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Gabe
06-19-2006, 12:12 PM
Where are the rest of the world's countries when it comes to robotics competitons?
In FIRST we have Canada and United States for North America, Mexico for Central America, Brazil for South America, the U.K. for Europe, and Israel for the Middle East. These are all western countries and it seems kind of exclusive to these nations.
If FIRST is an interntional competition, then where is the rest of the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran? Where is Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Denmark (invented LEGO)? Where is Russia, India, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand? Why aren't they part of FIRST robotics?
This question came to mind after reading this thread on ChiefDelphi and going down to post #18.
http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47808&page=2&pp=15&highlight=arm+extension
There is also the link to the event webpage below (if link says that server cannot be found, try again and it should work).
http://www.robofest.org.my/robocon2006/
Watching this video will make you jaw drop :eek: (notice similarity with FIRST?)
http://gymkhana.iitb.ac.in/~umic/videos/robocon2k5/robocon2k5.wmv
What I would like to see is for either FIRST to expand or for the creation of a robotics competition that extends to all countries in the world. Think of international friendship.
Also, please post about pther FIRST-style competitions and any ideas on how to expand robotics competitions to the rest of the world. :)

Arefin Bari
06-19-2006, 12:18 PM
Where are the rest of the world's countries when it comes to robotics competitons?
In FIRST we have Canada and United States for North America, Mexico for Central America, Brazil for South America, the U.K. for Europe, and Israel for the Middle East. These are all western countries and it seems kind of exclusive to these nations.
If FIRST is an interntional competition, then where is the rest of the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran? Where is Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Denmark (invented LEGO)? Where is Russia, India, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand? Why aren't they part of FIRST robotics?
This question came to mind after reading this thread on ChiefDelphi and going down to post #18.
(http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47808&page=2&pp=15&highlight=arm+extension ) on ChiefDelphi and going down to post #18.

You are right when you are talking for the FRC teams. Don't forget there is FLL teams too. I can be VERY wrong, I don't know where exactly teams are from for FLL, but I have talked to few teams at championship who traveled across the world to go to Atlanta and compete.

I know that team 433 (Firebirds) was working on getting a team started in Ghana, they also invited them over to watch the regional competition. It would be nice to have teams in each country.

FIRST started back in 1992 with 10 teams... after 14 years... we are in 2006 and we have over 1000 teams competing. I can only use my imagination to see what is going to happen to FIRST in 2020. Oh yea... Mini Arefin will sure be competing at the FIRST competitions. =)

Rohith Surampudi
06-19-2006, 12:27 PM
There are many reasons alot of these countries don't participate in FRC

*Firstly although machining is readily available, obtaining parts can be very difficult

* secondly shipping materials from nations that far is immensely expensive. Flying the robot to their closest regional is very very expensive as I'm sure the international teams know.

*timing in order for teams to be able to ship their robots here, the relatively cheap way(by ship) would take about 6 weeks unless these teams chartered private boats just to transport(once again expensive)

Teams in foreign countries with no other teams are at a major disadvantage because they may need support, and phone calls can only go so far.

and lastly to start a team it would require a group of people to go to the location to help set up for an extended period of time. once again extremely expensive. the trip of a life time is only worth so much

Greg Needel
06-19-2006, 12:28 PM
Oh yea... Mini Arefin will sure be competing at the FIRST competitions. =)



god save us all.... :p



For the first years of FIRST the main focus was on US teams. Making this a way for kids in the US to get exposure to math science and technology. Hence the usfirst.org It has only been in the last few years that there has been a push for FIRST outside the us. Although even with that i believe that the focus of the comp will always be United states based, mainly because of the level of emphasis on America's declining role in the engineering world view and all of the us based companies that support FIRST and that cause. This doesn't go to say that the program won't grow more then it currently is outside the US but I doubt it will ever be the main focus to spread internationally.

