FRC Blog


Jan 03, 2017 Written by Frank Merrick.


Are You Ready for Some FIRST® STEAMWORKS™?

Oh, man. Kickoff. Can you feel it? Like you're in the subway, looking down the tunnel, waiting, and you think you hear a noise, and feel a rumble, and suddenly this magnificent multi-ton metal monstrosity clanks and rattles and thunders into view, stops with its doors at your feet, opens them with a whoosh, and politely invites you to climb aboard with a smiling "and how is your day?". It's like that! Who could say no?  



FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff is this Saturday, January 7th (Yeah, it is! I'm grinning as I'm writing this...) at 10:30 AM Eastern. The pre-show for the broadcast starts at 10:00AM. You can watch it all here. The main portion of the Kickoff broadcast, up through the game reveal animation, will be short and sweet, well under 30 minutes, and will be followed afterward by a live viewing of the actual field. This will then be followed by field tour videos that will give you more detailed information on the field and how it works. We encourage you to watch the field tour videos, and they will be available on our YouTube Channel shortly after Kickoff, so you can watch later if you are so excited about the game after seeing the animation you find it hard to concentrate.

This year we are pleased to announce that we are using a new platform to broadcast the live stream: Twitch, which started with an orientation toward video games but branched out, is now a part of Amazon, and they are providing a good streaming solution for FIRST. We know, though, this is a change, so we want to take steps ahead of time to ensure the success. We encourage you to test your ability to connect to from your anticipated viewing location by using the Kickoff link above. A constant loop of video will be running until Kickoff through our Twitch channel, and embedded at the Kickoff link, with occasional breaks for internal testing. Kickoff Coordinators were made aware of this change earlier, and have been encouraged to test their streaming connection for official Kickoff locations.


Founder's Reception

If you want a little appetizer the night before the main course, check out the broadcast from Founder's Reception, starting at 6:30PM Eastern on Friday, January 6th. Interviews with guests start at 7:00PM. Founder's Reception, hosted by Dean every year at his home, is a celebration of Mentors and all they do! Join us for the fun, and get a sense for what it's like to be there! You can see the broadcast for Founder's Reception at the same link above that will be used for Kickoff.  


These Teams are Ready!

Check out this totally sweet FIRST STEAMWORKS build space sign created by sibling FIRST Robotics Competition Teams 3275, the Regulators, and 3134, the Accelerators , both from Cass Lake-Bena High School in Cass Lake, Minnesota, USA. This 1/8" steel design was plasma cut using a CNC machine.

FIRST Steamworks logo Team 3134 3275 CNC Creation

Great work, teams!





In switching to Twitch, has there been any consideration given to the many teams that host kickoffs at their schools? Many many schools block Twitch, and it will be quite difficult to impossible for those teams to watch the live kickoff. This compared to broadcasting it through NASA which is rarely blocked or YouTube which is also often blocked less. Or better yet, display it live on multiple channels so that teams have the best chance of viewing it.

HI Zachary.  Yes, the school situation was considered.  Kickoff Coordinators were actually sent the link to begin testing broadcast access on December 1st.  The great majority have reported back that they are all set.  Usually it just takes a request to a school's IT department to unblock access to particular sites for specific purposes.  In emergency situations, if someone has cell phone access and can create a wifi hotspot, the broadcast could be accessed on a laptop that way. 

Considered and ignored.  Many students watch at their school and not at a regional kickoff.  Team contacts could have been given a little bit more warning to get their IT departments' assistance.

And mentors and students give a lot, I guess now I'll be giving my monthly data plan to the team so we can watch the webcast.

Your blog sent shivers down my spine... great inspiration!

In past years our west coast team has come in at 8:30 and watched a rerun hosted on Youtube (?).  Is there going to be a repeat of the TWITCH stream hosted somewhere?

Hi David!

Yes! You can find the Kickoff Video on the FRC YouTube channel! Here is a link.


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