FIRST Robotics Team Cutting Ribbon at 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

FRC Teams Cutting the Ribbon

FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), announced that five award-winning FIRST Robotics Teams and their robots will open the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. The parade opened on November 28, 2013, in New York City.

For nearly a century, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the official kick-off to the holiday season. Every year, this Emmy® Award-winning tradition is seen by more than 3.5 million people in New York and 50 million people at home.

Robots are Mainstream

Robots are no longer a sci-fi fantasy; in recent years they are commonplace. Robots are now in many aspects of life, from cleaning floors to teaching in the classroom. Macy’s recognizes the importance and relevance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Moreover, the company is sensitive to the need for STEM-workforce development. They also understand that the key to expanding these fields is to inspire young people to take an interest in them.

“We are extremely excited and thankful for this unique opportunity that Macy’s has given us,” said FIRST Founder, Dean Kamen. “Tuning into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an American tradition, and this year the first thing people will see in the parade is FIRST. Thanks to Macy’s, we have the chance to pique the curiosity of millions of young people, as well as potential Mentors, Sponsors, and Volunteers.”

Five FIRST Robotics Teams Were Selected

Five FIRST Robotics Competition teams will proudly represent FIRST and its Progression of Programs with this trailblazing appearance. Award-winning FIRST Robotics Competition teams leading the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade include:

The Holy Cows, from San Diego, Calif. – Team 1538
Texas Torque, from The Woodlands, Texas – Team 1477
S.P.A.M., from Stuart, Fla. – Team 180
The Bomb Squad, from Mountain Home, Ark. – Team 16
Raider Robotix, from North Brunswick, N.J. – Team 25

At the beginning of each competition season, teams receive a “Kit of Parts” made up of motors, batteries, a control system, a PC, and a mix of automation components – with no instructions. Working with adult Mentors, students have six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge.

Texas Torque Robot Cutting Ribbon

Texas Torque team robot SONIC test-cutting the Macy ribbon.
Texas Torque team robot SONIC test-cutting the Macy ribbon.

The robots leading the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were designed and built for the 2013 FRC ULTIMATE ASCENT season challenge. The robot were different from those in competition. The robots were modified to perform tasks specifically for the parade. Texas Torque’s robot, “SONIC,” cut the ribbon to start the parade. Following the ribbon-cutting, the other teams’ robots shot confetti along the parade route. Students then drove their 12v battery-operated, 150-pound robots down the entire 2.5-mile stretch, ending at Macy’s Herald Square.

The 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade aired live from New York City on November 28, 2013 beginning at 9 a.m. ET on NBC.

About FIRST Robotics Teams

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $16 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.