DENSO has announced its 2017 commitment to FIRST Robotics. DENSO has backed FIRST, a program designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, for more than 15 years, through volunteer mentors, product and technology donations and monetary funding. Since 2002, DENSO has donated more than $800,000 to FIRST Robotics.
DENSO announced its plans today at a press conference at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit, as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Honorary Chair of the FIRST Championship Detroit Host Committee, and other Detroit leaders launched activities leading up to FIRST Championship Detroit in April 2018. DENSO, a Silver Level Supplier Sponsor of FIRST, has teamed up with its affiliate, ASMO North Carolina, to donate 22,000 window motors to student team build kits for the for 2016-‘18 competition seasons. Students are challenged to use the window motor and other parts to build a robot that completes the challenge they’re given. DENSO’s motor can be used to spin wheels, or move parts or “joints” of the robot.
“Every FIRST Robotics team around the world will have a DENSO motor available to use on their champion robot,” said Doug Patton, executive vice president of Engineering at DENSO. “DENSO donates its technology to help students get ‘real-world’ hands-on experience. We want to engage students and get them excited about careers in engineering and technology.”
In 2017, DENSO also is sponsoring 25 teams throughout North America, including:
- 12 high school and 2 middle school teams in Southeast Michigan
- six teams in Battle Creek, Michigan
- two teams in Maryville, Tennessee
- two teams in Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa
- one team in Dublin, Ohio
DENSO also sponsors the FIRST Robotics Southfield (Michigan), Lakeview (Michigan), Smoky Mountain (Tennessee) and Iowa regional competitions since they are held in the communities where DENSO is located.
FIRST Robotics has been compared to a varsity sport with hands-on training in science and technology to help students discover how rewarding a career in engineering or technology can be. STEM and mentoring programs like FIRST also give DENSO employees a chance to give back.
“One of the best things I get out of participating is watching when the kids understand and the lightbulb goes on,” said Gary Held, DENSO senior design engineer and FIRST Robotics mentor. “It’s a great opportunity to open kids up to hands-on learning about science, technology, engineering and math – some things that you might not get from regular classes.”
Participating in FIRST Robotics encourages students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields and inspires them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills.