Thursday, January 24, 2008

SolidWorks World 2008: Dean Kamen’s FIRST needs volunteers

At SolidWorks World 2008, one of the presenters was Dean Kamen, he of the Segway fame. One of Kamen’s passions is the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program for high school kids. During his presentation he noted that FIRST is in need of volunteers, as pointed out by Joel Orr at the COFES blog.

During a recent Autodesk event, I got the pleasure of talking directly to a bunch of FIRST teams in Oregon, and their mentors. As the kids, age 14-18 explained how the robot they made works, I found my admiration for them going sky-high. As a 15 year old explained to me how he programmed the controller chips to make the mechanism work, so my belief in FIRST went through the roof. Allow me to explain it this way: at the ripe old age of 40, I could never fathom creating programming code for a processor. But maybe I could have if someone had opened the door for me when I was a teenager. No one did, so it remains a mystery. The key to this understanding, however, is down to the mentors. This particular team in Oregon had an Intel employee as one of the mentors, who then started to explain, enthusiastically to me how he teaches the kids programming. Even I started to get enthusiastic! It was very cool!

And now FIRST needs more people like him. Mechanical engineers, programmers, control and signals technicians and more. The reward? Watch these kids simply fly.

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Posted by The 3D Team in 15:28:54

One Response to “SolidWorks World 2008: Dean Kamen’s FIRST needs volunteers”

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