PTC to Sponsor Global Design Competition, “Robots to the Rescue”


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In response to the suspended FIRST® season caused by COVID-19, PTC is inviting FIRST teams around the world to compete virtually in its design competition, Robots to the Rescue, in which teams will be challenged to design a robot that can solve a current real-world problem.

FIRST is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future. Each year, the global non-profit organization offers a suite of robotics competitions for students in grades PreK-12. These competitions provide participants with a sense of accomplishment and the understanding that they can do anything with their collective skills, leadership, and confidence. The experience they gain can positively impact their future and take them further than any other sport can. In mid-March, amid school closures and expanded travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak, FIRST announced the suspension of its current FIRST season.

Students are invited to design and compete virtually in Robots to the Rescue using Onshape® – the world’s only pure Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product development platform. Because Onshape is web-based, FIRST students can collaborate remotely while continuing to hone their engineering skills. As part of the six-week competition, FIRST teams, specifically FIRST® Tech Challenge and FIRST® Robotics Competition teams, will design a robot that can help solve a real-world problem such as providing food and supplies to people in remote places, or removing pollution from the atmosphere.

“This competition is an opportunity for FIRST students around the world to engage their interest in STEM and collaborate with one another virtually,” said Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO, PTC. “With Onshape, students will use a robust CAD design solution that’s powerful, easy to get started, and fun to use.”

Onshape is used worldwide by thousands of professional and aspiring designers and engineers and is accessible from a wide range of devices, including Chromebooks, MacBooks, smartphones, and tablets. As a pure SaaS platform, there is no software installation required and no IT infrastructure to administer and maintain, allowing students to get started quickly and to collaborate remotely, innovate, and have fun.

“We’re thrilled that PTC has made the Robots to the Rescue competition exclusively available to FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition students,” said Ken Johnson, Director, FIRST Tech Challenge. “We know our participants will gain valuable knowledge through this experience, and it’s a chance for them to virtually connect and problem-solve together during this time of social distancing. We’re grateful to PTC for helping to make the competition possible this year, as well as for its continued support of FIRST over a long-standing relationship.”

The competition launches on Friday, April 3. Students from around the world can register for the competition online here. For a complete list of rules and guidelines, please visit here. Both the competition and the use of Onshape are free to students.

Rockwell Automation, also a proud sponsor of FIRST, and with which PTC has a robust strategic alliance, is also supporting the competition.

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