Robotics Dictionary

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80/20 - a unique framing system made of an aluminum alloy. Its pieces have a special t-shape on each side that allows for flexibility within assembly. Many FIRST teams, including 1912, choose to use it within their robot design.

AndyMark - supply company created by FIRST mentors Andy Baker and Mark Koors, which supplies many components for FRC, mostly mechanical parts like wheels and transmissions. Their website is

Autodesk - An American company that produces software for 3D design, from animation to CAD. FIRST students primarily use AutoCAD for computer drafting and 3Ds Max for create animations.

Autonomous period - The first fifteen seconds of each match. No user control is allowed and any movements that robots make must be preprogrammed. This movement can either be determined by the use of sensors of through dead reckoning.

Blue/Red Alliance - at regional and (inter)national competitions alike, teams compete against each other in alliances of three. So, three random teams will drive their robots against another set of three randomly chosen teams. As the tournament progresses and the winner pool is narrowed down, top-ranking teams may choose their own partners. To differentiate one alliance from another on the playing field, robots from each alliance are outfitted with either blue or red bumpers. Hence shouts of "Blue Alliance" or "Red Alliance" are common cheers during matches.

beta testing - in the fall before build season some teams apply and are chosen to test new controls software and hardware for FIRST. These team work through a series of tasks to try to troubleshoot and debug any issues in the system before it is releases at kickoff to all the teams. The honor of being a Beta Test team is quite high, but it also demands that the team share their knowledge with everyone, particularly helping teams in their area. Team Combustion has been a Beta Test team for the past three years.

build season - during January and February FRC teams are given only 6-weeks between Kickoff and ship day to build their robot. This includes all the time needed for designing, prototyping, building and testing. This very strict timetable can be a tad, well, stressful.

BURNie - Our animated mascot that appears in many or our newer animation and publicity documents. He is an electric blue robot that moves around via fire propulsion

CAD - "Computer-aided design" Using a computer program to design or draft mechanical pieces and parts. This method, as opposed to a paper drawing (or no drawing at all) allows for quicker precision. Many FIRST teams use AutoCAD produced by Autodesk to help design parts if not all of their robot. While there is a bit of a learning curve, once mastered, students can use such programs to bring their ideas to life.

Championship Event(CMP) - the last and largest event at FIRST championships. Will take place in St. Louis, Missouri for 2014.

Chief Delphi - A website that is run by Team 51, Chief Delphi. They host a very popular unofficial forum that allows anyone involved in FIRST to communicate news, ask questions, or find about anything related to FIRC. It is the general hotspot of activity, particularly during build season. One of its best attributes is that since so many people use the website, it is very easy to get a quick response.

chassis - the wheel base of the robot, includes the frame, the wheels and their motors, and the bumpers. On Team Combustion we have a chassis team responsible for building this aspect of the robot.

CIM motor - large, powerful motors available for use in FRC. They are generally considered the most heavy-duty motors that can be used on the robot, and FIRST limits teams to using a maximum of 4 CIM motors on their robots. They are often used on the drivetrain.

Classmate Clamshell - clamshell- within the Kit of Parts teams are given a small computer referred to as the Classmate Clamshell. Sometime people prefer to call it only the Classmate or just the Clamshell, all three names are interchangeable. This is a smaller computer with less memory and processing power. This computer is not meant to be programmed with. It is used on the competition as the driver station. Conveniently the laptop comes with a handle, making it very easy to transport.

Controls system - normally refers to the electrical components of the robot but can include the programming element in some cases. All of the required electrical pieces come in the Kit of Parts.

coopertition - an idea that combines "competition" and "cooperation", or basically good sportsmanship and kindness towards your competitors even in the heat of competition. This goes along with gracious professionalism to form the basis of the FIRST culture. In the past few years teams could win cooperatition points through a variety of ways. As defined by FIRST cooperatition means, "displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete".

corporate sponsor - please see sponsor page for more information

cRIO - "Compact Reconfigurable Input/Output" Device. Part of the robot control system, it is produced by National Instruments. It serves as the on board computer and the main brains of the robot. There are now two versions, the 8-slot (referring to the fact that there are 8 slots for modules) and the 4-slot. The cRIO controls solenoids, digital inputs and analog inputs. The piece of equipment is rather expensive and must be handled with care.

Dashboard - as an extension of the Driver Station, the Dashboard gives extra indicators on motors and sensors. It also gives the camera image and Kinect skeleton reading.

Dave Lavery - Program Executive for NASA's Solar System Explorations, which basically makes him awesome. Supports the FIRST cause, and even mentors an FRC team (116). Receives points for attending the Bayou Regional in 2011.