Kristian Calhoun
06-19-2006, 02:08 PM
For the first years of FIRST the main focus was on US teams. Making this a way for kids in the US to get exposure to math science and technology. Hence the usfirst.org It has only been in the last few years that there has been a push for FIRST outside the us. Although even with that i believe that the focus of the comp will always be United states based, mainly because of the level of emphasis on America's declining role in the engineering world view and all of the us based companies that support FIRST and that cause. This doesn't go to say that the program won't grow more then it currently is outside the US but I doubt it will ever be the main focus to spread internationally.

Where is Russia, India, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand? Why aren't they part of FIRST robotics?

As has been mentioned, FIRST has only recently been spreading to other countries, with its main emphasis on getting a majority, if not all, of high schools in the US equipped with a FIRST robotics team. As Rohith stated, while starting teams in other countries is awesome, it can end up being very costly, and not every team is able to financially do so. Thus the best alternative to starting a team in another country is to start teams at high schools in your surrounding area.

Could you even imagine the number of teams that would be created if a majority of high schools in Russia, India, China, Japan, and Australia had FIRST teams? That's more than 1/4 of the world's population! :ahh: With that many teams, the Championship even would definitely need to be longer than 3 days. But then again, you can never have too much of FIRST. :D

OZ_341
06-19-2006, 02:18 PM
We have a VEX Team in Singapore that is a partnership of 3 Singapore schools and our high school. They have been to Atlanta twice and PA once.

We are taking a group of students and our FRC machine to Singapore in August for demos, cultural exchange and 10 days of fun.

The Singapore VEX team has won the 2006 Championship, 2006 Delaware Regional Think Award and the 2005 Championship VEX Challenge Award. They are considering moving up to the next level to FRC but we are taking things one step at a time.

These are really nice folks and we can't wait to see them in August.

Eugenia Gabrielov
06-19-2006, 02:52 PM
Do you have links to those countries? Take initiative and bring your knowledge to them. I introduced my host family in Spain to FIRST...they always ask me about competitions now, and tell their friends.

Do you want to make an international link? Take initiative - be the one that acts, be bold. Do it.

rufu5
06-20-2006, 11:02 AM
From what little bit I know, FIRST is trying to get more international teams. At this point I know that FIRST pays all fees for the teams in Israel (entry, kit, etc.). This is one way to bring more international teams.

With the left over 1? million dollars after the season FIRST reported in their annual report this year, I'm sure they could extend this offer to teams in other countries in Europe and Asia (if they have not already).

I think it comes down to what Eugenia Gabrielov said: make the connections yourself! I bumped into a guy at AU2005 last year from Australia, talked about FIRST with him for a few minutes and gave him contact information for my team and I ... thats all it takes.

Lil' Lavery
06-20-2006, 12:43 PM
Considering the first non-North American regional was created in 2005 in Israel, the fact that FIRST will be creating it's 2nd in Brazil just 2 years later is astounding. As mentioned by Greg earlier, it used to be US FIRST, not just FIRST. Every year, at the Championship, kick-off, and regionals, Dean talks about how FIRST was created because AMERICA was falling behind in science and technology. While international expansion is great, and eventually may become the primary focus of FIRST, it should be a secondary desire in the immediate future. Not until FIRST is in every public school in the United States will I say we are ready to shift our focus and make international teams the primary effort of FIRST.

OZ_341
06-20-2006, 02:06 PM
.......While international expansion is great, and eventually may become the primary focus of FIRST, it should be a secondary desire in the immediate future. Not until FIRST is in every public school in the United States will I say we are ready to shift our focus and make international teams the primary effort of FIRST.
I agree! International initiatives are a nice secondary focus. We don't want this effort to distract us from our mission at home. What our Singapore effort does is actually enhance the strength of our team through partnership and exchange. However, I think the main focus of Team 341 (and hopefully FIRST) will be creating teams in the USA.
Also I get concerned that FIRST will overtax their human resources and be unable to help new and existing local teams succeed. They already seem so stretched to the limit in certain areas. That being said, its hard to stop a great idea from spreading far and wide. FIRST is a powerful concept.

