ORTOP Newsletter 
December 2016
In this issue:   ORTOP News  |  ORTOP Spotlights  |  Internet News
     ORTOP News
ORTOP welcomes David Perry as its new Executive Director

As many of you know, ORTOP spun out from the Oregon University System (OUS) in mid-2014. At about the same time I retired from OUS and agreed to become the interim Executive Director on a volunteer basis. This fall the ORTOP Board of Directors opened the position of Executive Director, recruited candidates for this position and conducted intensive interviews of top candidates. 

We are happy to announce that David Perry has agreed to become ORTOP's first paid Executive Director. He started on November 22nd on a part-time basis and will transition to full-time on December 12th. 

David held positions as manager and director of Museum Education at Oregon Museum of Science & Industry. More recently he has been the program director and interim executive director at Zenger Farm, which educates youth and adults on environmental stewardship, sustainable urban agriculture, and green business development. 

David has taught graduate education courses and published an engineering design curriculum. He has also served as a volunteer with all four  FIRST® programs.

On behalf of ORTOP's Board of Directors and its staff, I would like to welcome David. We look forward to his leadership in the weeks and years ahead.

Bruce Schafer, ORTOP Board Chair

ORTOP Board Members 
The ORTOP Board of Directors is made up of individuals with years of experience in ORTOP's robotics programs. The Board members include...   Read more

      ORTOP Spotlights
Standard TV & Appliance presents g rant check to ORTOP
ORTOP received a check for $3,500 at the 2016 Air Show Grant Presentation sponsored by Standard TV & Appliance, on November 16.

Pictured with Cathy Swider, ORTOP Affiliate Partner, is Chris Barber LTC (Ret.), Oregon International Air Show Board Chairman (center), and Bill Gander, owner of Standard TV & Appliance and Air Show sponsor (on right).

First time at a FIRST® LEGO® League Qualifying Tournament?

Helpful information for coaches making their first trip to a Qualifying Tournament.

What to expect... Read more
Intel and ORTOP

Q&A with Jill Eiland, Intel Public Affairs Director

Read text      

Helping ORTOP as you shop for the holidays and beyond

Amazon has a way you can support ORTOP when you do your holiday shopping as well as regular shopping on Amazon. If you log into Amazon in a slightly different way, 0.5% of your purchases will go to the non-profit of your choice. Once you've set it up, it will be automatic in the future.

FIRST® Tech Challenge league results for Week 1

Email marketing using an online newsletter

Does your team need a way to promote the team for fundraising or a way to connect with new and current sponsors, friends and other teams? Then you need to have an online e-newsletter.

Compass and Promote Awards

In addition to the seven judged awards that can be awarded at FIRST® Tech Challenge Tournaments, there are two additional awards that, in Oregon, are only considered at the State Championship, these are the Compass and Promote Awards.  

FIRST® Robotics Competition Roundtables

The FIRST Robotics Competition Mentor Roundtable and FIRST Robotics Competition Business Roundtable were held November 5th at Intel’s Jones Farm Conference Center.

Read more

Scouting teams

At a FIRST® Tech Challenge tournament, every team is as likely to be your partner as they are your opponent. To beat opposing alliances, teams must know how to work with alliance partners. The more robots a team understands, the more efficient strategies they can create.
FIRST® Robotics Competition - BunnyBots 2016

Since 2008 teams in the PNW have participated in this off-season competition. Because we believe the best way to learn to build a robot is to build a robot, BunnyBots provides a 12-week build season in the Fall to help make FIRST more of a year-round activity.

FIRST® LEGO® League Qualifiers 

During the weekends of December 3-4 and 10-11, twenty-four qualifying tournaments will be held across Oregon.

See schedule
Girl Fest

Held November 5, at the Portland Expo center, sponsored by Girl Scouts of the USA.  Participants included FIRST® Tech Challenge team Bytes of KitKats , Emma Barbee , 2016 Dean’s List Finalist and a FIRST Tech Challenge team-member from Tigard High School, two ladies from the Benson robotics club.

FIRST® Robotics Competition Kick-off
January 7
th, 2017

Oregon will host three kickoffs across the state: the University of Portland, Oregon State University and Eagle Ridge High School. Teams will be contacted by the site host of their kick-off location with a schedule for the day. 

Opening ceremonies will start at 7am, with the game reveal promptly at 7:30am.

Kick-off flyer - University of Portland

Kick-off flyer - Oregon State University

Kick-off flyer - Klamath Falls


Keeping the work on track and motivation

During the Mentors Roundtable, hosted by Team 4488 Shockwave on November 5, the most requested topic was Keeping the Work on Track and Motivation.

The FIRST® Robotics Competition project takes place in a six-week window, and it is understandable that mentors were looking for suggestions on how to make the best of the limited time frame.  The simple rule for motivating a group is finding what each volunteer and/or student wants to do, and give them resources to keep the work on track.

Read more

How to set up a successful outreach program

One of the fundamental aspects of FIRST® robotics is community involvement. Outreach is the initiative a FIRST team takes in creating a project or objective that will serve the community and spread the message of FIRST. Actively engaging in the community helps exhibit dedication to improving the community. As a team, you are able to help those in need while building relations with sponsors, neighboring FIRST teams, and local businesses. In addition, outreach can be very helpful for earning volunteer experience that's useful for membership in school-based service clubs and for college admissions and scholarships.

First Tech Federal Credit Union | Flir | Puppet Labs |  Cascade Microtech | Performance Health Technology | Vernier Software and Technology |  IBM | Microchip | Applied Materials Foundation | ONAMI-Business Oregon | Timbercon | Oregon International Airshow |  ESI | FEI | Masonic Lodge #110 | Portland Community Media | OMSI | Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Your company can benefit by partnering with us!
Contact Cindy Lebeau, Development Director -  cindy-lebeau@ortop.org

     Internet News

Programmable self-assembly in a thousand-robot swarm

Harvard’s Self-Organizing System Research Group produces a self-organizing thousand-robot swarm using simple programmed rules, allowing autonomous robots to arrange themselves into vast, complex shapes.

See video

Micro-robots currently in production

See video

Football’s newest MVP is a robot

Dartmouth College engineering students have created a robotic tackling dummy designed by a defensive lineman and a rugby player.

It may one day have the ability to execute plays autonomously.

Read more

Robot Octopus

Researchers at the BioRobotics Institute at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, in Pisa, Italy, have been investigating soft robotics. In the process they have chosen to build robots that mimic an octopus.


FIRST LEGO League Qualifiers
FTC League Meets
FRC Bunnybots 

FRC Kickoff
FIRST LEGO League Championships
FTC Qualifying Tournaments 
FTC League Qualifiers

FTC Super Qualifiers
FTC Championship

March - April
FRC District Tournaments
FRC Pacific Northwest District Championship

March - July
Various outreach events
FIRST  LEGO League Junior Expos
How you can become involved

   At a tournament
   At an outreach event
   Become the one to open the door and inspire young minds to be involved in STEM
   Help fund these amazing programs 

Seeking articles - H elp m ake FIRST® Loud!

If you have a story or information that you feel would be of interest our readers, consider submitting it. For more information, see  writer’s guidelines

The newsletter is published the first week of each month.

Allyn Vannoy, Editor  
Terry Hamm, Assistant Editor
Williane Tenca, Assistant Editor 

A brief update on the ORTOP newsletter 

Results of November newsletter. The newsletter was emailed to 4,861 contacts, resulting in an open rate of 31.6% (1,511). According to Constant Contact, an open rate of 18% is average. The ‘opens’ were distributed 64% to desktops and 36% to mobile devices.

Allyn Vannoy, Editor

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