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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...

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...

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...