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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, 09/09/2014 - 08:38

Taking over the blog today is Hannah Foust, FRC Program Coordinator.  Hannah is responsible for working with UL in setting up the Safety Animation Award, and handles a number of other important tasks too numerous to list.  Please see Hannah's note below.


2015 Safety Animation Award Theme

Here’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for!  [Drumroll]

The 2015 UL Safety Animation Award theme is…  Safety Superheroes! 
We want to see 40 second animations that showcase FIRST inspired safety...

Posted On:
Fri, 09/05/2014 - 14:13

Turns out we are. Organizers are predicting about 150,000 attendees. Several FRC teams from the area will be putting on a demonstration event.

Check it out:

Getting ready for the weekend

A smiling Richard Anderson, FIRST Regional...

Posted On:
Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:12

Youth Protection Program

Has your team started the Youth Protection Program clearance process yet? If not, now would be a good time! As a reminder, you will not be able to register for your first event on September 25th unless both your Main (Lead Mentor 1) and Alternate (Lead Mentor 2) have passed YPP screening. Don’t be left behind! While the screening process normally only...

Posted On:
Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:43

I want to thank the FIRST Marketing folks for helping me remove the spray paint and bumper stickers from the Frank Answers Fridays logo used last time. I’ll just say this – the vandals will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of my imagination.

The first question I answer below was pretty easy, so I decided to do two this week.

Today’s first good question come from Kevin Pardus, a mentor from FRC Team 2890, The Hawk Collective, from Chesapeake, VA, USA:


Posted On:
Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:59

Please see the note below from the FRC Engineering Team:

There are so many community developed tools that FRC teams and fans use throughout the season to keep tabs on their favorite teams and events, way too many to list. Until now, developers of those tools have been forced to scrape webpages or Twitter feeds for the data. This is not the best way for us to make the needed data available to those developers, and we want to change it.

Developing an API to allow developers access to event data is one of our key...

Posted On:
Fri, 08/22/2014 - 11:18

As I said in an earlier blog, we have had a task force working on Championship eligibility for FRC.  The members of this task force are as follows, in no particular order:

  • Jamee Luce – Districts Representative
  • Dennis Hughes – Mentor for Team RUSH, 2014 Chairman’s Award Winner
  • Lane Matheson – 2014 Woodie Flowers Award Winner
  • Naomi Mancuso – ...
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' functionality to print...
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...