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FIRST Robotics Competition
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>> In science fiction, they are often cast as the enemy. Here, a team survival lies in the balance. A competition, team America's brightest young minds, with cutting edge technology. Robots are built to withstand virtually anything. Humans are not. In this arena, minor malfunctions can lead to major heart breaks. This is not science fiction. This is not man versus machine. [APPLAUSE]>> And now, please welcome founder, chairman of Boston Scientific corporation, Mr. John Abele. >> Greetings from Manchester, New Hampshire, and welcome to the 14th FIRST Robotics Competition kick-off. There are 31 sites connected to us today. You can see them in the sign there, everything from Alaska to Israel, from Toronto to Brazil. This is truly an international, as well as a national competition. We welcome the 183 working teams, and the 18 -- 1807 veteran teams, 1800 next year. We have added four new regionals this year, which brings the total to 30. And finally, of course, the championship in Atlanta. We are grateful to NASA for enabling this broadcast to all of you, and being able to get all this information to you at the same is just an incredible privilege. Thank you to NASA. We also want to thank the suppliers and the supporters who have made this possible, the extraordinary collaboration that makes FIRST one is the strongest assets we have, and thank you also to the volunteers and board members all around the country now, many of the board members are actually in the regional sites working with those programs. Before we proceed any further, I want to take a second simply to express our heartfelt concern to the victims of the tsunami in southeast Asia. It is hopeful that some day the knowledge that you get out of this experience will contribute to solving these problems, whether it's alerting the people of the tsunami in the first place, or providing clean water, and so forth. Our heartfelt concern goes out to them. A reminder, the FIRST competition is more than robots. It's about people, it's about learning to work together, it's working together toward a shared goal, doing teamwork, it's about finding and using each individual's unique talent to make the project team greater than the sum of its parts. It's about applying skills that will lead to success in whatever you do in life. In keeping with those values, FIRST highest awards are not about machines. It is about people. The ultimate FIRST prize is the Chairman's Award. And it goes to the team that best exemplifies that partnership. Teams that have won the Chairman's Award are our role models. They are the role models for transforming culture into one that honors science and technology and people. To celebrate the success of Chairman's Awards teams, we have inducted them into the FIRST Hall of Fame. Nine teams have earned the right to be inducted. As opposed to other Hall of Fames, those remain active in the cause and serve as examples for others to follow. We have now the list of the Hall of Famers on your screen. And we are honored to have representatives from two of those teams here in Manchester today. From Los Angeles, the 2001 Chairman's Award winner, team 22, High Tech High, Los Angeles, and Chatsworth High School, Aron Haas and Michael Puente, and also from Connecticut, the 2002 Chairman's Award winner team 175, Buzz Team 175, Buzz Robotics, United Technology, students are Gary St. Amant and Haralambos Zaharis. Thank you folks for coming here and acting as examples for all of us. And now what you have all been waiting for, or at least a hint at it. Let's take a brief look at some of the game elements which you will learn more about in the coming minutes. The shape that's been chosen is the polyhedron of four faces, a tetrahedron. From the side you can see it's a triangle which is the Red symbol in the first logo. The first time, I believe, Dean, that we have introduced this triangle. About time. The shape is really lightweight, and yet it's really strong. It's pretty interesting what one can do with a shape like this. We'll find out more about how essential these pieces are to this year's FIRST game as we move along. FIRST has worked very hard to make sure that this field and these pieces are inexpensive and easy to assemble. >> Look at how easy it is to build a tetra. Starts off with a piece of PVC end cap you put a hole in it. There are some specially designed things, it fits in the hole, then the PVC end cap, twist twist twist, we have the start of the PV -- PVC tetra end piece. Fully assembled, they go onto the PVC pipe. Get them in there nice and good, take that and stretch it on out. Now we just need to repeat the process four more times. Put it in, get it nice and tight, test >> Power of technology can change lives for people with disabilities. It was the combined work of prestigious organizations, including PBS and the Sundance Institute. At the same time, 6,000 FIRST FIRST LEGO League from 20 countries around the globe learned the power of the message through the 2004 FIRST LEGO League Challenge No Limits. Designed real world challenges each year for kids 9-13. This year they built and performed robots to perform activities of daily living many people take for granted, bringing a tray of food to a table, playing a sport, moving and retrieving objects, climbing stairs. All of these tasks can pose special challenges for people with physical disabilities. As part of the No Limits challenge, they had to use assistive technology and demonstrate how it can make a difference for individuals with physical limitations within their communities. Teams made formal presentation with their design through a panel of judges. Some of the creative ideas are being considered for implementation, and a few even for patents. Teams solving problems, and inspiring change. [APPLAUSE] >> Next year the challenge is ocean odessy. Science and technology to better understand the world's oceans, importance of enhancing such understanding has been underlined in a very tragic manner by the terrible loss with the tsunami in the ocean. We appreciate how many teams are mentoring other teams, and taking on the task of organizing an FLL event. Speaking of mentors, send our thanks to extraordinary mentors and teachers who make FRC what it is. We realize how much work is involved in supporting an FRC team, and it can be an especially big job for teachers, most of whom are already way too busy. We know there is more to FRC than building a robot. It is a very much a complex exercise in project management which entails a lot of work that doesn't really require a technical or engineering background. There are many examples of FIRST parents, alumni and others, don't have a technical background but are helping with the technical roles. This can greatly