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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, 06/20/2013 - 13:30

In the comments section of yesterday's blog post regarding the new controller for 2015, someone asked to see the reverse of the PCB.  Here you go…


Posted On:
Wed, 06/19/2013 - 13:45

National Instruments_Athena_June2013

NI will be releasing details about the 2015 FRC controller at their NI Week conference in August… but they’re excited about how...

Posted On:
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 10:05

Rookie Registration Cost Reduction

Good news. The rookie FRC team registration fee for the 2014 season will be dropping to $6,000. Veteran registration fee will hold at $5,000. 

The FRC Payment Terms webpage will be updated shortly with 2014 season information.

Adult Mentors as On-Field Coaches

In the Post-Event Survey this year, we asked teams how they felt about adult mentors being allowed to act as on-field coaches, as has been permitted by the rules for many years. I asked for this question to be included in the survey because I have been...

Posted On:
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 12:50

Note that when we answer Frank Answers Friday questions, we’ll be including the full questions as written, with two exceptions.  Several emails we’ve received have included positive comments about the FRC Staff.  These are greatly appreciated, but we’ll be editing those out to allow the focus to be on the questions themselves.  Also, if we received a single email with multiple questions, we’ll extract just the particular question we are answering that day and include that.

This week, we’re answering a question on FIRST Choice, from John Boucher, Team...

Posted On:
Tue, 06/11/2013 - 15:05

U.S. Air Force Offering Leadership Opportunity for FIRST Teachers & Mentors

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Air Force is offering an Air Force Leadership opportunity for a select group of 24 FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition Teachers and Mentors who are helping inspire today’s youth to become the technical leaders of tomorrow. Apply by June 18th to attend this exclusive leadership seminar. For full details:

Posted On:
Fri, 06/07/2013 - 16:55

By far, the most common question I received in the first batch of emails for ‘Frank Answers Friday’ was about Districts. While these aren’t hard questions, I think it’s important for me to deal with them sooner, rather than later, because they are clearly on the minds of many. Also, while I would normally publish the full question that came in, for this particular topic I’m going to just list the folks that asked instead. The questions they asked touched on several aspects of Districts, but had much in common. 

These individuals asked questions about Districts:

Posted On:
Fri, 05/31/2013 - 13:25

From the response we received to this new feature – 25 emails and counting – I think we’re going to have plenty of material to keep us busy over the summer.  Several folks sent in multiple questions on the same email, even though that wasn’t necessarily the intent (I’m looking in your direction, Jon Stratis, and several others o\~/o ), but that’s OK.

As I said, I may not be able to answer a question every Friday, but I’m going to try.

The first question I’ll be answering is from Martin Regimbald, from...

Posted On:
Thu, 05/30/2013 - 17:08

Team 4797 Owlbots

Take a look at the incredible letter and photos I just received from FRC Team 4797, the Bryant High School Owlbots, from Long Island City, New York.

The team’s bus had turned over on the way home from Championship.  No one was seriously injured, fortunately...

Posted On:
Wed, 05/29/2013 - 11:16

We’re going to try something new over the next few months. In the ‘Frank Answers Fridays’ feature, individuals will be able to email me questions about FRC, and I’ll pick one to answer on Friday in the blog. Depending on the number of good questions I get in, and my availability, I may not be answering a question every Friday, but that’s the goal. If this feature proves popular, we’ll keep it for a while. If not, we’ll consider it a lesson learned and shut it down.  Even if this feature is popular over the summer, we may shut it down at some point over the...

Posted On:
Tue, 05/21/2013 - 09:20

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the awful tornado in Oklahoma yesterday.  We have several teams in the area, and our thoughts are with the members of our extended FIRST family as they deal with this terrible tragedy.



Posted On:
Mon, 05/20/2013 - 15:22

The Other Shoe

The Old Shoe

The Old Shoe by George Hodan

Some folks are waiting for the other shoe to drop* from my last blog.  There’s no other shoe.


We have two important FRC...

Posted On:
Thu, 05/16/2013 - 14:01

I’ve seen some posts on Chief Delphi and a few comments in response to some of these blogs themselves in which folks have noted a new openness in communication from FRC.  This change is deliberate.  When I was asked to take on the role of Acting Director over the summer, I was told to not just behave as if I were a caretaker, holding things together for whoever would eventually be named as Director, but to act as if I were the Director – hence the title – working with the FRC Staff and other departments to make changes and try new things where we saw the need. I like...

Posted On:
Wed, 05/15/2013 - 14:31


Self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

FIRST community favorite, Dave Lavery, and his Mars Science Laboratory team recently picked up two prestigious accolades.


Posted On:
Wed, 05/15/2013 - 10:04

Many people are aware there was a scoring error on the Einstein field, but not everyone knows the details.  I’d like to explain what happened and our plans to minimize the chance of this happening again. 

We knew that the automated scoring system in use had a design limitation which could result in disc count errors, so a manual count verification process was put in place at the start of the season to double check counts before scores were finalized. The goals over the driver stations had hinged bottoms to allow easy removal of discs. On Einstein, a field reset...

Posted On:
Fri, 05/10/2013 - 13:35

2013 Championship Pits

I have so much to talk about regarding Championship!  I’m going to break this in to two sections – pros and cons.  These aren’t comprehensive lists, but are more along the lines of what I consider to be highlights.