Category Archives: Kickoff

2015 FRC Game Announced!

RecycleRushKickoff is over and the new game has been announced! This year’s game is called “Recycle Rush”, in which robots must carry and stack plastic crates called “totes”, and optionally cap those stacks with large recycling canisters for more points. The change portion of the game involves making padded robot bumpers optional, after having been a required element for about seven years.

The field itself contains four ramps, or scoring platforms, and is divided into three zones on each side; the “Landfill” Zone in the center, moving outwards to the Auto and Standard Zones. The Landfill Zone contains a plethora of totes, both upright and upside-down. Green pool noodles, entered onto the field by human-players, play the part of “litter”, and litter points vary based on each ones position on the field: either placed inside the canisters, or in the opposite Landfill Zone. In the very middle of the field is a divider called the “step”, which contains a small platform where robots from opposite alliances –and therefore opposite sides of the field– can achieve “Coopertition” points by working together to stack yellow totes.

The Daredevils have been planning all day to come up with our design for the next six weeks, however we will continue to post on our social media. As always, no robot photos will be available until after Bag and Tag (just to be safe). We can’t wait to see the designs and strategies at upcoming competitions!

Kickoff at UMD Saturday

On Saturday, January 3, in BOH 90 at the University of Minnesota Duluth, FIRST Robotics teams will receive the 2015 game. After receiving this challenge the Daredevils and all area participating teams will have six weeks to build this year’s robot for competition. We will post the game animation link after the Kickoff for our fans.

Daredevils Host 2014 Season Kickoff

Yesterday, we sat among 16 other teams at UMD waiting for the new game to be announced through the live NASA Broadcast. This is our fourth year hosting this Kickoff event, and team members Anna K and Henri L presented throughout the day. A special thank you to all of our guest speakers; UMD Electrical Engineering professor Stan Burns, ISD 709 Superintendent William Gronseth, Double DECCer Planning Committee co-chairs Jay and Chris Dillon, as well as our own Daredevil alumnus Kirsi Kuutti.

This year’s challenge is “Aerial Assist“! This challenge requires lots of teamwork, with more points awarded the more  your alliance works together by passing and scoring with one of two large alliance colored air-filled exercise balls. The field consists of four goals per alliance, and a large central truss that spans the width of the field which is divided into three zones. Teams can score bonus points by successfully passing the ball over the truss to another robot on their alliance. There are two high goals, and two low goals. One of the two high goals will randomly be considered  “hot” for five seconds each in the ten second Autonomous Period. A ball in the hot goal will earn the scoring alliance additional bonus points. Each match is two minutes and 30 seconds.

To see this game in action, you can attend one of the double-header regionals in Duluth at the DECC, March 6-8.  Duluth’s Lake Superior Regional has become a double regional due to the rapid expansion of robotics in the region. As always, this competition is free and open to the public. In addition, the Northern Lights and Lake Superior Regionals are looking for volunteers as this is a big event. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Laurie Shimizu, the volunteer coordinator for the Double DECCer Regional, at

2014 Season Kickoff

On Saturday, January 4, we will once again be hosting the 2014 Season Kickoff at the University of Minnesota Duluth where FIRST Robotics teams will receive the game for this year’s competition through a live NASA broadcast. This event is free and open to the public with free food and refreshments for all attendees. Kickoff will take place in UMD’s Bohannon 90 at 8:00 a.m. We are excited to start our 2014  Season and dig into this year’s new challenge, see you at Kickoff!

There will be a live link closer to the event available on the Blue Alliance website.

The Build Season

SFIRST_Frisbyo now is the time for building and brainstorming, as  everyone is planning how to get a robot to shoot frisbees and scale a pyramid. As previously stated, this year’s challenge Ultimate Ascent, requires all FRC teams to fire frisbees into goals for standard points. However, for the last 30 seconds of each round, teams can attempt to climb a colored pyramid to gain 10, 20, or 30 points. The build season lasts for six weeks from the first Saturday in January, to the 19th of February. The last day of build season teams will put their robots into a bag to prevent further alterations. The robot will go into storage and be shipped for later use at various competitions.

So far this season, between Archer Racing and East high school’s workshop, the buildRobo_Work department has made good progress on this year’s challenge. Team members working on the fabrication process meet at Archer’s and marketing members work at East. The build department works as late as 9pm every day and are given dinner that is provided by parents of the team.

Saucers Fly, Robots Climb

Today, 18 teams from around Minnesota and Wisconsin gathered in UMD’s Bohannon 90 to watch FIRST’s 2013 challenge reveal via NASA’s live broadcast. FIRST (For inspiration and recognition of science and technology) is an international non-profit dedicated to building interest in STEM fields through robotics competitions. UMD and the Duluth East Daredevils hosted this Kickoff event for the third year in a row.

Coach Velner describes FIRST

This year’s challenge is called “Ultimate Ascent”. This challenge requires teams to build robots that are able to accurately shoot frisbees into five goals, varying in point value based on size and difficultly. In addition to shooting frisbees, robots can also climb or hang one of two steel-pipe constructed pyramids that rise up to 90 inches in order to receive bonus points at the end the match.

This challenge will certainly stretch the creativity of participating robotics teams, and we can’t wait to see how other teams tackle the challenge. We look forward to competing this year and wish the best of luck to all participating teams.

To see this game in action, you can attend a double-header regional in Duluth at the DECC/Pioneer Hall, March 7-9.  Duluth’s Lake Superior has become a double regional due to the rapid expansion of robotics in the region. This event will attract 104 teams, with the potential of bringing 3,000-5,000 people to Duluth. Free and open to the public, the Northern Lights and Lake Superior Regionals are looking for volunteers for this big event. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Jay and Chris Dillon at