Members of a FIRST Robotics team. Image from FIRST Facebook page

More than 1,500 high-school students from San Diego, elsewhere in California, Hawaii, Texas, Nevada, Chile and the Netherlands are converging on Del Mar this week for the 12th annual FIRST Robotics Competition.

After six weeks of designing and building individual robots, a total of 66 teams will compete at the Del Mar Arena from Wednesday through Saturday. Winners will go on to district and national competitions.

San Diego’s Qualcomm is the title sponsor of the event, which seeks to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities.

“We are excited to return as the title sponsor of the San Diego Regional competition,” said Erica Fessia, director of community engagement for Qualcomm. “Through our long-standing support of FIRST, Qualcomm is committed to nurturing science, technology, engineering and math, giving today’s students the foundations they need to invent the future for all of us.”

The FIRST Robotics Competition expects 3,650 teams in the United States and 26 other countries worldwide to compete in 63 regional events, 85 district events, and 10 district championships.

Participating students are also eligible to apply for more than $50 million in scholarships being made available by nearly 200 scholarship providers.

The competition was founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway scooter and many other devices.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.