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The FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) community can come here for (at least) weekly musings on the FRC program, news, community highlights, science and technology shout-outs, and more directly from FIRST Headquarters! Comments are welcome, but they must embody the FIRST values of Gracious Professionalism® and will be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for helping to keep the conversations civil and productive.

Posted On:
Thu, 11/12/2015 - 15:53


Today's blog post was written by Ashley Liles, FIRST® Senior Mentor/AmeriCorps VISTA Programs Manager.

What’s an FSM? Another wonderful FIRST acronym, FSM stands for FIRST Senior Mentor.

FIRST Senior Mentor because these wonderful individuals are funded and directed by FIRST HQ to serve all four FIRST Programs. FIRST Senior Mentors work with Regional Directors and Program Partners to recruit, support, and expand FIRST...

Posted On:
Wed, 11/11/2015 - 15:37

Today’s blog post was written by Erin Bourassa, FRC Program Manager.

Tonight's topic for Behind the Lines is "Effective Prototyping Strategies".

GameSense has lined up some of the best prototypers in the FRC community! This show is going to be very informative and exciting. Make sure to stick around for the Q&A section at the end.

The show will air, November 11th, 2015 at 9:00pm EST and will feature:

Paul Ventimiglia, FRC 254 mentor, 2014 World Champions, Designer of Bite Force, 2015 Battlebots Champion


Posted On:
Tue, 11/10/2015 - 10:51

Today’s blog post was written by Kate Pilotte, FIRST Robotics Competition’s Kit of Parts Manager.

I’ve challenged myself to write this blog in a way that it has all the information needed if you’re new (or need a refresher), but also so experts out there can just skim the bolded content and get the gist. Here goes…

We’re doing FIRST Choice again. If you already know what FIRST Choice is, you can skip this part. If you’re still reading, you’re a rookie team, want a refresher, or can’t resist reading something you were told you could skip....

Posted On:
Wed, 11/04/2015 - 17:02

For the first time ever, FIRST Robotics Competition teams will be allowed to create a Team ‘Standard’, or flag, that will be flown over their player stations on the field during matches. For centuries, standards have been used to rally troops or to show the presence of important leaders. They have been a source of pride and inspiration. FIRST STRONGHOLD is all in good fun, but this is a great chance to show your colors and your team pride on the playing field itself!  We’re releasing this information now so you can get started on this activity if you wish,...

Posted On:
Tue, 11/03/2015 - 14:19

Today, for the first time in FIRST Robotics Competition history, we surpassed 3,000 teams registered for the program. There is nothing particularly special about this figure, other than it being a nice round number, and it starting with a three instead of a two, but it does mean we continue to reach more teams and change more lives, and that’s exciting!

We want to thank everyone who has ever helped start new teams or supported young teams through their difficult early years. We know growth happens where the rubber meets the road – and that’s at the local level. Today...

Posted On:
Mon, 11/02/2015 - 16:06

Hello teams!

It’s finally here: the Safety Animation Award Announcement! The topic for this year’s Safety Animation Award competition is ‘Working Safely with your Robot’. Every FIRST Robotics Competition team designs, builds, and competes with a robot. Every team also needs to work safely with their robot when it’s being built and tested, when it’s being moved to and from various locations at events, and when it’s being moved to and from the events themselves. Create an animation showing our community the best practices for handling the robot during these times! Your...

Posted On:
Fri, 10/30/2015 - 13:59

Today’s good question comes from Jacob Bendicksen, a member of FRC Team 1540, the Flaming Chickens, from Portland, Oregon, USA


Hi Frank,

My name is Jacob Bendicksen, and I’m the Co-President and Outreach/...

Posted On:
Thu, 10/29/2015 - 11:09


Today’s blog post was written by Kate Pilotte, FIRST Robotics Competition’s Kit of Parts Manager.

You may have noticed that every now and then we release information about a season before its Kickoff; sometimes it’s because we think it’s just that helpful to know ahead of time, sometimes it’s because we’re being playful, and sometimes it’s an accident.

This instance is the first one.

We want you to know that the list of legal motor controllers for the 2016 season is expanding.

In addition to the controllers permitted in the 2015...

Posted On:
Wed, 10/28/2015 - 16:39

Today’s blog post was written by Daniela Dimova, International Coordinator.

In previous years, some of our international teams have expressed concerns that the shipping of extra game pieces they receive from FIRST Choice is taking a significant amount of time. On average, it takes 3-4 weeks for the pieces to arrive in their home countries. In an effort to...

Posted On:
Fri, 10/23/2015 - 14:05

Purdue PhD student, Lara Cheng, as part of her dissertation, is researching how FRC teams approach robot performance analysis for operational assessment and scouting, and how they utilize the information they collect. If you are an FRC Mentor 18 years of age or older, you can help! Please click this link to fill out a brief survey. We will share the results of Lara’s research when they become available.

The survey closes on 11/08 at 11:59PM EST.



Posted On:
Thu, 10/22/2015 - 13:02

Today’s blog post was written by Kate Pilotte, FRC Kit of Parts Manager. 

I’ve received approval to let you know that MXP rules will remain the same for the 2016 FRC season (Reference last year’s blog introducing the MXP and R43, R57, and R58 from the 2015 Competition Manual).


Posted On:
Wed, 10/21/2015 - 14:07

A big thanks to everyone who has shared the 2016 FRC Teaser with their friends, relatives and complete strangers! Response has been positive so far. The teaser has actually received more ‘likes’ on the FIRST YouTube channel than any other video FIRST has ever posted. We know that ‘likes’ on YouTube and ‘shares’ on Facebook won’t necessarily translate into greater involvement in FIRST, but this kind of excitement and awareness is a great first step. If you haven’t yet shared this with...

Posted On:
Thu, 10/15/2015 - 15:38

Hello teams!

I hope most of you have had a chance to see the 2016 FRC Season Teaser released last night with the help of our friends at GameSense. If not, you can find it here. The GameSense crew and their guests seemed to be having a good time with the teaser, and I’ll tell you the FIRST staff who watched the show was having a good time watching the community have a good time.

As we have said before, one of the purposes of presenting the teaser in the way we did was to help get the...

Posted On:
Wed, 10/14/2015 - 13:24

Today’s the big day for the 2016 Season teaser world premiere! You’ll be able to see it at 9PM EST on GameSense. Thanks, again, to GameSense, for hosting this event! It’s going to be a fantastic party! As I said before, I think you will not want to miss this, it will be a big deal. 

Part of the reason this will be a big deal is because of who we've partnered with on this new approach to the season: the legendary storytellers of Walt Disney Imagineering.  Imagineers are masterful at blending storytelling with...

Posted On:
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 17:27

Pit Set-Up at Events

We have heard from some in the community that they would like to be able to set up their pits during what would traditionally be a load-in only period the afternoon or evening before events officially start. After considering this carefully, and getting feedback from the Regional Directors, we’ve decided to make this a local option.

While allowing early pit set-up has benefits, it also has some challenges, such as potentially increased costs in some areas and additional volunteer requirements. So, rather than requiring all events to do this...