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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:
Mon, 04/21/2014 - 17:17

No Bag and Tag Inspection at Championship

We haven't often found major issues with Bag and Tag at Championship, and this year we've had to squeeze inspection to make sure we can fit in all those rounds, so we've decided to eliminate the Bag and Tag inspection requirement. As soon as you uncrate, you can unbag your robots, no need to wait for an inspector. This information was in an email blast that went out to all Championship teams today.

Awards at Divisions

To make sure we end Division activities on time, so we can get a full hour of...

Posted On:
Fri, 04/18/2014 - 16:19

How We Assigned Teams to Divisions

Wondering how we assigned teams to FIRST Championship Divisions this year? First, we assigned Rookies, taking all Rookies signed up for Championship and putting them team by team sequentially in Divisions - one team in Division 1, one team in Division 2, one team in Division 3, one team in Division 4, then back to Division 1 again -  in the order in which they registered for CMP, until we ran out of Rookies. This made sure no Division was over- or under-weighted with these least experienced of all FRC teams. Then, we took...

Posted On:
Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:03

We want to make sure everyone attending the FIRST Championship has a safe and enjoyable experience. We’ve made a few changes to entry and seating we think will help improve things this year.

One Additional Entrance Open

Both Entry A and Entry B at the Edward Jones Dome will be open for arriving teams. Entry A we used last year, and is at the southwest corner of the dome at Convention Plaza and Broadway. Entry B is located at the southeast corner of the dome at Convention Plaza & 7th St. See the map here: ...

Posted On:
Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:26

At the Orlando Regional, the number one ranked alliance was retroactively disqualified for two matches because of a failure to be re-inspected after a modification had been made to one of their robots, the robot of Team 1902, Exploding Bacon. I received a phone call from the field on this incident before the disqualification was announced, and supported the recommendation of the disqualification based on the information I had available at the time. 

I received detailed reports from volunteers at the event within a few days after the incident, reinforcing my...

Posted On:
Tue, 04/15/2014 - 15:19

I'm pleased to present a guest blog from FedEx, a FIRST Strategic Partner and Crown Supplier to FRC:

Scott Evans, FLL Engineer, and David Nelson from FedEx

My name is David Nelson and I’m a Packaging Project Engineer with FedEx TechConnect in Collierville, TN. In the FedEx Packaging Design and Development department, we...

Posted On:
Tue, 04/08/2014 - 09:28

Over the weekend, I made a bad call. I was contacted by the field at the Silicon Valley Regional about Team 1323, MadTown Robotics, regarding a backup coupon they had turned in during the Semi Finals. My understanding at the time was that 1323 had called for a backup team for themselves, but had repaired their robot later and still wanted to participate in the match. I told the field this should not be allowed, as requesting a backup team, like requesting a timeout, is a strategic decision that a team must make, and there is no provision in the rules for allowing a team to change...

Posted On:
Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:40

How We’re Doing

With much of the regular competition season behind us, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the feedback we’ve received from teams. A link to a team survey is emailed to the main and alternate contacts for every team competing in a given week. These contacts are encouraged to forward the survey everyone from their team who participated in that week’s event, so we get responses from students as well as mentors. One of the questions in the survey, Question 13, asks how teams would rate the overall quality of the 2014 Aerial Assist game....

Posted On:
Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:28


If you take a look at the schedule for this weekend, you'll see we've got 20 FRC events on tap. That's a lot of inspiration, and a new record!


Many FRC teams have already earned their way to the FIRST® Championship in April through their performance at events, and a high percentage of teams have accepted those slots when offered. Just a reminder that we expect very few waitlist slots to be available. The number available may be just a couple, or even zero.


Posted On:
Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:17

In this week’s Team Update, you’ll be seeing some additional changes we’re making for the FIRST Championship.

The two significant changes we wanted to make from an FRC perspective with respect to the FIRST Championship was to get all teams 10 qualification matches and to make the closing ceremonies shorter while still maintaining the excitement and impact of the Championship overall. We’ve already blogged about the schedule changes we’re making to get teams their 10 matches. Today, we’re announcing changes to awards and timeout rules to help keep us on track...

Posted On:
Fri, 03/21/2014 - 12:36

FMS Progress

We have investigated the issue of the hot goal lights not turning on when expected during Auto, understand why it’s happening, and implemented a code change very likely to reduce occurrences in Week 4.  Testing went very well here at FIRST® HQ on this fix.  We will continue to look for reports in the field of this happening, and take additional steps if necessary.  We also corrected an issue in which the Head Ref was not able to call for an additional dead ball for an alliance in the unusual situation of a ball from an opposing...

Posted On:
Fri, 03/14/2014 - 19:02

Check out this article from EE Times

The STEM Impact Award, sponsored by EE Times and EDN, “celebrates an individual or company that demonstrates a commitment to engaging young people and inspiring them to become science and technology leaders.” Say, some of that sounds familiar! And check it out – of the 6 finalists, 5 of them support FIRST in one way or another, with FIRST getting...

Posted On:
Thu, 03/13/2014 - 08:38

First, I’d like to clear something up. Last week I blogged about an alliance calling a timeout to give their opposing alliance a chance to make repairs.

I’ve received a few emails since then indicating some folks think this was a violation of T19, which prohibits the transfer of timeouts between alliances.

This was not a violation of T19. The red alliance did not hand their timeout coupon to the blue alliance for them to use. The red...

Posted On:
Thu, 03/06/2014 - 16:43

I read a great story on Chief Delphi a few days ago.

At the Auburn Mountainview District event last weekend, Teams 2557, SOTABots, 3393, Horns of Havoc, and 4772, Optimistic Skyz were partnered on the red alliance in the final matches. The matches were tied, one win each for red and blue. With the final, deciding match coming up, these teams saw that the blue alliance needed more time to be prepared. At that point they did something remarkable – they called a time out. To be clear, they used their own time out to give their opponents the time they needed to be ready for the...

Posted On:
Wed, 03/05/2014 - 14:30

Week 1 Review


I attended the Granite State District event in Nashua, NH, over the weekend. What a wonderful, high energy event! We were in a High School gym, and while it was smaller scale than we’ve been used to with our New England events, there’s something about having the stands full and the spectators ‘right there’, close to the field, that drove the energy. We also had a NH Senator, a NH Congresswoman, and Dean himself show up to speak, which made things even more special. 

Once we got in the swing of things, with...

Posted On:
Thu, 02/27/2014 - 09:13

FIRST Needs Your Stories!

From Blair Hundertmark, MC Extraordinaire and so much more:

We’re looking for stories from across the FIRST community to share and highlight at the Championship, and we need your help.

Not every great story trickles back to FIRST HQ, so we need you “in the field” who work directly with the Teams to be our conduit. 

Specifically, we’re seeking knockout stories of FIRST impact; the goose bump kind of a...