At the FIRST champiomships

For a while I’ve been helping out judging for FIRST and I just got into Houston where one of the FIRST championships is being held.

This is the first time here and the numerous fields look ready to handle the crowd. This is one of them

We don’t start interviewing until tomorrow and the teams look strong so I am sure it will be tough. 

Last weekend was the Dallas FIRST Regional

Last weekend was the Dallas FRC regional. There are videos of the competition available on-line. This year’s competition was steampunk based.


I’ve been coordinating judging for the FIRST Robotics competition in Dallas for about 8 years now, so naturally there are a significant number of retired EDS and a few Raytheon folks involved.

FRC allows students to start from a standard kit of parts and some state of the art tools (received at the kickoff in January) to build a robot attempting to meet specified objectives. This video is an overview of this year’s challenge – FIRST Steamworks

The goal of FIRST is to encourage the understanding and passion around STEM. It has a proven track record of results that is hard to argue with. 

I was also drafted to judge the Jr. FIRST Lego League competition on Saturday morning. That competition is targeted at grade school students. At least in the Dallas area this competition was sponsored by Raytheon, among others.


FIRST in STEM – Judging at the Championship

This week is the FIRST Robotics Championship in St. Louis. I am going to be a judge there again this year as part of team Newton. There will be over 600 teams from across the globe in the FRC championship.


FIRST is on a mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders. They have developed into a program with a proven track record of impact on student’s education and career choices, which I’ve been part of for many years.


I’ll try and post some pictures to this blog if I get a chance. If you’d like to watch it online, NASA will have a live webcast.

This video is an overview of this year’s challenge – Recycle Rush:

I’ve found FRC to be an exciting and enlightening experience for the students and the volunteers. Every year I am surprised at the ingenuity and commitment demonstrated by those participating.

The main competition is judged by numerous factors beyond how the robots perform on the field, like:

  • Coopertition (helping others that you are competing against)
  • Project planning
  • Quality/safety
  • Technical achievement
  • Business plan and marketing

The on field performance is not judged, since it has its own rules… Referees determine the winners of that portion of the competition.

You can see video from this year’s North Texas Regional, if you are interested.