The foundation For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology was founded in 1989 by inventor and philanthropist Dean Kamen.
His mission is, "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders."
The original 28-team FIRST Robotics Competition has grown into over 26,000 teams, nearly 300,000 student participants, and close to 100,000 mentors and coaches, at five levels of competition. You can find out more about FIRST at usfirst.org.
Junior FIRST LEGO League
Junior FIRST LEGO League was created in 2004, to extend the robotics experience to kids ages 6-9. The teams are given a yearly theme, and the kids try to come up with an invention that co-ordinates with the theme. The teams then create a LEGO model of their invention, and display it and their research in a science-fair style presentation.
FIRST LEGO League
FIRST LEGO League was started in 1998, as a partnership between FIRST and LEGO. Designed for kids 9-14, the teams use LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits to create a robot that can drive around a 4x8 table, autonomously manipulating special LEGO models for points.
FIRST Tech Challenge
FIRST Tech Challenge was founded in 2005 to help incoming high-schoolers bridge the gap between the LEGO FLL robots and the huge FRC bots. The game uses the Tetrix robotics building system, and is powered by the Mindstorms NXT microcomputer brick. The concept is similar to FLL, but the robots run both autonomously and by remote control. The competition field is a 12x12 mat and scoring is achieved by manipulating game elements. The single-bot-per-field in FLL is replaced in this level by two teams of two robots, which is four robots operating on the same field at the same time.
FIRST Robotics Competition
FRC is the founding father of the FIRST competitions. Teams of high-schoolers build 5 foot-tall robots that compete on a basketball court-sized field in alliances of three.
This was the first competition created by Dean Kamen, and the highest level of competition in the FIRST family.