Kickoff 2012

US First
First Robotics Competition
Memphis Kick Off

[last changed 1/6/2012 10:39pm]

When: Saturday, Jan 7, 2012

Time: Doors open at 8:30am The broadcast will begin at 9:30am CT (10:30am ET)

Where: University of Memphis, University Center Ball Room (link)

Directions to Campus:

Parking (Map):

  • Cars can park in the Zach Curlin Parking Garage (take a ticket when you enter. We will have free exit passes at the registration desk) University Center access is available from 1st, 2nd and 3rd levels of the parking garage, with covered connection from the 2nd level.
  • Buses and Large Vans can park in Lot 5 (across from the Zach Curlin Parking Garage entrance).


  • 8:30 Doors Open
  • 9:30 Kick off Broadcast
  • ?:?? Kit of Parts Distribution and Inventory
  • 11:30 Lunch
  • 12:30 Sessions
    • Programming your Robot – An intro to FRC Programming
    • Creating a Team Website using WordPress
    • Winning Strategies for FRC
    • Preparing for Quick Build (Memphis Area Teams Only)

Details on Sessions:

Programming your Robot – An intro to FRC Programming Presented by Prof Daniel Kohn of the University of Memphis and Control System Adviser for the Smoky Mountain Regional will discuss changes to the control system and programming from the previous year and then, for rookie teams, will discuss your programming options and how to select which language (C/C++, Java or LabVIEW) is right for your team.
Location – Bluff Room

Creating a Team Website using WordPress – Learn how your team can use WordPress to create a web presents to keep your team, mentors and the community informed about your teams progress. Presented by Prof Tom Banning of the University of Memphis.
Location – Memphis Room

Winning Strategies for FRC – Presented by Dennis Taylor long time US First Mentor and Field Judge for FRC. He has been on the field for countless matches and has seen what teams have done right and what they have done wrong. He will share his experiences to help your team improve your robot.
Location – River Room

Preparing for Quick Build (Memphis Area Teams Only) – This is for Memphis City School teams and invited guests and is to help you prepare for next week’s “QUICK BUILD” at the University of Memphis. Dustin Maki, long time roboticist will be presenting.
Location – Memphis Room (after WordPress Session has concluded – Announcement will be made)

General Notes about the event:

  • Lunch will be provided for teams staying for the workshops only.We are hoping that everyone stays, but we understand if you can’t. The workshops are an excellent opportunity for you to obtain some last minute tidbits to help you have a successful build.
  • Since, this is a KICKOFF, we need you to bring your FIRST TEAM spirit. Wear your team shirts and bring your noise makers. There will be an award for the team with the most spirit, the most people attending, the school that traveled the furthest and the team that has been in FIRST the longest and the team that brought the most corporate mentors and volunteers with them.
  • Your KOP will be at the Kickoff location and can picked up at the checkout stations. Please make sure you get everything or let us know if you are missing anything.
  • You will need to bring a dolly and a vehicle large enough to transport your KOPs. (check in the FIRST team manual regarding the KOP and the dimensions for the new kits) (We will try and post it on the website for everyone, if available)
  • Please chaperone your students at all times. Since we are on a college campus, we want to make sure we know where our students are at all times.
  • Begin to make connections now with other teams and reach out to them, especially the veteran teams and let’s work together. You never know when you may meet again,maybe even on the competition floor.
  • Please remember to bring your printed team roster to Kickoff.  Also, if you don’t have every team member, volunteer or mentor on the roster, you will need to bring a hard copy of their Consent and Release Form with you as well as including their name on the printed roster. Even if you don’t bring your entire team to the Kickoff, the roster should be at least 90% complete. Please denote how many volunteers and corporate mentors you have.
  • There may also be FLL teams or coordinators in the audience, take the opportunity to share with these elementary and middle schoolers what it is like to be on a FRC team and what they have to look forward to.
  • If we have inclement weather and the University is closed, we will have to make alternate arrangements for you to pick up your kits.The simulcast will be recorded for later viewing on FIRST’s or NASA’s website. So, no snow dances please!!!

The doors will open at 8:30 a.m. and the event festivities will begin around 8:45 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. Our special guest host again this year will be Mr. Stan Bell, “The Bellringer” from V101 Radio Station, Memphis.

Venue: University Center Ballroom 3rd Floor Room 320

Lunch: Provided for those team members staying for the workshops after kickoff, will be a box lunch including a Sandwich (various), Fruit Cup, Pasta Salad, Chips, and Cookies. Drinks will also be provided. (Since UofM is still on winter break during kickoff, the food court and other eateries on campus will be closed during kick off).

Guest Internet Access: You will be able to access the internet by selecting uofm-guest from the list of available wi-fi access points. You will have to supply your email address and accept the user agreement. Please note the uofm-guest network is open and unencrypted.

Having internet access does not insure that you will be able to access the FRC website(s) during the event. It is hoped that US First will keep the tradition of allowing teams to download the Game Manual in a password protected form so that you will already have it on your computer and all you have to do is type in the password. It was also requested the same be done with the KOP list to avoid problems seen at the 2011 kickoff where the server crashed because every team tried to download the KOP List at the same time.

Memphis Teams Only: In preparation for the Quick Build at the University of Memphis on Jan 14 please do the following:

  1. Veteran Teams – please BRING your driver station computer with you to kick off. Please make sure to charge it up ahead of time. Also bring the netbook charger and the USB Thumb Drive from the 2011 KOP (we MIGHT need it to reinstall the software). Make sure you back up anything from the netbook you want to keep (old code, documentation from last year, etc). We will be WIPING the computers for the installation of the 2012 code.
  2. All Memphis Teams who are coming to the Quick Build need to have representation at the “Preparing for Quick Build” Session. You will receive instructions on what to bring to quick build, how to sort your kit of parts and other vital information for your success at the Quick Build.
  3. All Memphis Teams who are coming to the Quick Build need to leave their driver station computer (Netbook), USB Thumb-drive (containing the image for the netbook from the 2012 KOP) and the programming software (from the 2012 KOP – we are recommending LabVIEW). Since these installations take hours, they will done by volunteers BEFORE the quick build session so they are ready to go.