Dean Kamen - American inventor who founded FIRST in 1989. While famous for his Segway transportation device and iBOT electric wheelchair, Kamen's proudest invention is perhaps FIRST. Kamen assigns annual "Dean's homework" for participants, usually to broaden and focus societal ideals on STEM- science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. An all-around cool guy, Kamen's charisma has attracted, among others, Autodesk, Motorola, National Instruments, and Coca-Cola, to the FIRST cause. He remains an excellent model for his combination of STEM smarts, entrepreneurship, and passion.

Deans List(DL) - each team may nominate two of their team member for the Dean List award which celebrates students who exemplify FIRST by serving their team, community and overall FIRST world. Each regional awards two of the students as Finalists, and ten Dean's List Winners are chosen at World Championship.

District Events - Since there are so many teams in certain regions (Michigan, the Mid Atlantic area, New England, and Pacific Northwest) they form smaller competition that occur more often. This allows for more team to go to competition in a more organized manner. The teams that do best at the district competition qualify for the state championship, which runs similarly to a regional. FIRST's long-term vision is to have the district system implemented for all FRC regions.

double bannering - when a team wins the regional tournament and the Regional Chairman's Award, thus earning them two blue banners. It is the dream of most robot-nerds.

field - the enclosed area where the robots compete. The specifics of the field and its pieces change with each game. However, normally it is 54' by 27' and covered by carpet. The end of the field generally has a spot for each of the alliances and their driver stations.

FIRST - Please see the About FIRST page for more information.

FLL - Please see the FIRST Programs page.

FTC - Please see the FIRST Programs page.

FRC - Please see the FIRST Programs page.

GDC - "Game Design Committee" The crew of FIRST engineers who create the game each year. They come up with the game idea and create the manual. Before kickoff, the activities of this group are kept quite secret.

Gracious Professionalism (GP) - According to FIRST it, "is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community." This is a key element of FIRST that outlines helping happy environment that is fostered. Everyone benefits from a strong FIRST community so help your competitors is greatly encouraged. Since FRC tries to make a sample engineering workplace, teams try to emulate the quality and professional quality that is found within the cooperate community.

Ignition Team - please see the outreach page about the Ignition Team for more information

Inferno - The tri-annual newsletter that Team Combustion publishes. We send it to our sponsors and all supporters. The most recent publications can be viewed under documents.

Jr FLL - Please see the FIRST Programs page.

Jumpstart - on the Saturday after kickoff our area has an event called Jumpstart. Team 1912 has hosted for many years and has adopted it as one of their favorite events. Teams bring their kit of parts and in our day build a "rolling chassis"- a basic four train base with a fully functioning controls system. It is a great chance for rookies or inexperienced team to get a quick start to building their bot with the help our Team Combustion member. Jumpstart is the brainchild of our of the region's best volunteers, Curtis Craig.

Kickoff - day the "game" challenge is release live through webcast on the FIRST site. Founder Dean Kamen gives a speech about the benefit and importance of FIRST, and other significant people such as Woodie Flowers or the occasional pop culture celeb ( for 2010-2011) say inspirational things.

kit bot - the generic name for a robot made only from the Kit of Parts with four wheels and a full controls system. There are no challenge pieces and the robot is essentially defensive as its only capability is driving. This is what we help rookies to build during Jumpstart.

LabVIEW - "Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Engineering Workbench" a graphical programming language created by National Instruments. Its picture like icon system sets it apart from text based languages. Its ability to work easily with hardware, especially that made by National Instruments, makes it the choice of many FIRST teams, including 1912.

manual - with the new game each year, FIRST releases a very thick rule book and how-to-guide. The number one piece of advice that is given to everyone is to READ THE MANAUL. It contains all the important rules and specifications that must be followed for the robot to pass inspection. For this year's game animation and manual please see the about game page.

mentor - an adult that assist and guides students in all fields. For a detailed descriptions see the "Mentors Role" in our constitution. To learn more about Combustion's mentors, please see our mentor page.

National Instruments - a Texas based software and related hardware company. Most notably within FRC they are the creators of LabVIEW and the cRIO. Their mark on FIRST is seen everywhere, almost as much as their initials 'NI' appear on their devices.

Offseason - may or may not exist to some teams. Actually, off-season is defined as the time period a team does not engage in FIRST robot building. The term is misleading in that it implies robotics activity ceases at some point, when in reality in continues year-round in the form of outreach, new member training, and experimental projects. Plus more outreach.