ease the roles of the teachers and mentors. I encourage teams to share in this way. Please join the NEMO forum following the instructions on the FIRST website. It stands for Non-engineering Mentor Organization it's from people from FIRST. NEMO can show you the way. Participation gives students access to a growing list of scholarships currently valued at about $5 million. We are grateful for the generosity of the schools and sponsors who make these scholarships available. This year close to 65 of the top Universities in the U.S. and Canada are part of the program. A growing number of scholarships are sponsored by a corporation such as Raytheon Company and Mercedes Benz. Also ASME, and Society Of Women Engineers. Consult the website for the current information. Now let's go back to this year's game. John introduced you to the larger tetras, and now the smaller ones will play an important role in this year's game. You'll learn more about that later on, but let me show you how we add elements, one on top of the other, which is often the case in FIRST programs. More about that later. [APPLAUSE] >> Now please welcome the FIRST founder. >> Greetings, thank you. So everything is changing this year, our format's changing and the real boss, Kate Stauss told me you don't thank everybody, other people doing that, you don't ex mriepb the game, other people do that, you have to get up and do two things. Explain why we are always changing innovation, and maybe say a few things about what doesn't change. So why do we change the game every year? Because FIRST is a microcasm of life, we show kids what the real world is like, what the opportunities are like. In the real world everything changes, whether we like it or not. The tsunami changed a lot of things for a lot of people. They couldn't plan it. FIRST is about giving you the tools to deal with change. It's about giving you the tools to guide the change. To make a world where we help determine the results. We would have no choice, by the way, to the veterans. We have to change. We couldn't keep them if the rookie here and you are excited, it's the first time, next year you won't be a rookie, you'll be looking for growth, opportunities, now challenges. So, I'm not here to apologize in any way for the fact that the game changes every year, quite the contrary. But I do want to start by recognizing that over the years let's be brutally honest, we are, we are building two polarized camps, sometimes I think they are armed camps. In one extreme the returning veterans, some now have played for more than a decade. We need more sensors, we need higher power, we need a bigger challenge, we need software, we need autonomous node, we need feedback. We have rookies. How can we possibly do this in six weeks? We need some support. And every year this little train we put on the track 14 years ago is moving faster and faster and faster. And it's unquestionably a lot harder to jump on a train after it's moving than if you got there when it started. How do we deal with that? It's really hard. This year we not only changed the game again because it's about creativity and problem-solving, not optimizing one solution year after year like in most sports, we have even changed really dramatically the kit, to try to deal with the issues that are inevitable due to our growth, due to the huge dichotomy that exists between people that have played for 14 years, are and people that are here for the first time. And, for instance, why couldn't we make a kit that allows a rookie to "keep the wheels on a little easier" and worry about other problems. At the same time we give some of the people that have played many years the opportunity to get more sensors and use more technology. In a few minutes we are going to show you that I think we have done that. Woodie, Dave, others have worked really, really hard this year to try to give this huge, very, very broad dichotomy and everybody in between the opportunity to play at any level and succeed. Everybody, I think, will see this year that you are going to get out there and you are going to build a machine that you'll be proud of, and the number of opportunities to push the limits and reach new challenges are way larger than they ever were. There are certain things about FIRST, however, that I don't think have ever changed. To those of you that have heard me say this all before, consider it a booster shot. To those of you that are new, I think it's important to remember that while the game looks bigger, maybe more intimidating, it's changing, the purpose of FIRST couldn't be more the same and more focussed. You heard John Abele say we are not about building robots. From the very first year to me the robot, no pun intended, was just a vehicle. What we are really building is relationships between young people and serious adults that in many cases wouldn't exist without a vehicle like this. We have a culture that celebrates incessantly certain kinds of role models. You can't look around this room and not see how we feel about athletes. You can't turn on television and not see how we feel about the world of entertainment. Where do young people learn about the possibilities to participate in solving the world's problems, in creating meaningful careers, where do they learn what they can really do, what's really accessible to people that work hard at trying to understand important problems and trying to understand how to develop the tools to solve those problems? FIRST is about giving kids an opportunity to make informed decisions about what they are going to do with their lives. To those rookies that think well, you know, it's -- you can't do it for me, Dean, with that story about make the kits better. It's still unfair to us. We are coming in late. FIRST is about showing you that even that is a real, real microcasm of the world. You can come into our program a little late and catch up. In the real world, what if you get to 17 or 18 and you have spent your life dreaming about Hollywood or the MBA? That train is really moving, the train of your career opportunities is really moving. What if you try to jump on that one as a rookie, with no skills, no technical understanding of the world around you. How are you going to be an informed citizen, or a responsible adult? The world isn't about entertainment and pastimes. The world, look at it, I've said it for 14 years. I think the world is in a race between education and catastrophe. Lately we have seen a few of the catastrophes winning. The next generation on this planet is going to be dealing with the most intricate complex set of issues and fragile technologies. If we understand them and use them right, technologies could be sweeping through Sri Lanka now bringing back power and water and health and happiness and stability and quality of life. With six or seven billion people on the planet when the young