Kickoff 2015


US First

First Robotics Competition

Memphis Kick Off

[PRELIMINARY INFO / SUBJECT TO CHANGE – last changed 2:50pm 12/29/14]

When: Saturday, Jan 3, 2015

Time: Doors open at 8:30am The broadcast will begin at 9:15am CT (10:15am ET)

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

Directions to Campus:

Parking (Map):

  • Cars can park in the Zach Curlin Parking Garage (PARKING IS FREE – take a ticket upon entry, but pick up a BLUE EXIT TICKET for each car when you check in at the event.) University Center access is available from 1st, 2nd and 3rd levels of the parking garage, with covered connection from the 2nd level. You can also park in any of the nearby general permit parking lots (see Parking Map).
  • Buses and Large Vans can park in Lot 5 (across from the Zach Curlin Parking Garage entrance).


  • 8:30 – 9:00 Registration
  • 9:00 – Welcome and Announcements
  • 9:15 – Kick off Broadcast
  • 12:00 to 12:30 – Lunch
  • 12:45 to 2:45 – Sessions
    • New Control System – Presentation on the new control system by Team 5002 (Collierville Dragons) Beta Test Team
    • Programming your Robot – Info on FRC Programming Choices and Changes from last year
    • Preparing for Quick Build (Memphis Area Teams Only)
    • Robot Functional Design 101
    • Winning Strategies
  • After Sessions Conclude
    • Kit of Parts Distribution (more info below)
    • Clean up and Dismissal

Details on Sessions:

New Control System – Presented by Team 5002 – Collierville Dragons, one of two beta test teams for the new control system in TN (and one of the 91 beta test teams world wide!). They have been working with the new control system for the past few months and they will share with you what they have learned.
Location – Memphis Room (Rm 340)

Programming your Robot – Presented by Prof Daniel Kohn of the University of Memphis and Control System Adviser for the Smoky Mountain Regional. This session will be in two parts. Part I will be a discussion of what has changed in the control system programming for the 2015 season. After that, a discussion for rookie teams, on programming options and how to select which language (C/C++, Java or LabVIEW) is right for your team.
Location – Bluff Room (Rm 304)

Preparing for Quick Build (Invited Memphis Area Teams Only) – This is for Shelby County School teams and invited guests and is to help you prepare for next week’s “QUICK BUILD” at the University of Memphis. Prof Robert Hewitt, of the University of Memphis Department of Engineering Technology will be presenting.
Location – River Room (Rm 300)

Robot Functional Design – Presented by Lee Cole (Team Mentor for FRC Team 5040) as well as a long time roboticist and machinist will be presenting information on how to come up with an effective robot design. Topics will include: Brainstorming, Prototyping, Testing, CAD, Useful Components and Basic Materials.
Location: – ????? Room (Rm ???)

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 – ???? Room (Rm ????)

Kit of Parts Pickup – Before attending the kick off, make sure you are bringing a vehicle that can carry the kit of parts. Read THIS to see the dimensions for the new kits. Your kit of parts will be distributed from the Engineering Technology Building. From the Parking Deck, turn left (towards Central Ave). Just before reaching Central there is a gated parking lot (Lot 45). Turn into lot (the gate will either be opened or someone will be there to let you in). Look for an opened garage door, that will be the kit of parts pickup. You will be given a receipt to sign, indicating you got all the boxes, totes etc. Check to make sure you got everything indicated and SIGN and RETURN the receipt BEFORE LEAVING. Once back at your school, do an entire inventory of the CONTENTS of the KOP (every item). If you are missing anything, or find an item is damaged, follow the PROCEDURE OUTLINED HERE to report it to FIRST. This MUST be completed by NOON on Jan ??, 2015.

General Notes about the event:

  • Lunch will be provided!
  • Since, this is a KICKOFF, we need you to bring your FIRST TEAM spirit. Wear your team shirts and bring your noise makers.
  • 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.
  • 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 9:00 a.m.

Venue: University Center Ballroom 3rd Floor Room 320


Lunch: Provided for those team members staying for the workshops after kickoff. (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.

Invited Shelby County School Teams Only: In preparation for the Quick Build at the University of Memphis on Jan 10 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. 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 2013 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 2014 KOP) and the programming software (from the 2014 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.