[FRC Blog] Digital Animation Award, Award Update, and Video Request

Posted on the FRC Blog, 11/10/2022: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2022-digital-animation-award-award-update-and-video-request

Digital Animation Award, Award Update, and Video Request

2022 NOV 10 | Written by Fiona Hanlon, FIRST Robotics Competition Team Experience Specialist

Digital Animation Award

Submissions for the Digital Animation Award are now open. Please note that the submission process has changed slightly this season and specific details on how to submit and requirements can be found on the Digital Animation Award webpage. We can’t wait to see your animations for this year’s theme: Charged Up! Teams have until January 19th at 11:59pm ET to submit their animation.

A big thanks to our friends at AutomationDirect.com for sponsoring and judging this award!

Award Update

Speaking of awards, check out the 2023 FIRST® Robotics Competition Medallions this season:

We also wanted to share that the number of medallions presented to teams that are the Event Winners, Event Finalists, Engineering Inspiration Award Winners, and FIRST ® Impact Award Winners has changed to 30 per team. Additionally, FIRST Impact Award Winners will be given 30 pins. If your team is larger than 30, you can still buy additional pins or medallions from the FIRST Robotics Competition Awards website. We made this change due to the increased cost of medallions and decreased average team size in 2022.

We want to feature our teams!

We are busy getting ready for events for the 2023 FIRST Robotics Competition and want your help! Teams can submit videos for the opportunity to be highlighted at a 2023 FIRST Robotics Competition event. Choose one or more of the following and make a video that is 20 seconds or less and submit it into this form. Videos must be submitted by January 31st, 2023:

  • Show us your craziest or weirdest non-traditional application of your robot (e.g. dance moves, pizza delivery, etc.)
  • Show us your team pets (bonus points for pets in team apparel*)
    • *actually, there are no points, but we would still love to see it!
  • Show us your most creative Mascot Dance Moves
  • Show us your team’s favorite cheer
  • Show us your most unique robot/mechanism fails (e.g. prototype works opposite of how you thought, robot drives in wrong direction, etc.)

I can’t wait to see your team, robots, and most importantly pets!

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At least they didn’t attempt the gradient from all of this season’s other artwork.

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Not a fan of this decision. In the past few years we’ve struggled to get medals for the whole team when each team was given 40. We’ve even had to ask alliance partners with less members to give us some. Buying additional medals is an option if you’re in the US; abroad you end up paying double or triple the cost of the medals in shipping and that’s hard to justify. We already pay a lot of money to compete at events every year, why should we have to pay more if we win?

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Chiming in on that front too. I get that our team is a special case (routinely brings 50-70 students to events), and there is NO way something gets done that serves us well – and that’s totally ok, my feeling would be the same regardless.

Maybe FIRST is just going by average registered team size in terms of what to give out, but ‘you can just order more at the end of the season’ really, really sucks as a bandaid to the continually shrinking awards.

On the day-of, some students on the trip don’t get medals from this massively cool moment they just earned, but their teammates sitting next to them on the bus home do? Just because that kid was sitting in the back of the stands or didn’t get out of their seat first during awards? Or, as mentor, do I have to decide which kids get to take them home? Do I take them away so it’s fair for everyone? Later in the year, the team makes several-hundred-dollars of purchases to get medals, and THEN they get the thing they earned? Icky on all fronts.

100% not the biggest issue around, but continually shrinking what teams receive when they achieve things within the competition structure really does not make this program feel like the students’ experience is the #1 priority. (I said the same things when the trophies shrank, and when they moved to trophy-and-plaque. It just feels like FIRST saves cost without thinking of the impact it has on those moments. A similar gripe to the downturn in production over the years.)

Just a little rant about a minor issue comparatively to everything going on in the community. Because that’s what I’m feelin’ today, apparently.

Side note: Why are these video requests once again emphasizing how QuIrKy aNd WEiRD robotics is? Aren’t these large public events meant to … enhance respect and appreciation for engineering within a community? Feels like Parodies, Pt. 2.

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This

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Don’t know if anyone from HQ still reads CD, but if they do: consider sending an extra supply (say, 100) of medals, and have them available for sale right at the competition. If they get sold, great, replenish and if not, they just go to the next one. Instant gratification, no shipping cost/hassle, minor increase in logistics effort. For payment, surely a way to accept a credit card can be found.

