The inaugural FIRST Global Challenge was held at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. 163 teams from 158 countries attended the event. Some had
prior robotics experience, with several teams from the global north having experience in other FIRST competitions. However, a significant portion of the attendees had little-to-no robotics experience. This was also the first year of the Global STEM Corps, in which other FIRST teams, including some participating at the competition, mentored some of the more
inexperienced FIRST teams from long-distance.
The event was initially marred by the inability of two teams to get visas - Gambia and Afghanistan. In light of the travel ban imposed by the President of the United States,
Donald J. Trump, on certain countries (though FGC teams from those countries were able to attend), these visa denials were heavily publicized by U.S. and international media.
An effort was made to have all-female, female-led or female-started teams at the competition. There were a total of 6 all-girl teams. Ivanka Trump, Special Advisor to the President, attended an all-girls team exhibition to highlight this initiative.
Foreign dignitaries from many countries attended the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Governor General-designate of Canada Julie Payette attended the Opening Ceremony, while President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim delivered an address at the Closing Ceremony.
Major media outlets were in attendance at the competition, including NBC, NPR, ABC, Voice of America and others. The competition made the front page of the Wall Street Journal's Tuesday edition, as well as NBC's Nightly News program in the United States. Many stories were written in international media on the event.
The main venue, which seated 3,500+, was close to capacity for the Opening Ceremony.
There were four match fields on the floor of the venue. Teams played 3-4 practice games in the venue prior to the beginning of competition, and sign-up practice fields were available outside the pit area.
Teams played 6 games, divided across 6 rounds. Teams were ranked by the total number of points they accumulated over 6 games. The high score was set in Match 18 of Round 6, when the Hydro (Red) alliance of Europe, Kazakhstan and Liberia scored 154 points. Europe went on to win the Gold Medal with 716 points.
Five teams managed to stay undefeated across all 6 matches: Finland, Singapore, India, DR Congo and Haiti.
The event was once again marred by negative coverage at the end of the competition, when members of Team Burundi went missing after the Closing Ceremony. Reports later indicated that the students were safe and staying in North America on their own will.
Founder of FIRST Global, Dean Kamen, called on "all the youth of the world to assemble in one year's time in Mexico City for the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge."
157 countries represented by 163 teams
2,500+ youth impacted across the globe
800+ volunteers in Global STEM Corps or at the event
58 teams with no prior robotics experience
60% teams founded, organized or brought into being by women
100+ media organizations featuring FIRST Global internationally
Statistics compiled by FIRST Global.
The 2017 FIRST Global Challenge game was H2O Flow.
The game was based off of the Grand Engineering Challenge of Access To Clean Water.
Alliances of 3 teams had to manipulate small, plastic balls, representing water molecules, and sort the blue balls (clean water) from the orange balls (contaminate particles).
Blue balls had to be placed in the water reserve, while orange balls had to be brought up a ramp to the alliance laboratory.
At the end of the match, teams could get bonus points for climbing a bar to avoid "the flood". Teams could also get a coopertition bonus for putting all contaminate particles in the laboratory.
Clear Water Particle Scored
Contaminate Particle Scored
Robot Park on Bridge
15 (both alliance)
5 (to other alliance)
Day 1 of Competition
Day 2 of Competition and Awards (Closing) Ceremony