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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:
Tue, 02/17/2015 - 15:51

You know what goes great with Stop Build Day?  A little Shakespeare, specifically a little ‘Henry V’.

(A scene from Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V, released in 1989)

The scene is outside the walled town of Harfleur, in France.  King Henry and his troops, from England, are attempting to take the town, and have managed to create an opening, a breach, in the walls, but have...

Posted On:
Fri, 02/13/2015 - 11:03

Today’s post is a look at one of our Crown Suppliers, guest written by Innovation First International.

Did you know that Innovation First International (IFI) was actually born from the FIRST Robotics Competition?  Our founders, Tony Norman (right) and...

Posted On:
Wed, 02/11/2015 - 09:01

As you are winding down your build season – stop build day is coming up soon! - please keep safety in mind. Under the stress and fatigue of these last few build days, it’s even more important to make sure you and your team are staying safe. As we’ve said before, nothing you are doing is worth getting hurt over.

Speaking of safety, now is a good time to announce our Safety Animation Award Winner for 2015! The winner, along with the runners-up, were selected by our Safety Alliance Partner, Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), by a panel of judges that included the CEO of UL, Keith...

Posted On:
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 17:19

Don’t forget that this Thursday, February 12, at Noon Eastern is the deadline for submission for both the Woodie Flowers Award and the Entrepreneurship Award.  Don’t miss your chance to submit!  You can find more details on these two awards in Section 6 of the FRC Admin Manual.

Posted On:
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 10:55

Today’s blog post is from a special guest, Jason Baker, from the FedEx Innovation Challenge Team. 

Every FIRST team has done it. You’ve sat up late at night with your crew, dreaming up THE coolest, most epic game idea ever! If only you had a way to share this idea with the Game Design Committee at FIRST...

Posted On:
Mon, 02/09/2015 - 11:37

As many of you know, with the increase to 600 FRC teams at the FIRST Championship this year, we have outgrown our four traditional fields. For 2015, we’ll have eight fields in the dome, and those additional four fields need names. These new names will be added to our traditional names of Archimedes, Curie, Galileo, and Newton. Each of these eight names will be used to identify a Subdivision for FRC teams at the FIRST Championship. When we transition to the FIRST Championship final matches, in which each Subdvision Winning Alliance will be competing, two...

Posted On:
Tue, 02/03/2015 - 15:01

As I’ve said a few times, the Standard District Points System will be made an official part of the FRC Manual this season, and in future seasons. It will come as a new Section 7 of the FRC Administrative Manual that deals broadly with advancement, not just for Districts, but for Regionals as well, covering such topics as Wild Cards. That new section is under final review. I apologize for the delay. In the meantime, folks are understandably anxious about what the points system will look like for this season, with our move away from Win/Loss/Tie in Recycle Rush, so I want to provide...

Posted On:
Thu, 01/22/2015 - 09:20

In this blog I announced changes to the feedback teams submitting for the Chairman’s Award would receive this season. We have received some feedback about these changes, from individual teams as well as our Hall of Fame teams, expressing concern about the lack of written feedback for teams this year. It’s fair to raise questions about this. Eliminating the written...

Posted On:
Tue, 01/20/2015 - 08:51

Let’s just acknowledge that some of the Game Design Committee’s Q&A answers transcend simple customer service and pass into the realm of high art. Such as with the instant classic that is the response to Q163 submitted by our friends from Team 999, MechaRams, from Cheshire, CT, USA:

The information, factually correct. The economy of language, stunning. And the overall effect,...

Posted On:
Mon, 01/19/2015 - 13:04

Would your team like a chance to be a part of the next book about FRC robots? Have you read or seen the Behind the Design books that cover the 2006 Aim High and 2007 Rack 'N' Roll FRC seasons? Maybe your team has used the previous FIRST books as references. FIRST will be documenting the 2015 competition season with a book titled “FIRST Behind the Design: Modern Design, Manufacturing and Control of Robots.”

The book will address design with six chapters:

  • Computer Aided Design, Simulation and Analysis;
  • Innovative Design using...
Posted On:
Fri, 01/16/2015 - 11:06

As you know, there are fewer restrictions on robot size this year than there have been in the past. The Game Design Committee was able to greatly open up our traditional on-field size restrictions because of the split nature of the game, as robots are not able to cross that center step. In Recycle Rush, if you give your robot a large footprint, you are more likely to get in the way of your fellow alliance members, or...

Posted On:
Fri, 01/09/2015 - 14:27

Shouldn’t FRC Kickoff and the first few weeks of build season come with its own Holiday Special? The GameSense crew thinks so. Me too. 

Tune in to the GameSense Holiday Special* at 9PM Eastern on Tuesday, January 13th at I’ll be on, talking about all things Recycle Rush. Join in the chat, and ask some questions! I had a fantastic time with the GameSense crew on their post-season show last year, I can’t wait to get with them again!


Posted On:
Thu, 01/08/2015 - 14:18

Today’s blog post is from Kate Pilotte, FRC's Kit of Parts Manager.

Liz, from AndyMark, was helpful enough to remind the community not to eat the churros that came in the AM14U drive base kits last year… even if you find them covered in honey and cinnamon. Still sage advice for this year, by the way.

This season, we want to echo a similar sentiment: please don’t eat the (pool) noodles, even if doused in a fresh pesto sauce or part of a savory chicken soup.

Not sure if you picked...

Posted On:
Wed, 01/07/2015 - 10:56

New Behind the Lines Episode Tonight:  The Kit of Parts

Tonight's Behind the Lines episode features FIRST and AndyMark Staff talking about the Kit of Parts. Kate Pilotte (FIRST KOP Manager), Jonathan Bryant (FIRST KOP Engineer), Jerry Budd (FRC Teams 3098 and 5259- and AndyMark FIRST Choice Guru), and Liz Smith (FRC Team 3940 and AndyMark AM14U2 Guru)...

Posted On:
Tue, 01/06/2015 - 15:22

I hope everyone had a wonderful Kickoff! We had a great time here in New Hampshire. At the Founder’s Reception, Dean hosted over 600 of his closest friends at his home. And yes, we probably could have squeezed in a few more. Both of New Hampshire’s US Senators showed up to talk about the importance of FIRST and wish us well. The Founder’s Reception webcast had about 3,800 viewers according to the numbers we have now. I think that webcast is going to be a keeper in future years! Also, our local Kickoff here the next day at Southern New Hampshire University was...