people that are doing this take over, if most of them are not capable of dealing with technology, understanding it, advancing it, we probably won't be bringing quality of life and stability and security and happiness. The world will be going the other way. I think FIRST is a really, really good model for you to think about the world and if you are one of those rookies getting in now, think of it as a wake-up call. It's a fun way to get on the train. If you are a returning veteran, you have to help all the rookies. And let's not argue about whether the game is one or the other. If it's done right, this game can represent opportunity for everybody. In fact, I would -- I would urge every mentor, typically I don't have the students listening when I talk to them at a kick-off, but I guess the students ought to hear the same message. I would urge the mentors to try to remember as often as possible, it doesn't mean a damn thing whether your robot wins or loses. They are, and will always be just a vehicle. Gracious professionalism is our theme, it hasn't changed in 14 years. Celebrating what's important hasn't changed and won't change. The idea that at the end of the season some of the robots will break. Some of them will lose. That's okay. That's actually a good thing. It makes the game exciting. But by the end of the season, everybody that's participated in FIRST should be a winner, everybody. Every kid that participates should at least understand a new set of options, should look at the world in a slightly different way. Every mentor should come away charged up that they have done something important that will help change the course of our culture. We now are getting to a scale where we will start to see the impact of FIRST changing our culture. And we ought to make sure we are changing it in a positive way. We should make sure that in the end, three or four or five years from today you might not remember which robot won and which robot lost. But we are all going to remember something about this event that made an important positive difference in how people act, how they treat each other, how they make choices, where they devote their time and their effort and their energy, to meaningful things. They certainly won't give me the time to go through the litany of reasons I think FIRST is so special. I'm hoping that the veterans out there that have heard me year after year will remember that there are, with our extraordinary growth there are a lot of people, mentors included, engineers, parents, teachers, and mostly kids, even on the returning teams, there are new waves of kids that need to continually be reminded what we're really doing here. And at the end of the season, I would tell you that everybody wants to win. I think again John Abele said it best when he said we are about building communities, not robots, when he said it's about the Chairman's Award, the Founder'S Award, the criteria for winning that never changes. It's very stable. We want by the end of the season everybody to think that their efforts to win the Chairman's Award, the efforts to help and change the community are what we came together to do. We used the came as a focal point. We use it in a lot of superficial ways, frankly, to our bigger mission. If we do that, in the end all the kids will be winners, all the mentors I think will be winners. Our country will be winners. And this may sound like too long a vision out there, but five, ten, 15 years from today, as we face more and more critical global crisis, we'll know we helped prepare for it if we all act the way first has consistently now for 14 years has celebrated. We have a video, I'm supposed to put a little bit more substance to the game this year. And in particular, over the years, as we have made this game more sophisticated, it got a little too complex. This year I really think you are going to see and the two things I'm going to show you now you'll see in a video. We have raised the sophistication rather significantly, but I hope have lowered the complexity of being able to get out there quickly with a chassis that can work, with transmissions that will work, and if we, if we, well, you'll see it in the video. Again, it's hard for me to try to speak to so many different people, so many different messages and keep this thing going. I will just beg, is not a strong enough word for me, I will beg all the participants, particularly our mentors, to spend the next six or eight weeks remembering what's important, and remembering that we are trying to set a standard of professionalism for kids that is unique in the world. And, and in the process, have some fun. So, thank you for remembering that, thank you for being part of FIRST. I know it's a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of energy done almost entirely by volunteers, 6,000 FIRST FIRST LEGO League teams, 30 cities and 1,000 FRC teams, and a staff of 20 some odd people here in Manchester. It's extraordinary. So, thank you all for doing this. I hope you really all enjoy it. And although again, we are giving you lots of so phisticated stuff this year, you should be thanking Woodie and Dave and all the people that really worked extra hard this year to broaden the offering in this kit so that everybody everywhere should have really exciting time and a way to win. Can we look at that video now? >> New for this year is a gear box designed specifically for FIRST, allows multiple different motors to be attached to it and gives you a simple, easy to assemble gear train. First part is going to be assemble your motors, three nylon washers on the end of the shaft as the spacers. Next you'll need two millimeter key, assembled in the key slot of the motor. Next we will come to the gear that's going to go on the motor. The -- see, if the set screw is too long it will bind in the gear box. Remove that. Next slide the gear onto the motor with the gear portion towards the motor. Then you want to take a 10/32nd and the Allen screw, put a dab of lock-tight on it, grab the Allen wrench and carefully put that into the gear. Next grab the little spring retainer, place the retainer on the end of the shaft. A socket, 7/16ths, 3/8ths drive works well to align to tap it on there with. Next you want to assemble the motors to the cover plate. Take, set the cover plate on over the motor, grab your screws, apply lock-tight to the thread, grab the 5/32nd Allen wrench, snug that up. Once that's snug, install the other screw here, then take the other motor and install it to this hole in the same manner. Now both motors are attached to the cover plate. Take the bearing, install it up into this hole. Set this on down, grab this shaft, this washer, noting that there is a step in this shaft, slide the washer up over that step, install it into the bearing. Next, take a larger gear, one thing to note on this, you have a raised collar on one side of