Pittsburg, CA - February 9, 2012 - Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation, manufacturer of the original DualVeeŪ guide wheel and certified woman-owned business, has teamed up with FIRSTŪ as a Diamond Supplier of the FRCŪ Robotics Competition and is supporting three high school robotics teams in the San Francisco Bay Area for both FRC and FTC challenges.

FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - is a nonprofit founded by inventor Dean Kamen that aims to spark young people's interest in science and technology for a better future. This marks the fifth year that Bishop-Wisecarver has participated as a program sponsor and supporter of robotic teams.

Diamond is the second-highest supplier sponsorship for the contest, designating a contribution in the $200,000 to $500,000 range. Bishop-Wisecarver contributed to the FRC playing field and the 2012 FRC Kit of Parts which more than 2,400 high school teams received last month.

"With its generous contribution and ongoing support to the FIRST Robotics Competition at the Diamond Supplier level, Bishop-Wisecarver makes it possible for us to turn the FIRST vision of inspiring young people's interest and participation in science and technology into a reality," said FIRST president Jon Dudas. "The participation of innovative companies such as Bishop-Wisecarver is a major reason why FIRST continues to experience phenomenal growth. With nearly 300,000 students participating in FIRST each year, Bishop-Wisecarver is playing an important role in securing the future of innovation."

By donating components for the competition, FIRST suppliers give students access to the latest technology and the chance to use the same tools as career scientists and engineers. This helps them pick up real-world skills to carry into the workforce.

"I feel lucky to have the resources to help the next generation of scientists and engineers," said Bishop-Wisecarver President Pamela Kan. "I am proud of our continued support of FIRST robotics. If I help even one student stay engaged in school, I have served a purpose. If I have helped one student understand the value of working and making things with their hands, I have served a purpose."

Kan said she also draws encouragement from the growing number of female participants in the program.

"I am very excited to see the number of girls invested with FIRST," Kan said. "I want to make sure they know that science and technology is a viable career option for them."

FIRST teams in January saw the new "Rebound RumbleSM" game playing field and received a kit made up of motors, batteries, a control system, a PC, Microsoft Corporation's award-winning Kinect for Xbox 360, and a mix of automation components - but no instructions. Students work with adult mentors to design, build, program and test their robots to meet the season's engineering challenge within the six-week deadline. Once the students build their robot, their teams compete to measure the effectiveness of their creation, their collaborative power and personal determination.

This year's "Rebound Rumble" game is played between two three-team alliances. Each alliance competes by scoring as many basketballs through hoops as possible during a two-minute and 15-second round. Balls scored in higher hoops earn teams more points. Alliances earn bonus points if they can balance the balls on bridges at the end of the match. In matches where opposing alliances work together to balance on the white bridge, all teams earn more seeding points.

FRC is an annual contest that gets students excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and shows them the rewards a career in STEM can bring. The FIRST Robotics Competition began in 1992 with 28 teams and a single playing field in a New Hampshire high school gym. This season, some 2,344 teams - including 464 rookie teams - will compete.

About 58,000 students from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey, and the U.K. will battle it out at 52 regional events in the U.S., Canada, and Israel, one Regional Championship, 15 District Competitions, as well as one state championship and one region championship. Those all lead up to the 2012 FIRST Championship at the Edward Jones Dome, April 25 to 28, in St. Louis, Miss. This season, participating FRC high school students can apply for nearly $14 million in scholarships from 142 leading colleges and universities.

For more about our FIRST coverage, view out blog at bwcnews.blogspot.com. For a PDF copy of this press release, click here. For live updates, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/bwcnews.