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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:
Wed, 08/20/2014 - 08:50

Please see the note below from FRC Kit of Parts Manager, Kate Pilotte, regarding motor controllers for 2015. 

Hi all,

The Motor Controller landscape for the 2015 FRC season is going to be changing, and we’d like to share a few details in advance of Kickoff to give you a heads up. We normally only provide advance information on the upcoming season when necessary, but we think these details fall into that category.

Victor, Talon, and Jaguar Motor Controllers will be legal for the...

Posted On:
Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:01

Frank is on vacation this week. You may be able to tell this from the artistic additions some folks made to the traditional graphic above while he was otherwise occupied. 

Before he left, he asked Lee Doucette, Youth Protection Program Manager here at FIRST, to answer a question he received.

This question is from Nate Laverdure, a mentor from FRC Team 2363, Triple Helix, from Newport News, Virginia, USA:



Posted On:
Thu, 08/14/2014 - 11:13

We are happy to announce that “FMS Lite”, the stripped-down version of the Field Management System that many off-season events use, is now available for download via the Off-Season Events Page. Some highlights of the 2014 version:

    • Includes the Event Wizard, which makes it possible to step through the entire tournament.
    • Can generate practice/qualification/elimination schedules using the MatchMaker algorithm, just like official FRC events
    • Includes 'Reports'...
Posted On:
Fri, 08/08/2014 - 14:12

Today’s good question comes from Aaron Schmitz, an alumnus from FRC Team 2502, Talon Robotics, from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA:


Hello Frank & co.,

Allow me to introduce myself by saying I’m alumni of FRC 2502 who works for a well-known Fortune 50 software company. Acting as de facto liaison/volunteer wrangler between this company and FIRST’s regional partner, I can say with confidence that there are many outstanding developers here...

Posted On:
Thu, 08/07/2014 - 16:36

Actually, we did this some time ago, when we started allowing teams, if they wished, to load-in at Regionals the day before practice day. Teams are only present for a short time during these load-in days, but this is an officially scheduled team activity, so we’ve started including this date on our event schedules here. It’s not a full...

Posted On:
Fri, 08/01/2014 - 12:26

Hayley Lewis is a founding member and former team captain of GET SMART. This was her first year studying Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Hayley was involved in a terrible accident on June 25th, and could use the help of our FIRST family. You can find out more about Hayley through a newspaper article posted on the team’s Facebook page, and if you would like to make a donation, you can do...

Posted On:
Fri, 07/25/2014 - 16:00

Today’s good question comes from Adam Salem, from FRC Team 3419, The Rohawks, out of New York City, New York, USA:


Hi Frank,

My name is Adam Salem and I am a mentor on team 3419.  I read your note about increasing the size of nationals and think it's a terrific idea.  I have a suggestion about how to select some of the additional teams.  One of the awards for engineering the robot (either the Excellence in Engineering Award...

Posted On:
Mon, 07/14/2014 - 16:26

A few of our FRC Staff, including Collin Fultz, will be at the Indiana Robotics Invitational, arguably the premiere off-season event in FRC. As some of you may know from an earlier blog, Collin is transitioning to his new role as FRC Team Advocate. Please see his note below.

One of the best parts of working at FIRST is travelling to various events and regions to learn about the teams in that area. Hearing the passion and ideas that students, mentors, and...

Posted On:
Fri, 07/11/2014 - 16:33

Today’s good question comes from Calvin Panho, from FRC Team 383, The Brazilian Machine, out of Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil:


Hello Mr. Frank,

I'm Calvin Panho, mentor and coach for FRC team #383, The Brazilian Machine, from Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.

First of all, I’m sorry for my English, I'm not the best with English grammar...

My question for you is:

It's possible...

Posted On:
Wed, 07/02/2014 - 08:39

Please see the note below from our 2015 Control System Development Team.

First, we want to thank the more than 200 FRC Teams who applied to be Beta Test Teams for the 2015 Control System. The selected teams are at the bottom of this blog post. Here are the expectations of our Beta Test teams:

      • Act as ambassadors for FIRST and the 2015 Control System
      • Direct concerns...
Posted On:
Tue, 07/01/2014 - 18:20

Oh, sorry, I was typing too fast. A movie Team Appreciate’s robot is in earned $100M over the weekend. Team Appreciate’s cut has not been made public, but let’s just say you can expect to see a substantial increase in their bot bling for the 2015 season.

Their robot from the 2012 season appears in the new Transformers movie*, shooting basketballs. The main character in the film even speaks to it. You can check out more info on Team Appreciate’s Facebook page

Nice work team!


Posted On:
Fri, 06/27/2014 - 07:35

Today’s good question comes from Antonio Papa, from FRC Team 2590, Nemesis, out of Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA:


In previous years MAR and Michigan have always published supplemental rules to define how teams advance in addition to explaining the points structure. This year FIRST has taken over the points structure but hasn't published any supplemental rules. Rules were instead spread out over multiple blog posts or not explained clearly at all. Will FIRST be publishing supplemental rules for Districts next year to clearly...

Posted On:
Wed, 06/25/2014 - 17:58

Event Dates

Check it out:

We’ve just started posting event dates and locations for which we have confirmed information. ‘Confirmed’ means either that FIRST HQ has a signed agreement with the venue, or that District organizers have passed along to us firm information on their events. Please keep in mind that even though we may have signed contracts with the venues, things...

Posted On:
Wed, 06/25/2014 - 09:16


Many of you have probably already heard, but I’m pleased to announce that the state of Indiana will be joining the ranks of our FRC Districts for the 2015 season. This will be our fifth District, along with Michigan, the Mid Atlantic, New England, and the Pacific Northwest. Indiana is the only District we are adding for the 2015 season.

All teams within the state will automatically become part of the District.

With their wonderful volunteer base and their great experience running high-quality off-season events, they are sure to be successful....

Posted On:
Fri, 06/13/2014 - 13:18

Today’s good question comes from Jay O’Donnell, from FRC Team 1058, PVC Pirates, out of Londonderry, New Hampshire, USA:


Hey Frank,

I was part of the New England District this past year and I have to say overall it was a very positive experience. However, the one thing I did not like was the timing between when teams were announced for NE champs and the event, and the timing between teams being invited to world championships and the actual event. I know that there were teams invited to...