Evenstar_342
06-20-2006, 03:14 PM
I think its great that FIRST is trying to expand around the world, it was so exciting to go to the FLL World Festival this year and talk to people from all over the planet. Out of curiosity, does anyone know if a team has tried to start anything FIRST related in Australia? I know its a long way away, but I would think that there would be enough interest and enough possible schools to start teams and hold regionals and have FIRST only fork up the cost to send one or two teams to Atlanta. Also, I was wondering if anyone thinks the Championship event will ever leave the US with FIRST expanding into so many countries? I would think eventually it might be possible to hold the event in Europe.

RoboMadi
06-20-2006, 03:49 PM
Think of it as a disease. FIRST (disease) started from USA and now its spreading across the world.
15 years ago, FIRST was only hand full of teams. But now it consist of more than 1500 teams. There are a lot of teams out there who are trying to start teams internationally.
Not to mention that the FLL teams of today, will soon rise to be FRC teams in future....
seriously I'm waiting for the time when my grand children will be part of different FIRST teams, fighting against each other :p

David55
06-21-2006, 06:24 AM
At this point I know that FIRST pays all fees for the teams in Israel (entry, kit, etc.). This is one way to bring more international teams.

Rufus, I believe you have a mistake. The explanation is below...

Sean, Kristian, OZ 341 and all the people concerned with FIRST giving too many resources to start international teams, I just want to point out a few facts:

FIRST does not support the teams in Israel at all. All the teams in Israel and the regional are run by FIRST Israel. This organization gets all it's funding from corporations and private donors, hence the " GM/Technion Israeli Regional". FIRST Israel helps start teams each year around Israel, and the rookie teams are all mentored by veteran Israeli teams. The funding for the teams (kits and extra expenses) are all from companies that give a 10,000$ donation to each team.

All the expenses for participating in the championship event (including registration, travel and hotels) are payed for by the teams and FIRST Israel (most of it comes from our parent's pockets).

Just wanted to point out those facts so you understand that the Israeli teams don't take away any resources from FIRST that would be used to start new teams in the US.

David

JVGazeley
06-21-2006, 06:45 AM
You'll find that regionals are only in the USA, Canada and Israel. It is not cheap for us to attend regionals as in addition to the cost of building the robot, we also have to pay for a hostel to stay in during the regional and the cost of the team flying across. When the team is over 20 people, that can get quite expensive. Even despite the amount covered by sponsors, I can tell you that each member of our team paid 450 (~$700?) to attend this year. Thus cost is probably an issue for some.

Also, the word hasn't necessarily spread everywhere yet which is something we should be trying to do. From what I can see, it is occuring but gradually.

OZ_341
06-21-2006, 07:56 AM
Rufus, I believe you have a mistake. The explanation is below...
Sean, Kristian, OZ 341 and all the people concerned with FIRST giving too many resources to start international teams, I just want to point out a few facts.................
David:
Please don't miss understand my point. I already figured that you had to raise your own money.
My concerns are more about expansion in general, not just international expansion. Having a 7 year perspective, I just see that expansion has taxed the human resources of FIRST. They just seem much more overwhelmed than before. Maybe we just need to have more staff and somehow pay for that, as an organization.
Like I said before, you won't ever stop the growth of FIRST, because you can't keep a good idea down! I hope this clears up my perspective. have a great summer!
Also as a side note: We have also sent about 20 copies of our "Team in a Box" DVD to England and Europe in support of teams and potential regionals. So we are definitely in favor of international expansion. I was just expressing my concerns. I like to worry! :D

Kristian Calhoun
06-21-2006, 03:32 PM
Sean, Kristian, OZ 341 and all the people concerned with FIRST giving too many resources to start international teams, I just want to point out a few facts:...

As in the same case with OZ, I do not want my post to be misunderstood/misinterpreted.
I was in no way doubting that the Israeli, or any international teams for that matter, fundraise a lot of their own money to cover expenses for the season in addition to the costs of travel. And am not, in any way blaming the Israeli teams for taking resources away from FIRST that could be used to start new teams in the US. You guys are great at what you do and in spreading the message of FIRST around the globe to help promote science and technology. After all, we are all in FIRST for the same reasons, and I see nothing wrong with the prospect of having and/or creating new international teams in the future.

