If you see robots touring the Smithsonian this weekend, don’t be surprised. In fact, expect to see all sorts of ASIMO-inspired machines walking, rolling, slinking and sliding as Washington, D.C., plays host to the FIRST Robotics Competition regional March 25-26.
Students from Maryland, Virginia and the District will join engineers, teachers and mentors for the LOGO MOTION competition. Robots designed and built by the student teams compete in athletic challenges.
“It’s not just about robots,” said FIRST founder Dean Kamen. “It’s about building self-confidence, respect and important relationships with people who invent new technologies to make a better future.”
Area contracting firms hope by encouraging student involvement in math, science and engineering, the technology industry will benefit. BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin join NASA and U.S. Office of Personnel Management in sponsoring the event.
The National Defense Education Program will participate in the competition with Technology Row. Corporate sponsors and universities will show off technologies and research competitions like FIRST inspire.
BAE Systems President David Herr is especially pleased to be involved in FIRST. He believes the competition generates interest in technology, which inspires career pursuits in engineering and the sciences, and places the U.S. in a more competitive position.
The competition, being held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is open to the public. Public viewing begins at 10 a.m. The D.C. regional competition is one of three occurring this weekend. The FIRST National Championships will be held April 28-30 in St. Louis, Mo.