Outreach - robotics activities that seek to promote science and technology or simply benefit the community. May or may not involve robots. Takes place both during and outside of build season. Year-round volunteering (see Bayou Sauvage marsh restorations, Special Olympics) make up our Torchbearer actions, while our process of founding new teams (FLL, FRC, JrFLL so far) forms the backbone of our Ignition Team. Our initiative FIRST Flames spreads the spirit of science and technology to children, a vital outreach target. We also contact and and visit sponsors to keep our Combustion Triangle (students, mentors, sponsors) strong.

pit - at the regional competition each team is given a 10' cube to work in. This is their home base where they would keep any tools or materials as well as the robot while it is not competing. Many teams chose to build a wooden or metal frame that they put inside their put to help structure their work space. It is very important to keep your pit clean and safe. The term "pits" is generally used to the part of the building where all the pits are concentrated.

Regional (competition) - the first level of competitions. At a local "home" regional close to the high school, FIRST teams cooperate and compete for awards that include the Excellence in Design Award, Animation, Website, Dean's List, Woodie Flowers, and Chairman's Award. After two and a half days of robotics competitions, semifinals and then ultimately finals will decide three teams as regional winners of the robot competition. Expect upbeat techno/dance music, dramatic lighting, thunderous cheering, and plenty of robots. Oh, and people.

Regional Chairman's Award (RCA) - the highest honor given to FIRST teams on a regional level. The Chairman's Award values dedication to the FIRST message and the innovative, hard work required to imbed in into our culture. While building a robot demands strategy, efficiency, and perseverance in the build facility, the outreach needed to transform cultural values takes those words to a new level. School pep rallies, local fairs, and community service projects are good places to begin. A team can and should submit for this prestigious award in one regional competition every year. Traditionally teams enter in their "home" regional (i.e. Bayou Regional for 1912) to convey a better sense of their impact on the local area.

ship day - the day six weeks after kickoff when the robot must be packed in a crate and shipped off to the regional competition in New Orleans. Basic functional mechanical build must be completed before then, although finer points in physical and controls design alike may be tweaked later on at competition. Now also called "Bag & Tag" because it has replaced traditional crates.

"Shoot me an e-mail; we'll always have Bayou" - phrase coined by Madeleine P. and Alex L. during the 2014 offseason. It refers to our favorite method of communication, as well as a parody of the famous Casablanca quote. Now the title of our monthly webcomic about FIRST.

spoof award - at the annual pool party every year after competition, each team member receives some sort of fun handmade award ribbon praising some outstanding characteristic of his or hers. These lean towards the goofy end.

sponsors - to build the robot for competition, a lot more than time is required. Parts, tools, replacements, and computers, among other things, cost a lot of money. We look to our generous sponsors to help us make the FRC a financially safe option for every student and team. Sponsors may include large corporations (see our sponsors page for a full list), average-sized companies, or even small local businesses. They may be robotics-related or non-robotics-affiliated. They may contribute in the form of funds, a build area, food, tools and supplies, or even talented employees who become team mentors. Regardless, all sponsors share an undeniable spirit of generosity.

sponsor plaques - to nurture positive sponsor relationships with our team, we produce polished, pretty commemorative plaques to be presented at the end of each season to each of our sponsors. Generally this calls for exciting trips to the actual sponsor facilities, which may or may not include tours.

Stennis House Team - we are one. Simply put, NASA graciously funds our competition registration fees and foots a large part of our build bill. This is an honor due only a few House Teams. Our fellow NASA House teams, or as we affectionately call them, our 'sister teams', include Team 364 Fusion and Team 1421 Chaos

STEM - "Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics"

Swagification - the art of making something, such as a robot, have swag. Coined by a 1912 mentor, Mr. Alex

tele-op period - during the game, following the autonomous period, there is a two minute tele-op period. During this time, drivers take control of their robots. It stands for tele-operated and no one really knows what tele means.

US FIRST Girls - an organization created within FIRST to support its female participants. They aim to increase girl involvement and create an encouraging community. Team 1912 is proudly a member of this group and at competition many of our girls (and a few of our boys) can be seen wearing the distinctive purple headbands.

Water Game - Since the game is not revealed in till kickoff there is often much speculation as to what the FRC game will be. Part of FIRST pop culture is the idea that one year the game will be in water. Although it is highly unlikely that this will ever happen, everyone gets a good laugh (and groan) out of the possibility.

WD-40 - A water displacement spray. It is mainly used to lubricate and loosen joints but also as a cleaning device for metal parts. It often seems to have endless uses (both legitimate and not so much) and has therefore reached the level of being a universally understood inside joke.

Woodie Flowers - an MIT professor who originated the idea that evolved into FRC. He is the co-founder, along with Dean Kamen, of FIRST as well as a national advisor. He is a serious part of FIRST culture, for creating ideas like "cooperatition" and dressing, well, like a hippie (rock that ponytail Woodie!).

Woodie Flowers Award (WFA) - one of the many awards given by FIRST. Named after Woodie Flowers it celebrates a truly great mentor.