this gear. That's to ride against your bearing race later on, make sure that is facing outward. Slide that on over. Next, go to the other shaft, grab the shaft, same thing on this gear, you have a raised collar, have that facing the output side. Slide it over your hex. Slide your flat washer. Your bronze bushing. Your bearing. Take that assembly, tip this up. And slide this right into here. Slide your box cover over. And there we go. Now we have to install the screws. Installing the last screw. Once that one is in, then we'll go ahead and tighten them all up. Next we want to install our chain sprocket. It's going to involve a specially made collar, slide it on over your shaft, shake the shaft key, take the sprocket, slide it all the way up. Grab the washer and your screw, put lock-tight on the screw, we have the lock-tight, take the 8 millimeter wrench, snug that up. Next part you want to do is put your face plate on, put the plate in place, and now the gear box assembly is complete, and there are no parts left over and we are ready to move on to the next portion. [APPLAUSE] >> Take the wheel, take the hubs and put them on each side. The wheels you'll need to press in a bearing which we have already done here. Once we have the hub in there, we are going to take a pair of screws with our sprocket. We'll use these for an alignment. Put them in the holes. Get it aligned and then start driving them in with the Allen wrench. And then one completed drive wheel. We are going to put the wheel aside for now. And then we are going to focus on building the chassis. The chassis you can make a long chassis or wide chassis. What we are going to do is one that is actually long and fairly narrow. So, we'll take the end pieces, put them in the chassis frame. Everything is pre-drilled, and you can refer to the manual for the exact instructions on building the chassis frame. So now we are putting in the last of the 24 screws that hold our wheel assembly together, and again, here it is, the completed device. Each one is secured by a number of screws with the bolts on them. We have a great, solid frame here. You have the option of making a wide robot. We are going to make a narrow robot. So from the original piece that came in the kit, we made it a little smaller. This is now the front of our robot. Go ahead and line it up with our wheelbases here. Line up the back of the robot. Do that screw dance thing again, 72 screws in our frame right now. We'll flip it on over. And then bring in our gear boxes. The center of the frame there is one hole that's offset. That's going to mark our center and our transmission gear box is going to be centered right above the offset hole. What we are going to do, put the screws in, mount it up, break away and come back with our gear boxes mounted. We have the gear boxes, you don't want to tighten up the screws too much so we can adjust them back and forth, and we'll use that as a chain tensioner. Across the top of the gear box there's a plate. You want to make sure you put it so that you are left with a nice symmetric piece that gets laid right over the ton -- top of the gear box and screwed in. Last step, tighten up the chain. Pull back on it and use the screws to get the chain nice and tight. We have added this year's electronics, laid things out so it's easy to get to for troubleshooting. At this stage the 2005 chassis is ready to roll and time for accessories. [APPLAUSE] >> I almost forgot. You don't get away without homework. The best way to grow FIRST as you all know is get people to the events. Every regional should be filled beyond capacity. Now is the time to invite your friends to the regionals. Students, invite other students. Sponsors, invite community leaders. Mentors, get people in there. Next yoo*ir -- year we want to double the size of this place. Thank you very much. >> Now, please welcome the program executive for solar system exploration at NASA, Mr. Dave Lavery. >> Thank you. Thank you all. Good morning. You have heard Paul and Dean and John talk about the vision of FIRST and how the robot is just the vehicle we use to get the point across of what we are trying to do. While we emphasize the vision and what we are all doing here, we actually do have to pay attention to the robot itself. And as we start to think about that, we realize that over the past several years an enormous amount of effort has gone into designing the kit, the pieces of hardware we give you to build your robots. We also realize in particular the past year we really hadn't done our homework as well as we should in terms of the other half of the robot, the software side. And we realized we didn't have the emphasize on the tools we were giving you to do the software side to match the hardware in the kit. We put an emphasis this year, in addition to the new very, very cool, elegant hardware solutions we are giving to you, an equivalent set, or a start of an equivalent start of very cool, very elegant, software capabilities. One of the things you'll start noticing on the first website as of about 15 minutes from now is a new link from the front page that will take you to a new software directory from where you can download all sorts of new software capabilities, fundamental default core code available on the robot, links to new tools, new capabilities, software modules that you can grab. We really urge all the software sub teams on each of the teams to pay attention to the site, watch it, new things will pop up every now and then and keep active in that community and make use of the stuff we are trying to give you. We also realize, actually Woodie and I were having a conversation, he came up with an interesting statistic. As the game design team went through our efforts over the course of the past year developing what you are going to see today, we estimated each of the members of the game design team, Woodie, Vince, myself, the staff at FIRST, everyone else, probably put in about four to 500 hours each into the effort of designing what we are giving you. We are proud of that number. We thought that was pretty cool. Then I sat there and said wait a minute, yeah, we put in four, 500 hours each, over the fours of the next six weeks a combined total of about four million person hours of thought going into disassembling everything we have made and analyzing it. Holy crap. The 400 hours is cool but we better do some more. Our efforts did not stop literally until the last 24 hours. We have been pushing to get new things created. I want to tell you about one of them that's cool. A few hours ago, a day ago, we were able to make an arrangement, a very generous arrangement with Microchip Corporation who has basically said that every single FIRST team is going to receive a complete fully functional non-crippled version of their newest C compiling. It's so new, not even out and available yet. Nobody else will