The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
Dean Kamen, along with assistance from Woodie Flowers, founds FIRST. FIRST was built as a program which would inspire and teach students in science and technology. To do this, FIRST aimed to integrate the enthusiasm of sports with the logic of technology and mathematics. Kamen states that FIRST is the invention he is most proud of.
Inaugural FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is held in 1992 in the Manchester Memorial High School gymnasium. The competition, named “Maize Craze”, featured four robots trying to collect tennis balls into a predetermined starting base. As an impediment, the entire field was covered with 2 inches of corn, hence the name “Maize” Craze.
First LEGO League (FLL) is founded. Unlike FRC, which is aimed at high school students, FLL was geared towards 9 to 14-year old students and uses LEGO Mindstorms sets.
FIRST launches the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), formerly the FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC). FTC is designed to be more affordable and accessible than FRC, as the robots are approximately a third of the size of FRC robots. At its launch, FTC used the Vex Robotics Design System. In 2009, FIRST created their custom standard kit and control system known as Tetrix.
FIRST announces that teams must cooperate in the competition though alliances of three teams. This reinforces the values of Co-Opertition as a given team can be an opponent in one match and a partner in another match.