FIRST®, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, launched the 2020 FIRST® Robotics Competition season today with the Kickoff of a new robotics game called INFINITE RECHARGE SM before a crowd of 1,200 people, including Sen. Maggie Hassan, D.-N.H., U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D.-N.H., and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, D.-N.H., at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire, hometown of FIRST HQ. Nearly 100,000 high-school students on 3,898 teams at 160 venues around the world joined the 2020 Kickoff via live broadcast. INFINITE RECHARGE is part of the 2020 FIRST season, FIRST RISE, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change. FIRST has teamed up with Lucasfilm and parent company Disney as part of the Star Wars: Force for Change philanthropic initiative to inspire the next generation of heroes and innovators, creating a place where collaboration and collective wisdom can elevate new ideas and foster growth. FIRST RISE empowers FIRST participants to explore the future of cities and architecture, building communities filled with inspiration, creativity, and – most importantly – hope.In INFINITE RECHARGE, two alliances work to protect FIRST City from approaching asteroids caused by a distant space skirmish. Each alliance, along with their trusty droids, race to collect and score Power Cells in order to energize their Shield Generator for maximum protection. To activate sections of the Shield Generator, droids manipulate their Control Panels after scoring a specific number of Power Cells. Near the end of the match, droids race to their Rendezvous Point to get their Shield Generator operational in order to protect the city.
At today’s Kickoff, teams were shown the INFINITE RECHARGE game field and challenge details for the first time and received the Kickoff Kit from the Kit of Parts, which is made up of motors, batteries, control system components, construction materials, and a mix of additional automation components – with limited instructions.
Working with adult mentors, students have limited time to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Once these young inventors build a robot, their teams will participate beginning in late February in one or more of the global 173 Regional and District events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.By participating in FIRST, students gain confidence to explore the innovation process while learning valuable science, engineering, technology, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. FIRST Robotics Competition participants are eligible to apply for more than $80 million in FIRST Scholarships from colleges, universities, and technical programs. Students also learn and apply the FIRST ethos of Gracious Professionalism® via a signature set of FIRST Core Values. The 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff event is an opportunity for teams from all over the world to come together as a community to share in the excitement of seeing the new game unveiled. Teams at nearly 160 Kickoff sites in countries all over the world such as Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, and the United States watched the proceedings via live broadcast.