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FROS, PAST Foundation kicks off all-virtual 2021 FIRST Robotics Competition season

FRC Kickoff on Zoom2021 rings in the new year, and with that comes a new FIRST Robotics Competition Season. FIRST Alumni and Robotics at Ohio State and The Past Foundation hosted an all-virtual kickoff event to celebrate the launch (or relaunch) of INFINITE RECHARGE(SM) on January 9, 2021.

Involvement surpassed all expectations - the over 80 participants included seven Central Ohio FIRST Robotics teams and others from across the United States. The event was joined by Scott Evans, an original co-founder of FROS in 1996. Mr. Evans provided insight on his career as a product manager for augmented and virtual reality applications at Microsoft.

Following the discussion, teams were given the opportunity to win 5 AndyMark gift cards in a game of Kahoot on FIRST trivia. The winning teams were FRC 3324 The Metrobots, FRC 4145 Worbots, FRC 3201 Ross Rambotics, and FRC 1014 Bad Robots.

In addition to the main season, FIRST introduced three new challenges in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the FIRST® Innovation Challenge, teams identify a real-world problem, design a solution, build a business model, and deliver a pitch to compete with other FRC teams for judged awards and a chance to be invited to the FIRST Global Innovation Awards.

The Game Design Challenge is an opportunity for teams to design a FIRST Robotics Competition game and compete against other teams for a chance to pitch their game to the FIRST Robotics Competition Game Design Team.

In the INFINITE RECHARGE at Home, teams describe their robot’s technical qualities by sharing information with judges remotely to compete for traditional machine awards. They also demonstrate what their robots and drivers can do in a Skills Competition.

FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international non-profit organization founded in Manchester, NH in 1989 by Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers. Their mission is to inspire PreK-12 students to be engaged in science and technology through mentor-based programs.

This event was graciously sponsored by American Electric Power, Andymark, and Center Of Robotics Innovation. AEP first supported Grandview Heights’ high school robotics team with $10,000 in 1996. 25 years later, AEP has provided more than $3.3 million to more than 250 teams across all FIRST programs.

- Written by Nishant Chittari and Cole Tucker