FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Kickoff and… Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Jan 11, 2016 Written by Frank Merrick


I can tell you that the atmosphere on Saturday at the ‘Mother of all Kickoffs’ in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA was electric. And at the end of game reveal, there were cheers and applause all around. I think I may have even heard a few Champagne corks being popped, though that seemed to be coming from the corner of the bleachers where the FRC Staff was sitting.

From the reaction I’ve seen in the community so far, we may have a winner!

Field Reset

It’s actually not going to be that bad, I think. Though this will be one of the most physically demanding field resets we’ve had, the defenses are actually all on casters and drop into the defense bases through a cleverly designed system our Mechanical Engineering team, led by Derek Foster, developed. There will be lots of activity on the field between matches, with robots coming on and going off, and defenses changing. However, we have the brightest, hardest working, most capable volunteers anywhere, and I’ve never seen them presented with a challenge they couldn’t find their way over, under, around or through. Look at it this way – even the field reset for FIRST STRONGHOLD is going to be exciting. (Haters: Please keep your comments about the field reset for FIRST STRONGHOLD being more exciting than the actual matches in RECYCLE RUSH to yourselves.)


The game pieces for FIRST STRONGHOLD are more expensive than we would have liked. We couldn’t find less expensive alternatives that had all the characteristics we were looking for, like being foam (so we didn’t need to worry about inflation levels or popped pieces), having some level of durability (though spinning shooters will put them to the test), being the right size, and, very importantly, being low bounce (to minimize the chance of boulders bouncing somewhere you really don’t want them to go). Hopefully, you won’t need as many of them as you did for a game like Rebound Rumble, in which you could carry several game pieces without penalty.

Knight Surprise

I just had to share this. Some of the FRC Staff put a prop Knight in Armor in my office over the weekend without me knowing about it, then set up a smartphone to record my reaction when I walked in this morning.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, for me) there’s no audio. I made a noise that sounded like ‘GHU!’ when I saw it, then started laughing really hard.

BTW, the object I put down on my desk is an egg, ham, and cheese burrito. It’s a breakfast item, not a game hint for 2017. (Too soon?)


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Your body language was priceless. The only way this could have been better is if they had rigged a camera inside the helmet so we could have seen you head-on.

I'm particularly pleased about your choice in breakfast options.

How did you get Marlins Man in there? Did he approach you or the other way around?

The Marlins Man was played by our own Toby Clarke, FIRST Robotics Competition Program Manager.

Ah, so it wasn't Marlins Man:

Thanks for clearing that up.

The question is in the subject. My guestimate was that some of them weigh 60 pounds or more.

Are there any tools that allow a reset person to pick up the lowest ones without reaching down to the floor to pick them up?


We are currently planning having available some type of hook that would reduce the amount of bending involved.

Frank, can Egg-Ham-Cheese burritos please replace the corndogs at championships? Or perhaps be added alongside them as the FIRST Choice breakfast of choice?

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