, "The Robocats," Virginia
   * Rookie Inspiration Award - Team 1714, "MORE Robotics," Wisconsin
   * Website Design Award - Team 461, "Westside Boiler Invasion," Indiana
   * Judges' Awards - For Passion for Teaching: Team 1398, "Robo Raiders,"
     South Carolina; For Taking Atlanta by Storm: Team 1941, "The
     Hurricanes," Michigan; and for The FIRST Badge: Team 1868, "Space
     Cookies," California

  FIRST LEGO League (FLL) World Festival:
   * Innovative Robot Award - Team 5411, "SAP All Stars," Germany
   * Robot Consistency Award - Team 66, "The Sea Monkeys," Alaska
   * Programming Award - Team 98, "Deep Sea Boulder Beasts," Oregon
   * Robot Performance Award - Team 280, "MindStorm Troopers," Ohio
   * Research Quality Award - Team 77, "LegoDogs," Illinois
   * Innovative Solution Award - Team 486, "North Andover Legotrons,"
     Massachusetts
   * Creative Presentation Award - Team 305, "Seaweed Wackers 3.0,"
     Washington
   * Teamwork Award - Team 1, "S.M.A.R.T.," Connecticut
   * Adult Mentorship Award - Chris Woodward, Alaska
   * Young Adult Mentorship Award - Mallika Winsor, Connecticut
   * Volunteer Award - David Patterson, Alaska
   * FIRST Outstanding Commitment Award - Barbara Pailet, FLL Partner,
     Louisiana
   * FIRST Outstanding Commitment Award - Randall Hicks, FLL Partner,
     Mississippi
   * Universal Design Award - Team 5420, "Ocean's 12," Norway
   * Judges Awards - Team 5351, "EXPLOROBOTS," South Africa; Team 5353,
     "Electric Eels," Jordan
   * Team Spirit Awards - Team 5315, "St. Dominic Sea Dragons," Louisiana;
     Team 1633, "BX Ryders," New York
   * Against All Odds Awards - Team 995, "Oscarville Technobots," Alaska;
     Team 5440, "Ambrose Argonauts," United Kingdom
   * Team Alliance Award - Team 1060 "RoboRage," California; Team 3132,
     "The JAMBots," Pennsylvania; Team 5421, "KID," Denmark; Team 77,
     "LegoDogs," Illinois

  FIRST Vex Challenge Tournament:
   * FIRST Vex Challenge Amaze Award - Team 96, "The Robo Warriors," South
     Carolina
   * FIRST Vex Challenge Connect Award - Team 78, "Myotonics,"
     Massachusetts
   * FIRST Vex Challenge Create Award - Team 158, "Driven 'Nuts,'"
     Pennsylvania
   * FIRST Vex Challenge Think Award - Team 108, "The Mafia Bots," Virginia

For a complete listing of awards, match results and scholarship winners, please visit FIRST online at http://www.usfirst.org/.