The 2005 FIRST Robotics Chesapeake Regional Competition will be held March 17-19 at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Halsey Field House in Annapolis, Maryland. The three-day event is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday is designated a practice day with competition rounds taking place all day Friday and Saturday.

FIRST, an acronym for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”, is organized to inspire curiosity and create interest in science and mathematics among today’s youth. Fifty-six teams will be comprised of more than 1,500 students from throughout the state of Maryland, nine other states, the District of Columbia, and Great Britain. They will be participating with teachers, college and corporate engineer mentors, community volunteers and judges who take part in competitive game strategies with robots constructed from a kit of common parts in a six-week collaboration that began in January.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is a major supporter for the Chesapeake Regional Competition, which is endorsed by the state of Maryland. NASA supports FIRST in an effort to inspire a next generation explorers to take up the challenge of the new vision for space exploration.

This year’s game, “Triple Play,” was introduced during the 2005 Kickoff event, on January 10, at FIRST headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire. The kickoff was beamed, via NASA-TV, to 31 remote locations throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, South America and Israel. NASA-TV will also broadcast the final day of competition at the Chesapeake Regional, Saturday, March 19.

“Triple Play,” is sophisticated yet accessible for rookie and veteran teams alike. It involves several new features, such as 3-team alliances, new game objects and goals called tetrahedrons, or “tetras,” and vision technology. Robots will be designed to place game tetras in or on one or more of 9 goals to claim ownership and score points in 2 minutes and 15 second matches.

This year for the first time, the Chesapeake Regional will have an international excitement as members of Team 1542 from London, United Kingdom, Great Britain travel across the Atlantic to participate in this high energy, team event. Time has been of the essence as FIRST participants work with their mentors to solve common problems using the “kit of parts” while following a standard set to custom build a robot.

Teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration and partnerships, and the spirit and determination of students. Teams are rewarded for excellence in design, team spirit, gracious professionalism and maturity, and the ability to overcome obstacles. There will be a regional each weekend leading up to the championship to be held April 21-23, inside the Georgia Dome, in Atlanta, Georgia.

FIRST was founded in 1989 by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools and their communities. Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, the non-profit organization designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue academic opportunities.

“The FIRST Robotics Competition is not just about the design and building of sophisticated robots. These students also develop maturity, professionalism, teamwork and mentoring skills that enrich their lives,” said Kamen. “Many of our students develop an affinity for their science and math courses, go on to study engineering, technology or science in college, and also to pursue employment opportunities with sponsoring companies,” added Kamen.

Teams will compete for honors and recognition that rewards design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses and communities. For 2005, FIRST is offering over 4 million dollars in scholarships to FIRST high school participants to leading universities, colleges and companies.

Currently in its fourteenth year, the FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates its largest season ever with almost 1,000 teams, including 180 rookie teams, representing Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and nearly every state in the U.S.

For more information about FIRST or the 2005 competition visit: or