have access to this. You are going to be able to go for the next two weeks to the Microchip website, we'll give you the special thing to go to, linked to the software page I mentioned that will allow your team to go and download the newest Microchip compiler for free. You know the message of FIRST is about gracious professionalism. This is something that Microchip has made available to all of you. The one restriction, this is for your use, FIRST team development of the robot only. It's a full version. Please limit your use of their very generous contribution to just your FIRST team. Do not distribute it beyond your team, do not pass it on. The next two weeks you will need the compiler. The two big things we heard requested most frequently last year, brand-new math libraries and IO libraries fully functional and capable. Software guys have at it, you'll have fun. After the next two weeks, you'll be able to get it by request if you need it. You have two weeks, have at it. Another capability we decided to add in, we talked a little bit about the vision of FIRST and what they are doing. Let's go over here for just a second and talk about what real vision is all about. Last year I mentioned when I was up here that we had a new IR sensor, infrared sensor we were asking you to use. Some of you used it, some didn't. We gave you a hint you might want to understand how remote sensing capabilities work. It might be important. Take a quick look at the robot. One thing I'll point out the hardware of the robot is, you saw the transmission, the chassis design based on two-wheel drive situation, but this is the third wheel in the back. Importantly up here on top is the neat little thing, as I walk back and forth, sits here, and happens to be latched onto a nice brightly colored object. And is able to track it pretty well. But it's not just that. It's also able to do, completely autonomously is follow and navigate and track to the brightly colored object and keep it in the field of field. CMU cam 2. The software interface is in there. You tell it find red, find green, blue, drive to it, it does it. The software is there. It will keep doing that. You have the capability in each of your kits. And this does get kind of annoying after a while. So, have our own version of a wardrobe malfunction here, and let you pay attention to this. And he'll keep watching this for a while. [APPLAUSE] But the other thing that's going on, draw your attention to this machine over here. Again real quickly, is another hardware configuration. Four-wheel drive system, built out of the same kit parts. Just the addition of a little more chain and two more sprockets, and a four-wheel drive system. I want to thank the folks at Innovation First and Paul and John, they designed the chassis system and gief -- gave you guys a neat set of tools. Look at what the robot is able to do. I'll turn it on here. And one of the things this robot is able to execute is a whole new suite of software built into the kit of software you are getting. Something called a PID controller. Not getting all the details, it allows you to set a parameters, velocity, position, whatever, and it will home in and home on that parameters automatically and if things disturb it, you have told it to drive a certain direction it gets bumped, it will self-correct, as long as I can measure where I am, it will home in on that thing. That's in there. The PID controller is already built. Sensor code, encoder code. Already built for you in the kit. Gyro code, drive a certain direction, but if you bet bumped you might have to know it, tell the robot head a direction, and if you get bumped pick up the heading again by yourself. It's all in the software tool kit. It's all there. And now here is the coolest part. We know awe to -- autonomy is hard. In FLL we asked 8th graders to do it. But one of the things that they have is a set of tools that make it very simple. Advanced technology. It's a complex thing but the interface to the complexity is a user interface. You saw the robot follow a neat little path. Nobody was driving it. But the neat part is unlike every previous year, b if -- if you wanted to have the robot follow the path and stop here next to me, you would have had the own encoder loops, counting gear teeth to know where it was, or gyro encoders, very, very complex instructions, this robot told a text script. The text script said in English drive 1500 millimeters, wait. Turn 2, wait, drive 1,000 millimeters, wait. English that you can understand. Kevin from the jet propulsion lab spent time understanding the way we should be talking to robots, the same way we talk to the Mars rovers. Simple commands. And if you don't like the fact you are limited to drive and wait and turn and maintain heading commands, language is extensible. Write your new language. Add to it. We couldn't figure out what things you would put on top of the chassis, but they would be cool and unique. Add your own commands. Think about well gee, I just created a cool command, maybe I want to share it with somebody see if they can make it better. So Brandon, I'm going to apologize what I'm about to do to you, there's a programmer's forum on the chief DELPHI website. I urge you to access the website. We are giving you a problem, we have done a lot, but also figured out that you guys as a community want to share the information. We are not going to tell you specifically how to make that sharing happen. But I recommend you go on to the programmers forum and talk about how to share a code. You can share scripts. Very simple pieces of commands to let your robots do what you want to do. It will be a lot of fun to see what happens. And we have made it very straightforward and simple so even a non-programming community can have access to it and write script to do things. You have heard bits and pieces, hardware, software. I'll toss it back to Blair and talking about taking a step back and understanding what the whole package is as opposed to being. >> Now please welcome, the first national advisor, Woodie. [APPLAUSE] >> What do we have so far? We have new goals, new game pieces, some really fancy new machinery. Wonderful new software and sensors and instruments. What are we going to do with it? The first thing we are going to do, repeat the thank yous of the suppliers at FIRST, because it's really a big deal to be a supplier to FIRST now. Thousand kits, 300,000 items, Innovation First and the pneumatic suppliers, it is a really big deal and we really appreciate what they have done to make this happen. Is it all worth it? You bet it is. I think it is on many dimensions. [APPLAUSE] >> We want to use the kick-off to make sure that in particular the new folks understand, we could have just put up a URL and said go download the manual and not done any of this, but there was a time we spent a whole day. We had representatives of