As for my previous post, my main concern wasn't about the resources that FIRST has available, but rather about the resources and financial aid that individual teams themselves have available to them to put towards starting teams in other countries. Many students on teams here in the US also must complete an abundance of fundraising in order to afford travel cost, and most end up paying out of their own pockets as well,as you do in Israel. So not every team has the ability to actually go out, and start and interact with the teams that they are attempting to start in the other countries(for example: such as 341 is doing with their team from Singapore).

So just to make sure we're one good terms, I just wanted to clarify that I was not concerned with FIRST giving out too many resources to international teams. You guys do a job well done and should keep up the good work. My point was that only a handful of teams with sufficient funding available to them would be able go out and fully interact and aid the teams that they start in other countries.

Thanks,
-Kristian

Martinez
06-26-2006, 07:50 AM
FIRST to me is like a technical version of the Boy Scouts. It was started by one man with the vision of molding his day's youth, now spreading to almost every city in the world. I think the number one reason is a lack of Regionals Internationally. After the Canadian Regional, the number of teams practically exploded. Travel cost is a huge budget item so having a near by competition always helps. When your accross the pond, doublly so. Don't forget, there are alot of DoD dependents in Europe so its not like we are turning our back on the good old US of A!

OZ_341
06-26-2006, 09:01 AM
I just wanted to make the point that this trip did not come easily to us. This is far from the case. It almost fell apart in the late Spring and moving forward was not an easy decision.
We are doing a substantial amount of risk taking. to make this happen. Like most successes that we have had over the years, we are gambling that things will be OK into the future.
We are not getting any direct corporate support and we are borrowing against our future fund raising to lower the costs for the kids. Also coaches are paying directly "out of pocket" for this trip.

So why are we taking such great risks to do this then? Because we believe in this effort and we believe in our partners in Singapore. They have been to the USA 3 times and we want to travel to their land and understand their perspectives and challenges. We want partnership to grow into friendship.

So I guess my point is that if a team wants this type of initiative to grow, they are going to have to make it happen with deep belief and pure effort. We have been scrapping and planning for over a year to get this right.

Jon236
06-26-2006, 10:13 AM
I don't think we need to worry about splitting resources here. All teams should work on spreading the spirit of FIRST and help new teams start up. For newer teams, that focus should be locally, in areas of need. As teams mature, bigger approaches should be tried. The Team-in-a-Box is a fantastic idea to spread that help globally in a generic fashion. In Old Lyme, the local community is hosting several kids from the West Bank this summer, as it has for a couple of years. Last year we introduced the kids (all girls, by the way) to FLL and demonstrated our FRC bot. We will repeat this tomorrow and will meet with their community leaders to try to get the kids involved in FLL.

The whole concept of the alliance-based competition is so energizing for co-operation between teams and ultimately countries that it is our obligation to spread it around the world. I was a judge at the Tel Aviv Regional this year. The sight of an Arab team's 'bot pushing a Jewish team's bot up the ramp for the extra points conveys this concept more eloquently than any diplomat can.

While FIRST is not about diplomacy, we cannot and should not ignore the social implications of what we do. This is what makes FIRST so worthwhile to myself and others. We 'sell' FIRST to politicians and school officials in the US because of its payback in promoting science and engineering; it is no less attractive to other countries for the same reasons! As Dean said this year, imagine FIRST in all the high schools in the US! And I add, in high schools everywhere!

In terms of promoting the US, sadly the last few years has seen the world looking at us in a more negative light. What more positive thing than FIRST can we bring to the world? So, ultimately, spreading FIRST internationally is helping the US!

Jon Mittelman

Mentor Team236
Lead Inspector and Judge Tel Aviv Regional 2006
Judge UTC Regional 2006

OZ_341
06-26-2006, 11:51 AM
....... I was a judge at the Tel Aviv Regional this year. The sight of an Arab team's 'bot pushing a Jewish team's bot up the ramp for the extra points conveys this concept more eloquently than any diplomat can.

........
Jon:

That must have been an awesome experience!! Also thanks for the nice perspective on the benefits of international initiatives. Just like many aspects of FIRST the indirect benefits are substantial.

Good luck with your efforts.

Al Ostrow
Team 341