ORTOP Newsletter 
November 2016
In this issue:   ORTOP News  |  ORTOP Spotlights  |  Internet News
     ORTOP News

Volunteers needed for FIRST® LEGO® League and FIRST Tech Challenge tournaments this season

FIRST Tech Challenge league meets are beginning for this year’s game exciting particle-shooting game, Vortex VelocitySM. Meets begin in November with Qualifying Tournaments in January. FIRST LEGO League teams are very excited about the Animal AlliesSM challenge this year. We hope you will be able to join us as a volunteer this December to see all that the teams have created to help in our interactions with animals.

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Tell us your story

Working as a Judge Advisor last year, during a FIRST Tech Challenge league championship, I had the chance to sit in on a judging panel as a rookie team of seven 7th-grade girls were presenting and undergoing Q&A. Viewing their robot, it appeared to be a typical first-year effort - lots of promise and effort, but still a way to go to be truly competitive on the field. However, they presented themselves well. As they finished up and exited the room I intercepted them just outside and asked them one question: What had you learned about yourself as a result of being involved in the program? 

They all had a similar answer: I learned that I didn’t have to have all the answers myself, that I could get help from my teammates, that we could rely on each other.

They had come a long way.

Allyn Vannoy

Knowing ORTOP - Program Managers and Senior Mentor
The ORTOP programs are managed by a highly experienced trio of individuals: Cathy Swider, FIRST Tech Challenge Program Manager; Loridee Wetzel, Program Manager for both FIRST LEGO ® League and  FIRST  LEGO League Junior; and Debbie Kerr, FIRST® Robotics Competition Senior Mentor.

      ORTOP Spotlights

Get ready for “This Week in FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon”

This season FIRST® Tech Challenge Oregon will pilot a new component of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. ORTOP, with assistance from Hand-in-Hand Productions in Bend, Oregon, will produce a twice monthly web-based FIRST Tech Challenge SPORTS OF THE MIND show, similar to your local sports broadcast, but for FIRST Tech Challenge OREGON.

The program will be a 10-15 minute sportscast based on league action from the previous two weeks. Segments will include: the League Leaderboard, Velocity Vortex match highlight reel, answers to the Question of the Week, mini interviews with team members, volunteers, or mentors.

Details as to dates and YouTube channel pending.

Cathy Swider, FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon, Affiliate Partner 

FIRST ®  LEGO® League Qualifying Tournaments in December

Twenty-four Qualifying Tournaments (QTs) are planned for December 3-4 and December 10-11. Eight QTs are scheduled for December 3, three for December 4, six on December 10, and seven on December 11. See details at Venues.

FIRST ®  Tech Challenge League meets schedule for November-December

League Meet 0 - week of Nov 1-5
League Meet 1 - week of Nov 14-19
League Meet 2 - week of Nov 28-Dec 3
League Meet 3 - week of Dec 12-17
League Meet (inclement weather make-up) - week of Jan 3-7
Dates are currently tentative.

AKT Manufacturing recognizes manufacturers

Congratulations to the manufacturers recognized by AKT Manufacturing in partnership with industry associations on Manufacturing Day!

ORTOP is honored to receive a donation in their names. 

Manufacturing Day, October 7, is an occasion to celebrate the manufacturing industry, demonstrate the potential of modern manufacturing, and generate interest in manufacturing careers. Thank you to AKT Manufacturing for donating to FIRST this Manufacturing Day and congratulations to the manufacturers who were recognized by their industry associations. 

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Preparing for Judging -  FIRST ®  Tech Challenge

FIRST has directed in the  FIRST Tech Challenge Judge Manual that judges shall not provide feedback to teams, written or verbal. In order to prepare for judging, teams might wish to consider the following suggestions. 

FIRST® Tech Challenge - electrostatic discharge considerations

When a robot is operating on the competition field it can build up a static charge. When it comes in contact with another conductive object, such as a field wall or another robot, a rapid discharge may take place. This Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) can disrupt the normal functioning of electronic components.

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FIRST® Robotics Competition - Girls’ Gen

Since the Fall of 2010, girls in the Pacific Northwest have had the opportunity to gain the engineering spotlight by taking over all technical roles on their teams...

FIRST® Robotics Competition - FIRST Fare

For seven years FIRST Fare has provided an opportunity for rookie and veteran team members alike to learn about FRC practices, and better their skills in a variety of subject areas. Held on October 22, at Gladstone High School, and hosted by FRC team #3131 Gladiators, over 200 students and mentors participated. 

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Oregon Connections

The Oregon Connections Telecommunications Conference, organized by the Oregon Connections Telecommunications, was held on October 19 and 20, in Hood River. The conference shared ideas, experiences and knowledge about telecommunications. FIRST was asked to participate to show how telecommunications could be applied. Members of FIRST Tech Challenge team, #8176 Steelhead Robotics, from Hood River Valley High School, spoke about their program and this year’s FTC game challenge. Several of the team members also shared presentations about the future of robotics.

FIRST Robotics Challenge team, #3711 from Trout Lake High School, presented about their program and how their students benefit from participation with FIRST. The day ended with a robot demonstration.

Debbie Kerr, FIRST Senior Mentor in Oregon

FIRST® Tech Challenge - Get ready for  league play

Eleven leagues have been organized across Oregon (133 teams):
Capitol (11 teams) - Salem
Central (10 teams) - Sisters/Bend/venue to be determined
Columbia Basin A (14 teams) and B (13 teams) - Pendleton
Mid-Columbia (15 teams) - Hood River
Mid-Western (11 teams) - Junction City
Portland (10 teams) - Benson High School
SOAR (14 teams) - Roseburg
Beaverton (12 teams) 
Hillsboro A (12 teams) and B (11 teams) 

There are also 66 non-league teams that will be participating in Qualifying Tournaments. 

8th Annual Benson BotFest 

Was held on Saturday, October 29, attended by over 200 team members and coaches, hosted by Benson Polytechnic High School FIRST® Tech Challenge robotics teams and included a series of workshops for both veteran and rookie teams, as well as a Scare-a-fier - short scrimmage match.

See photos

ORTOP attends Rockwell Collins Employee Open House

On Saturday, October 15, ORTOP reps and several members of FIRST Tech Challenge teams attended the Rockwell Collins Open House in Portland.  

FIRST ®  Alumni opportunities

FIRST alumni includes students who participated in  FIRST Tech Challenge or  FIRST Robotics Competition during their high school years.

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
3-D printed robots with shock-absorbing skins

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) presents new method for 3-D printing soft materials that make robots safer, more resilient, and more precise in their movements.

Read more
Learning STEM in the Classroom

Tufts University professor, Chris Rogers, explains why STEM education should be taught in the classroom.

6 Awesome Robots at World Maker Faire

If you’re interested in the intersection of robotics and DIY pursuits, World Maker Faire is a great show to attend.

NASA Space Robot Needs Your Help Preparing for Mars

NASA's Space Robotics Challenge offers a $1 million prize purse for teams that program a virtual Robonaut 5 robot through a series of complex tasks in a simulated Mars habitat.


FRC Business Roundtable 
FRC Mentor Roundtable
FTC League Meets  

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
   Mentor or coach a team
   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 an article that you feel would interest our readers please 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 October newsletter. The newsletter was emailed to 4,941 contacts, resulting in an open rate of 29.6% (1,435). 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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