International robotics competition begins Saturday

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Teenagers around the world are learning what's involved in this year's FIRST Robotics Competition.

Organizers say details of the six-week challenge will be unveiled to more than 75,000 participating high school students at more than 100 locations worldwide on Saturday.

In New Hampshire, where the program is based, students will hear from Dean Kamen at a kickoff event at Southern New Hampshire University. Kamen is president of Manchester's DEKA Research & Development and the founder of FIRST, which stands for "for inspiration and recognition of science and technology."

Teams will get kits containing motors, batteries and other parts, along with limited instructions, and will have six weeks to design and build a robot to meet this year's engineering challenge.

During this year's competition, Disney, NASA and several universities will be providing mentors for the students, who will compete in fast-paced, March Madness-style competitions.

Kamen created the competition in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. The challenge ends with the international FIRST Championship in April.

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