FIRST stands for “for inspiration and recognition of science and technology.” This organization, founded by the one and only Dean Kamen, aims to show kids of all ages the beauty and fun of science and technology by giving them first hand experience in robotics. However, the organization is “more than robots,” and also gives kids experience in business, fundraising, cooperation, teamwork, as well as other life skills, all while maintaining a fun experience.
The founder, Dean Kamen, has done much more than found FIRST. He currently holds over 440 US and foreign patents. His two best known inventions include the segway and the first drug infusion pump. And though it's lesser known, he also invented the Coca Cola Freestyle machine which allows you to customize your fountain drinks. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2000 and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May 2005.
Dr. Woodie Flowers could easily be the second most important person in FIRST, after Dean Kamen. He was a professor at MIT and helped create MIT's renowned course "Introduction to Design." He was a director of three different companies and had received a Public Service Medal from NASA.
FRC stands for FIRST Robotics Competition, FRC is often not as competitive as one would think. In FRC, teams play on alliances of three which, during qualification rounds, are picked at random. This means that one round you could be playing as an alliance with one particular team, but the next round you are up against them. This leads to a lot of communication between teams on their capabilities, weaknesses and strategy.
In the pits, teams are constantly looking for other teams to pick for their alliance during playoffs, which leads to more friendly communication between teams. Back on the playing field, two alliances can both gain points by working together and getting coopertition points, which further makes FIRST robotics a sport that is not only competitive, but cooperative as well.