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Call it April Madness... the FIRST Championships

Boot Camp feature for Friday, April 25, 2008

Call it April madness. Young people competing from all over the world...building robots. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. About 20 thousand young people ....from age 6 through high school...took part in the championships at the Georgia Dome this month. There are thousands of corporate sponsors...for the competition created by FIRST....For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The students work in teams creating robots that perform a variety of tasks. Younger competitors use Legos for construction. FIRST VP of Planning and Field Operations Bruce Linton...

"FIRST was founded by inventor Dean Kamen about fifteen years ago basically to provide young people with the inspiration that they need to become the innovators of tomorrow. Dean had really noticed as far back as fifteen years ago that fewer and fewer young people really were interested in pursuing careers in science and technology."

Linton says the results have been measurable...

"We see that there's much higher rates of graduation from high school among young people in FIRST. There's three to five times the number of young people studying math, science and education. We're also seeing many more of our young people be involved in internships through their education career."

The program also encourages the teams to participate as volunteers in their communities. Founder Dean Kamen by the way...perhaps best known for the Segway...has of late been focused on a new water purification invention called the Slingshot. You can find more information at USFIRST.org. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.