all the teams in a room at one time and we talked and communicated a lot. We are too successful to do that now. So while we're in kick-off mode, we want to use that time very selectively, and all of us are talking a lot more to the rookies and the first-time firsters because it's important you understand why the process is the way it is. I want you to listen for a minute, and I'll start by making an aggressive comparison. Last spring I happened to see a television show that was produced by Tom Freedman, "The other side of outsourcing." Ten, 12-year-old kids in a school in India. The school was founded by a man born in India, came to the United States, did well in Silicon Valley, started a special school in India. They had not seen a flush toilet before they came to the school. They were sitting at computers typing faster than Tom Freedman two, using Word, Excel and interviewed them, I want to be an astronaut, a musician, they were excited, energetic, really courteous, outstanding command of English, they were just delightful. On the other hand, last summer I happened to be behind the one-way mirror in a focus group in the suburbs of Boston. There were 16 teenage males from wealthy families. They were discourteous, uncommunicative, and as far as I could tell, completely ambitionless. I was embarrassed and kind of scared for them. Because they didn't get it. They didn't yet understand that they were competing with those kids in India in the please choose me, please choose me in the world game. You are not going to be asked to be part of the world game if you are sullen and uneducated and lazy. Same thing applies not just to the western suburbs of Boston, but in Brazil, in Mexico, in the Mideast, other parts of the United States and Canada. The village is very large now. And you are part of a very large game. Let me make another comparison that's really nice. Several presentations this year I have honestly told people that in the pits at the championship last year there were more happy people per square foot than I have ever seen anywhere in my life. [APPLAUSE] I think that's really wonderful. FIRST folks rock. So congratulations to those that have chosen to be part of this process. It's likely to be quite important to you. This thing you are about to tackle is a really good thing. Now, several people have said that FIRST is not just about the robots, and that's absolutely true. And we spent quite a bit of time trying to make sure that we have something that works for you. Let me talk about a few features of the game this year and explain why. We do have alliances again this year. Own purpose, because they are randomly chosen alliances so if you work with someone in one round and they're an op -- opponent in the next round, you get to know them, and you are nice to them. The game this year, you will work with folks, incredibly good insight what other folks are like. Scoring, it will be very important to win a round. It also will not be to your advantage to completely trounce your opponent. We are doing that on purpose, I think there is quite enough testerone, chest pumping stuff out there. I believe a major part of society is running like a leming to the sea. FIRST is not for you if you want to join the lemings. FIRST is not violent, but it is tough. There is a reasonable chance this will be the hardest thing you have ever done. That's on purpose. This is not a sweet thing. If you do this well, when you leave a FIRST event, you'll have a very strong sense of pride, justified pride. Sure would have been wonderful if we could have had the robots throw those tetras, right? Oh, they could have done this nice thing. Well, we wanted to do that but we thought quite a lot about it. 1,000 peoples, 25,000 people, tetras weigh about nine pounds. Somebody would have made a mistake, some stored energy thing would have probably misfired and maybe hurt someone. So, safety is a really big deal and all kinds of safety. We now have a volunteer screening program which we must take seriously. In all aspects of FIRST, be careful and help us keep this thing on track. This year as you have heard the machines are complex. Now we hope we have made the complexity somewhat accessible. We really have tried. But I think that's important it was done on purpose. Again, the robots are big, fast, pneumatic, digital. Very powerful electro mechanical. We have done that on purpose. I think, I think I can make an honest guarantee. If you understand your robot at the end of the season, somebody will happily pay you to exercise that knowledge. If you understand your robot and your team at the end of the season, then you'll probably get a special role in the world game but that's the more sophisticated thing. If you understand your robot and your team and more about yourself, you are probably going to be in the big league. Because for one, you'll have some sense of your personal ethics. I think ethics have to come from inside, somebody can't tell you what they are. They require a lot of thought. They're difficult to understand. So, this year ethics play a major part in a feature called the fix-it window. We are very aware that it's merciful that we limit the bill -- build season. Also a chance to fix something that breaks. And maybe make an improvement while you are at an event, and we don't think it's quite fair that teams that go to a whole bunch of regionals get to work on the robots a whole set of time. We have tried craft a set of rules that govern those things so things are reasonably level. In order to make sure that we are all playing by the same rules, when you arrive at an event, at inspection, your head mentor and your team captain will be asked to sign a disclaimer that says, that says we have obeyed the fix-it window rules. So please go to that section and make sure that you understand it, and that will give us all a bit more level playing field. This game will be strategically intensive. When we were gathering information from folks about last year's game, Dr. Joe Johnson said look, make sure you make the game interesting. We took that to heart and tried. I'll be impressed if anybody can drive the robot and decide what the strategy will be at the same time. Strategy in the teams, within an alliance, strategy within an event. What that means, I think, is that look at your team and find the people that are smart that can think really fast and be real nice to them. Because you need them. So, the things that are reasonably level, everyone has a same constraint on size, weight, power, energy, time. Completely unconstrained is creativity and gracious behavior. You know, FIRST is, I think, kind of like bling bling for the brain. I think you are going to have a lot of fun. Going to be a lot of pleasure. But if you do it well, you'll experience satisfaction and I personally believe that satisfaction trumps pleasure every time. Better