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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, 02/26/2014 - 17:35

Hope everyone is excited as I am about the first official FRC events of the 2014 Season, starting tomorrow!

Trucks with all the equipment are in place, or on the way, and the handful of robots that are being shipped to events have arrived safely at their drayage locations. In several cases, fields are already going up!

This week, I’ll be attending the Granite State District Event, in Nashua, NH. I like to stay close to Headquarters for Week 1 just in case we find any unexpected issues that need in-person review and discussion. We don’t anticipate any issues, but the...

Posted On:
Wed, 02/19/2014 - 16:43

Remember to Celebrate

You’ve got your robot, or some portion of it, in the bag.  Or, if your school was closed yesterday, you will shortly.  You may still have some programming to do, and more work on the 45 pounds of fabricated items you can bring to your events, and more driving with your practice robot if you have one, but now is a good time to take a breather and celebrate.  Bake a cake, or fry up some bacon (or both) and have a few minutes of just being together as a team without worrying about looming deadlines.  You may not have accomplished...

Posted On:
Tue, 02/18/2014 - 10:58

Stop Build Day

I don’t know about you, but when I think ‘Stop Build Day’, I think Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’.

Here’s the scene. King Henry of England is preparing for what will come to be known as the Battle of Agincourt against the French, in which his army is outnumbered five to one. He rallies his troops with a rousing speech, part of which goes like this:

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember, with advantages,

What feats he did that...

Posted On:
Wed, 02/12/2014 - 13:37

Weather and Safety

Wow, what a build season it’s been for storms in the United States. The Southeast is getting pummeled again today, and  the online Snow Day Calculator (I don’t know how accurate it is, but it can be fun regardless) is saying Manchester, NH schools – and I’m sure many others in the Northeast - may be in for an early release tomorrow, or even closed.

Whether or not your team is being affected directly by these storms, you’re almost...

Posted On:
Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:50

Innovative Failures?

Check out this video from the folks at the Robot in 3 Days project. Even the best engineers have failures – but they use those failures as springboards. Sometimes that step back is just what’s needed to make a bigger jump.

FRC Alumna in the News

Jennie Lamere, an Alumna from FRC Team 811, The Cardinals, has been nominated for a prestigious international web award. In a field of ten, she’s the only woman nominated, and the only person from the United...

Posted On:
Wed, 02/05/2014 - 17:41

Many teams have had their build season plans significantly affected by the extreme weather much of the United States has experienced over the last several weeks. We will not be extending build season because of these events. Stop Build Day is still Tuesday, February 18th

However, to provide teams with greater flexibility in finding a way to meet their objectives in spite of weather-related setbacks, we will be increasing the weight limit referenced in R18, sometimes casually referred to as the ‘Withholding Allowance’, to 45 pounds. This increase will apply...

Posted On:
Fri, 01/31/2014 - 15:06

FIRST Future Innovator Award sponsored by the Abbott Fund 

Submissions for this award are now open here. New this year – the winner gets to meet with Dean! To find out more about this award, visit hereWe know the FIRST community is innovative, let’s see what you’ve got. The last day for submissions is March 6th.

Media & Technology Innovation...

Posted On:
Mon, 01/27/2014 - 14:17

As many of you know, we’re planning to schedule 10 matches for each FRC team at the 2014 FIRST Championship. To do this, we need to extend the qualification match time available.

To support extended match time, we need to make some changes to our traditional agenda. The changes below are preliminary, but are likely to be very close to the final changes we make, and are firm enough for you to incorporate in your initial planning:

    • Pits will open at 3PM for load-in on Wednesday, April 23
    • From 3PM-5PM, only 5 representatives from each team...
Posted On:
Wed, 01/22/2014 - 18:00

Yesterday, Andrew Boldt, a senior studying Electrical Engineering at Purdue University, and former member of FRC Team 1732, the Hilltoppers, was fatally shot.

Jean Morrell, Drew’s high school calculus teacher, had this to say about him:

“Andrew Boldt was a young man who had the potential to make the world a better place. He was a phenomenal young man. He had a great mind, but he also had a great heart. I'm just sad he won't get an opportunity to realize his dreams, to make his contribution to the world."

Our hearts go out to Drew’s family, friends, and team....

Posted On:
Mon, 01/20/2014 - 10:40

Gracious Professionalism

Gracious Professionalism is at the core of FIRST. It’s central to our very identity. It’s the element of FIRST that clearly states ‘Character’ is what matters, in FIRST and in life. Please see the important message below from Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and Co-Founder:


Posted On:
Fri, 01/17/2014 - 11:21

Safety, Safety, Safety

With the build season in full swing, it’s a great time to remind everyone of the importance of staying safe. Nothing you are doing is worth getting hurt for! Safety should be a regular topic with your team. Talk about it, practice it, and help others stay safe as well.

Speaking about helping others stay safe, I’m very happy to announce the winners of the 2014 Safety Animation Award, judged by our Safety Alliance Partner, Underwriter’s Laboratories.

Team  3324, The Metrobots, from Columbus, Ohio, USA, took 1st Place...

Posted On:
Fri, 01/10/2014 - 17:23


I hope everyone had fun at Kickoff and is hard at work on Aerial Assist.  For the most part, Kickoff went great!  We kept the heart of the broadcast to 30 minutes and added a closed captioned option on the web (thanks, NASA!) for those preferring it.  Between the kickoff broadcast and the supplemental videos, the staff wore over 100 team shirts, and the feedback we received on this new element was very positive.   We’re planning to do this again next year!  

Here in New Hampshire, team mentors braving the cold – including...

Posted On:
Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:16

From the KOP Team, Kate and Collin:

The treacherous weather in the Midwest has stopped our three major logistics partners in the area: FedEx, AndyMark, and Bona Vista Industries (coldest temperatures in 20 years and terrible driving conditions). We are unsure of when they’ll be reopening.  

The effect on FIRST is that we are unable to get anything out of Kokomo, IN, specifically: replacement parts, remaining MySite Kickoff Kit shipments, and FIRST Choice shipments.

Posted On:
Fri, 01/03/2014 - 12:30

3D Printer Update

We talked about contingency plans for remaining inventory in our 3D printer distribution effort in our original 3D Printing Blog post. Since then, about ½ of the inventory has been consumed, which means we have more printers to get to you! There are approximately 240 Cubes still available. To help that, we’re going to reduce the credit cost for these printers from 600 to 300 credits. This will be implemented between now and...

Posted On:
Thu, 01/02/2014 - 15:04

With Kickoff only a few days away, we’re going post a good deal of information and documentation to help you hit the ground running. We recommend you download everything you need ahead of time to 1) beat the rush and help us even out the load on servers and 2) have what you need ready to go on Saturday when/where you may not have internet access.

Below is a quick summary of what will be available, when it will be available, where you can get it, and how it will be shared. All files will be posted unencrypted immediately following Kickoff.

In order to be sure that you...