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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:
Fri, 08/16/2013 - 13:13

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out:!


The FIRST logo on the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, driven by Greg Biffle, this Sunday, August 18th during the Pure Michigan 400 Sprint Cup Race.

How cool is that?*

Thank you, 3M!


Posted On:
Thu, 08/15/2013 - 15:13

With the release of our preliminary schedules yesterday, everyone can see we’re officially adding two new Districts to FRC.  Everyone is very excited about getting these new Districts up and running!

The New England District will include all teams in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  If your FRC team is in one of these states, you will automatically be included in this District.


Posted On:
Wed, 08/14/2013 - 17:26

Traditionally, FRC has released all event date and location information after Labor Day in September.  By that point, we usually, but not always, have all event dates and locations locked down.  The downside to this approach is that many teams would like to know these dates much earlier, because of the numerous advantages to be able to start planning event attendance before September.  I’ve seen attempts to predict the FRC schedule from bits of data culled from here and there.  This tells me there is enough interest for us to make a change.

So, starting...

Posted On:
Mon, 08/12/2013 - 12:00

As you may know, AndyMark has been executing FIRST Choice on behalf of FIRST since its inception in 2011. Since then, very small volumes of excess inventory have accumulated. The nature and volume of the selected items are too small to put in Kickoff Kits, distribute via FIRST Choice in 2014, or ship in Spare Parts cases.

Instead of scrapping these materials, we're going to make them available to FRC teams, for free.

Please understand that there isn't...

Posted On:
Fri, 08/09/2013 - 11:34

NI Week

I want to thank our friends and partners National Instruments for being such wonderful hosts to Don Bossi, Kate Pilotte, Kim Weirman and me at NI Week. They are unbelievably wonderful partners and truly ‘get’ FIRST in every corner of the organization. Thank you!


Posted On:
Mon, 08/05/2013 - 10:35


Controller Release at NI Week: ‘Athena’ Showcase

Back in June, I posted about the new...

Posted On:
Fri, 08/02/2013 - 16:20

Today’s good question comes from Billfred Leverette of Team 2815, Los Pollos Locos, from Columbia, SC


Why did we not get to see The Holy Cows' Chairman’s video at Championship?


Thanks for the question, Billfred.

Though I was not part of the decision making process, my understanding is the video was not shown because it was not a good fit with...

Posted On:
Fri, 08/02/2013 - 11:19

Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on the Invite to Decline strategy. Reading through them has helped clarify my thinking, and the sheer volume of comments we received shows this was an important topic.

For anyone who may have been concerned my request for feedback was going to lead to a change in the rules, you can relax. I may occasionally ask for feedback on this blog just to stimulate discussion, and to help my understanding of...

Posted On:
Fri, 07/26/2013 - 17:08

On yesterday's FRC Blog entry discussing our alliance selection procedure, a negative comment was posted that was directed to two specific teams.  Negative comments about specific teams or individuals are not in the intended spirit of this blog, and we should not have allowed them to be posted. I sincerely apologize for that. The comment, and follow-on response, have been deleted.

I want to see honest, vigorous discussion on this blog, but I...

Posted On:
Thu, 07/25/2013 - 15:16

I’ve been thinking about the Invite to Decline (also known as the ‘Scorched Earth’) strategy that teams sometimes employ during alliance selection. 

For those unaware of this strategy, I’ll outline it.  Imagine the alliance selection process at an event is getting started.  The #1 ranked team is interested in preventing some of the other top eight ranked teams from working together, because they could form powerful alliances that would be hard to beat in the elimination rounds.  Our rules state that once a team declines an invitation to join...

Posted On:
Fri, 07/19/2013 - 16:00

Today’s good question is from Kevin Leonard, a student from Team 20 in New York.


Hi, Frank.

I'm Kevin Leonard, a student on Team 20. I was wondering about the former animation competition, why it got scrapped, and if it would ever return.

Let me give you some background on why I, a "mechanical guy", would care about this. Our team, for a few years, has had a history of making...

Posted On:
Fri, 07/12/2013 - 11:26

Today’s question comes from Alex Tannahill, an FRC Volunteer from Michigan:


I find the purpose and correct application of the Q&A cloudy.  I have heard from different sources that it only exists to provide one interpretation of the rules, on the other hand I have heard it exists to clarify any confusing rules and results should be treated as part of the manual.

I have seen Q&A results presented to inspectors been ignored...

Posted On:
Tue, 07/02/2013 - 12:47

We’ve got two exciting full time job openings in FRC that were recently posted, one for a Mechanical Engineer and one for a Software Engineer. You can find the details here: You don’t need to enter any search terms on the web page, just click the ‘Search’ button at the bottom of the ‘Job Listings’ section and you will be able to find them quickly in the list. 

Here’s the overview of the Mechanical Engineer position:

Posted On:
Fri, 06/28/2013 - 10:17

This Frank Answers Fridays feature has been getting positive reviews, which is great.  Unfortunately many of the positive comments have been directed toward me personally, when it was actually one of our fine FRC Staffers, Rose Kue, who suggested the concept, came up with the name, and even worked with the FIRST Marketing department to develop the snappy new banner.  Her suggestion fit so well with our new approach to communication, my answer was an immediate ‘Yes!’.  This is yet another example of the great ideas coming from the FRC Staff.  We’ll work to...

Posted On:
Thu, 06/20/2013 - 16:27

The news was released today that FIRST senior management has decided to update my title to remove the ‘Acting’ part, so now I’m Director of FRC.

I want to thank the incredible FRC staff for their over-the-top support throughout the last year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, and again, FIRST isn’t just a job to them, it’s in their hearts. They’re the best.

I also want to thank the rest of the FIRST staff for all they’ve done in support of the FRC Program and in support of me personally. You may not know them, and may never know them,...