chance of a meaningful life if you gain access to satisfaction. Now, over the last month or so Dave Lavery has been heating his house running three G5 Macs 24 hours a day rendering his version of this year's game. I think we ought to see it. >> Welcome to 2005 FIRST competition. This year's game is in the triple play. The game is played on a 27-24 foot rectangular field. Large goals are placed around the field. Two alliances, three teams, occupy the ends of the field. Human players are at the corners of one side of the field, hand the game pieces to the robots. The game is played with tetrahedra-shaped objects known as tetras. At the beginning, special vision tetras are on the field. As the game starts, robots can knock them away from the corner goals to score points. More advanced robots use on-board vision systems to recognize the Vision Tetras, and place them on goal for extra bonus points. At the end of the 15-second autonomous period, they take control. Robots drive up to automated learning stations. Alternatively, they can drive up to manual loading stations which will allow a human player to load it up with a tetra. Robot is reenabled and they can go over the tetras. Human players must remember the robots are disabled whenever they leave the pressure pad. Once the robot grabs a tetra from a loading station, he can leave the loading zone and placed immediately on a goal. Tetras may be placed on any goal anywhere on the field. While the robot is attempting to place a tetra, closing robots may block efforts and keep them away from certain efforts of the field. Head back for home. Red alliance immediately counters by placing the tetra on the center goal. Teams have to pay attention to the center of gravity of the robot. Lifts heavy objects and drive rapidly around the field. At the end of the match approaches, robots head for the end zone. Bonus points to get all three behind the end zone line. Teams are awarded 3 points for each tetra on top of a goal. 1 point for each on the floor in the base of a goal. Each robot tetras placed on top of goals, a 10-point bonus, and all three robots behind the end zone the 10-point bonus. In this case Red wins. Good Luck, see you at the competition. >> Thank you very much. >> Fantastic. >> So, you have seen the animation. Let's run a simulation that may be a little bit closer in some ways to what the teams will do. We have some dynamite-looking robots, and human players out here. They have been counseling and alliances know what they are going to do. So you guys take your places. Now, as you noted, there are vision tetras, and we have to find out where they are supposed to be. So Dave? >> All right. Let's randomly draw numbers from a hat, and pick positions number 4, and number 6. >> Okay. So 4 and 6, so while we are placing those, Dean, set up what the human players are doing. >> The three human players, one associated with each robot is standing on a pad which is actually an electronic switch. If they get off that switch, their respective robot stops. Cannot move. They are not allowed to get off that switch until their robot has gotten into one of these locations. Then they are allowed to come off the switch, the robot is disabled, put the tetra on the robot, and as quickly as they safely can, get back on the switch. The robot is now live again and off they go. >> Okay. Thanks, Dean. Now, Dave, are right? >> These are in the right position for this game. Basically each side of the field is a mirror image, so neither alliance has an advance on position. From game to game it's a random determination where they are located. It might be important to, oh, see the tetras. >> Okay. Now, for the simulation, seems like we should run this in an odd way. We'll run the autonomous mode and stop and see where we are, and then part of the human control part, look again. But let's get to know the robots that we have here. Red 1, nice-looking manipulator you've got there. I see you are not using vision. But good at dead reckoning I'll bet. >> Uh-huh. >> This must be a past robot. Good-looking manipulator. Looks like you are really ready and those are supervision, yeah, ready to see. Okay. Boots look pretty heavy, maybe not very fast. And no manipulator showing. But good vision, I see. And they gave you the tetra, you are supposed to deal with that one. Okay. Looking good. Red played out well. What you got down there, Dave. >> All right. Over here we have one, again, really fast robot but no vision, can't see, no manipulators. But he can run really fast. Over here a second one, goes fast, two really great manipulators to hold the starting tetra and good vision capability. With those glasses it better be. Third robot, again, fast, good vision capabilities, one really good manipulator. Woodie, I think we'll give you a run for your money. >> All right. Looking good. Let's run the autonomous mode, see how the robots do and then check in. Everybody ready? One, two, three, go. >> Here we go, autonomous period of the 2005 triple play. Little red robot that could, drops one in the corner. 2 points for the red zone. Five minutes remaining, Red 2 capped at center field, three, two, one, zero. >> Let's see what we have during the autonomous. Notice Red 2 came out, placed the Vision Tetra. Backed off with the manipulator. Red returned two bonus tetras. We only see the two bonus tetras being placed. I don't know, Dave, Red is looking strong. We have a row, we have middle goal claimed, what you got? >> Not too bad, but we'll see. Blue missed getting the hanging tetra so it's removed from thefield at this point. But they did get one on top of here, the goal, placed one on the score, moving the other hanging tetra down. Looks like two robots and their teams forgot to do coordination before it started, so we have two in the same appliance fighting over the same tetra. Probably not something you want to do a whole lot. >> What does this look like in scoring? >> Scoring right now is Red 22, Blue 4. >> We'll catch up. >> Next 30 seconds of this if fictitious match, and stop and see how things are going. Clearly strategy will be important. So 30 seconds. One, two, three, go. >> And here we go. All robots now under driver control, Blue Vision robots break three. Number 3 for the Red is on the pad. Human player station. Blue 2 trying to cap at the center of the field. And 15 seconds remaining. Blue 3 being loaded by the human player in the Blue zone. Red 2 at the center field. Blue 3 the end of the field. Five seconds, three, two, one. Zero. >> Okay. Looks like things have changed a little bit. You guys seem to be coming on pretty strong down there. >> I warned you. >> What's the score now? >> Red 16, and Blue 20. >> So we have lots of Red at this end, the middle goal changed ownership. >> Because the middle goal changed ownership, a Blue row down the centerline for a 10-point bonus. And a