2014 FIRST Robotics Competition Kick-off @ East Carolina University

January 4th, 2014 On a cold, chilly Saturday morning a group of 33 students, 3 mentors, and 4 parents headed out to East Carolina University for the annual FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Kickoff event. What is FRC? FRC is a team-based competition for high school students where students have to construct a robot to complete a certain challenge, that changes annually, in six weeks. In 2013 the challenge, Ultimate Ascent, was to shoot Frisbees into goals and climb a pyramid. Here is a link to the 2013 challenge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itHNW2OFr4Y For the 2014 season, the challenge is called Aerial Assist. Here is a link to this year’s challenge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxp4dkMQ1Vo Each year, NASA TV broadcasts the challenge to the many kickoff sites located around the country and in Canada, Brazil, and Israel just to name a few. As the broadcast played, the eyes of the team members expressed many emotions from surprise to shock. When the broadcast ended, some of the new members were looking around and whispering eagerly to their neighbors. After a quick lunch, the team headed off to the various events at kickoff: mechanical quick build (building the chassis for the robot), the electrical/programming quick build, and the human player event. The Human Player event is something unique to North Carolina. In this event representatives from the various teams get to play the role of a robot and will go through the game and will also learn the strategies of the game. The human player game was very effective in teaching the rules and gave the team a fairly good idea of what we wanted in our robot. After a long day at ECU the team headed back to the home of one of our mentors to continue team strategy and the design process for the new robot. Although the challenge appears to be daunting, this team can do it! Six weeks may seem like a very short time, but with hard work and dedication a robot that can complete the challenge can be built and be ready to compete against the best robots in the land. Till next time: Go Eagles! #Team4828 (for more information check out the team twitter account at @FRC4828 and look up the team on Facebook).

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