I certainly understand a need to save money, but as Libby wrote, it can have a major (negative) impact despite being solvable with some imagination and effort.

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We regularly bring 44 students + 6-12 coaches to each event, so we’ve had the same issue, and agreed it can be a bummer. Our policy has been to just hold on to all medals and do an end-of-season distribution to the students. We’ll order as many extra as needed to ensure all interested students and coaches get medals.

I was going to pipe in and also suggest that streamlining the “extra medal” ordering process would be appreciated. I don’t know the best way to implement this, but Don’s proposal seems like a decent option, except I don’t think FRC events are generally set up with point of sale equipment, which could be a challenge.

I get FIRST needs to watch their costs, but maybe there are some simple changes that could make the process better for larger teams? This feels like a smaller deal to me, but I also say that as a coach who’s been in this for a while, not as a student that might be experiencing their first victory in the sort of celebratory STEM environment where their accomplishments might be recognized in this way for the first time in their relatively young lives, and getting that piece of hardware could be a formational experience.

-Mike

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Get FIRST a Venmo charity account or something along those lines. Card transaction, instant, mobile. RDs/District Committee person has to witness the transaction before providing the teams the medals.

I hate to say this but maybe FIRST should be looking at the average size of the teams who win these awards, it’s not like they don’t have this information and it is an excel vlookup away.

I am not trying to discourage anyone from competing for any award but man power is a resource worth just as much if not more than money and in house machining. I rarely see the 5 kids and a science teacher competing for Chairman’s Impact and EI and at best they are 1/3 of the winning alliance at an event.

Looking at the 3 Florida events last year I know that 7 of the 9 regional winners and finalists, 2 of 3 Chairman’s Impact winners, and 3 of 3 EI winners had more than 30 team members in attendance.

This constant shrinking of awards has bothered me for years. The plaques I was not a fan of but they have grown on me since they are different every year and we have way more wall space than shelf space. Honestly as Iconic as they are I worry for the future of the Blue Banner, at some point (and i feel that point is this number) you can’t keep cutting down on the number of medals, FIRST was about the partnership between mentors/industry and students/teams so you need the two trophies/plaques so each can have one (although I remember how pitiful the district trophies were at one point as there was a delphi post of someone putting the trophy in their back pocket and forgetting about it), so the only cost cutting left in my mind is the banners. Whether this is in size or in existence I don’t know but they are next in my mind. Unless the future for awards is the teams get the rights to the NFT for that award at that particular event, which I say only half jokingly.

This is the way.

I think an extra 100 medals might not be enough for Winners, Finalist, Impact and EI. Probably 60 for winners/finalist and 20/30 for Impact and EI just since a split of 25 for each is odd when you have 3 teams for one set of Gold and Silver medals and 1 team for the other.

Another solution if FIRST is going to say they don’t want to ship all those extra medals to each event is to instead of teams paying shipping costs let them pick them up at their next event or champs. This doesn’t solve the instant gratification part but it is way better for regional teams (especially international ones) who have an automatic bid to Champs with 3/4 of these awards and district teams who win something at their first event have a second event guaranteed to pick up at.

AndyMark does this. Maybe AndyMark can get into the medals business.

This doesn’t solve anything, unless I’m missing something. Regional trucks are packed for the competition season when they depart HQ. The only time stuff is shipped directly to events is if it missed the truck for some reason, there needs to be a replacement, or occasional carpet related things. If HQ has to pay to mail medals to future regionals, it’s presumably the same cost as mailing it to teams. Unless you’re suggesting packing the extra qty on the truck regardless but not letting teams pick it up until a future event after they’ve confirmed they paid.

Either way, this feels a little moronic. Just pack more medals and take this as a loss. Or get slightly cheaper medals so that everyone can have one. Or do all medals post-event. Something.

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The logistics of mailing to a potential 3000+ locations for free is a bigger undertaking than the 170 currently scheduled regional/district events. You also can send multiple teams medals in the same shipment further cutting your costs. If you want to limit this to just being an option to pick up at champs the logistics become even simpler and cheaper since it would be one large shipment.

This is an interesting idea however with the current attitude of FIRST I imagine a team such as mine who won multiple events in a single year would only get 1 “free” batch of medals for each type of award since they are not distinguishable between events. I am aware that this is a niche issue but I would rather have a chance at 30 medals each event and then have to buy more if i need to than 1 medal “free” for each member and then potentially having to have them pay for more if we win more.