human player came off the pad, robot is disabled temporarily, we are in position to have another one on the field as soon as we can get the human player back again and get the robot to start. >> Strategy is important, things can change pretty quickly. Let's finish this in, say, another 20 seconds and see what this simulated game is like. One, two, three, go. >> Here we go, Red 2 breaks from Blue 3, runs from Blue 3. Blue 2 headed for the end zone. Red 2, center goal on the side. Ten seconds remaining. This end of the field, Red 3, Blue 3, heading for the end zone, three, seconds, two, one, zero. >> Okay. Now, in this case I think it was probably very important that this Red robot got that up there and backed away, changing the ownership of that center goal was pretty important, I suspect. What you got down there. >> We were able to get a row reestablished along the back row here, a good 10-point bonus, and we managed, unlike Red, to get all three Blue behind the end zone. Another bonus for us. >> Unlike Red, you have 36 points because of what you just said. And Red has 48 and won this round. >> All right. >> Close. >> So, we offer a simulation of some of the features of the game. Now notice in this case the human players were wearing safety glasses, will always be the case. Team 342 from Dorchester in North Charleston, and this was done by William, Ernest, and Johnny. Check this out. >> Your robot is potentially dangerous. Four types of stored energy. Electrical, new manic, springs and gravity. Unplug it when you work on it. Be careful when installing springs. If you are going to be aware from the robot, remove the prop. Be aware of arms and chain drives. Try not to act in an unsafe behavior of the teammates. >> Now, ladies and gentlemen, time for the fast, funny and informative FIRST family game show, FIRST track. Points you in the right direction to the manual every time. Let's meet today's contestants. Our first contestant from Virginia, is NASA's own Dave the space man Lavery. Our next contestant is the guru of FIRST, the professor who puts the GP in gracious professionalism, Woodie Flowers. And our final contestant, the man with all the answers, and all the questions, the man who started it all, FIRST founder, Dean Caman. And now, how about a warm welcome for our fabulous FIRST track host, Mr. Paul Shay. >> Okay. Are contestants ready? Start with the first question. How many ways can I score in this year's game? >> Four ways. You can put your tetras on top of the goal, you can get your tetras into the goal, you can get rows of tetras, and you can get all three of your robots back to your end zone. >> Nice job, Dean. Off to a great start. Question number two. Do teams have to use cameras in the autonomous mode? >> They can use cameras but that's not the only way that they can score. They don't have to. But they also have the option of using the cameras during the teleoperator mode as well. >> Next question. Can they do anything they want during the fix-it window? >> Absolutely no rules at all, have at it. >> Woodie, Woodie. >> No, they can only do the things carefully outlined in the manual concerning the depicted window. >> That's right, Woodie. Next question. Have the rules on additional electronic changed? >> Yes, they have. Many more suppliers available, read the section on available suppliers, it's important. >> That's right, Woodie. It's all in the manual. Okay. Next question. Is the design and build time the same as prior years? >> Absolutely not. You have to entirely finish and ship your robot in ten days. >> Dave. >> Yeah, it's still six weeks. Ship date is February 22nd. >> That's right. >> All right. On to the next question. How do teams get more cloverleaf connectors to build more goals and game pieces? >> Dean. >> In addition to the set and the kit, you can make your own by cutting them or order two different types from Innovation FIRST website, which has a link from the FIRST website. >> That's correct. All right. What is the only way to ship batteries? >> Dean? >> Securely attached to your robot. >> Woodie. >> In the overhead compartment or directly under the seat in front of you? >> Dave. >> Packed in the original container, secured inside a plywood Christmas oh crate in the corner, with it properly labeled in the corner of the crate. >> All right. On to the next question. How do teams report missing parts? >> Email FIRST. >> Woodie. >> They check in to the team management information system linked to the front page of the FIRST website, and they are very careful to make sure they complete the form by midnight this coming Wednesday, January 12. >> All right. Thank you, thank you, Woodie. All right. Next question. How do the teams get an answer to a question about this year's game? Dean. >> They go to the FR -- FRC questions and answers link on the front page of the website. >> You can find the links on the first page of the FIRST website. Fed Ex airbills in this year's kit? >> No. Fed Ex airbills will be mailed to every team in early February, and they will also be included complete shipping and drayage instructions. >> That's right. Another question. Where do teams send their Chairman's Award submission? >> To Dean's house with a $20. >> This year the Chairman's Awards will be submitted through the firstawards.com, again a link on the first page of the website. >> That's correct, Dean. All right. And now, for the bonus question. What is the password for the encrypted PDF file for the manual? >> Woodie. >> Dean's Social Security number. >> Dave. >> George burns and John Noon. >> Dean. >> This is just like the real world. They tell me I'm wrong, but they don't even tell me what my answer is. I don't know. >> Clearly the winner is any team that really reads the manual and follows procedures. Thank you, Dean, Woodie and Dave for your valiant efforts. With all the new features and help available to you, it's time to start scaling new heights of creativity. We'll see you at the top. >> I had no idea climbing a tetrahedron would be this hard. >> Yes. It's a good thing we got six weeks. >> Dave, you back there? >> Yeah, I'm here. I think we're going to need like every minute of that six weeks. >> We ought to do this on another planet. >> I know. This gravity stuff, it's not just a good idea, it's the law. >> This would be a whole lot easier on Mars. >> Okay, give me a hand, Woodie. >> Okay. >> Dave. >> That Mars gravity would come in handy now. >> Harder than it looks. >> Wow. We can see so far. I can see all the way to ship date on February 22nd. >> Looks like an awful lot of really tired people out there. But they are excited. >> We look forward to seeing every one of you. Have a great season.

Curator: Cassie Bowman Small rover NASA Official: Mark León

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Last updated 01/07/04

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