(NEW) Future Innovator Award presented by the Abbott Fund

So there’s a new award out and its REALLY AWESOME. But I have some concerns about it. What are they expecting students to make within in three months. Is it too time consuming to finish in such a short amount of time?
And what kind of ‘inventions’ are they expecting?

I understand that fact that they’re letting us do what we want to do and its all independent and all but FIRST should in some way at least help the participants protect their ideas and projects. Its not easy to file for Patents and its costly too.
Here’s the link:

It will be very difficult to get something out in three months.

The challenges, problems to be solved are:

  • National Academy of Engineering 14 Grand Challenges : http://www.engineeringchallenges.org
  • Autonomy, navigation, and mobility solutions for emergency, rescue, and security responses
  • Revolutionizes robotics for the mass market
  • Solutions for home, hospital, and public environments
  • Space solutions – lunar robots, mars robots, satellite autonomous programming

The cost for a provisional filing is very low, $ 125 - $ 250. The cost in terms of effort and finances to fulfill may vastly exceed the filing fee. Some of you may figure out how to really get things done on the cheap.

On the idea protection I disagree with you.

It is your idea, your project, your invention, your innovation. Up to the point that you have developed the project and gotten ready for a venture capitalist to inspect, it is your cost, sweat, etc. That is how invention, innovation, entrepreneurship works. And I’d bet filing a provisional patent is far easier than creating your invention.

This is great news indeed. We recently opened the Kell Robotics Innovation Center with many goals. One of the goals is to help train students inside and outside of our team about invention and innovation. Unfortunately that has been a hard sell to many FIRST’ers. Witness the lack of traffic on this thread. Alas, I whine.

But this is GREAT news for the FIRST community.

Ed: what do you think of the timing? Is this something that can happen during the FIRST season? Or is this something that could best happen during the offseason, to be awarded during the FIRST season?

This is a new award and I am very interested in what others think about it.

We have been doing this ‘outside of FIRST’ - now ‘inside of FIRST’ thing for 5 years now. We won the EEA award from SeaWorld, and we are a two year Lemelson-MIT Inventeam.

I can tell you several things for SURE.

  • Doing development work during the FRC season is very demanding. I would tend to warn against it.

  • Doing development work in the off-season is fantastic. It helps build a great team. It hones skills. It helps build ‘public value’ if you promote it.

  • It isn’t quite clear to me yet what will ‘clear the bar’ in terms of how developed and tested the idea has to be.

  • I do not see anything, nor to I expect to see anything that says that it needs to be done during the build season. FIRST has been telegraphing loudly the desire to showcase ‘outside of FIRST competition’ innovation for at least 7 months. My guess is they received limited responses to their inquiries over that time. I think they would be pleased to see teams working during the off-season to promote invention, innovation, and creating ‘public value’ for FIRST programs.

About two years ago I had an opportunity to meet with Dean and talk about the topic of ‘going outside of FIRST’ with other types of innovation. At the time I was frustrated a little with our inability to get other FIRST’ers to ‘get it’ especially in light of our success in the rest of the world ‘getting it’. Dean was emphatic that he ‘got it’ and just keep doing what we do best.

I’m just reading the tea leaves here but from reading the inquiries sent to all teams over the past year, Dean’s comment to me and other, and the selection of Jon Dudas as the new FIRST president, and his role as past head of USPTO, it doesn’t surprise me that this award is now in existence. It just took a little longer than expected. But that doesn’t matter. It is here now.

Take the long view. Go for it now, Go for it later. Have fun inventing.

wow. thats pretty amazing. i wish i was more aware of this and maybe could have even started something familiar in my area. I’ve had some ideas on my team doing workshops for new teams and new robotics members. but this makes it official and allows you to do a lot of interesting things. your team really took robotics to the next level and that is simply amazing. more teams should follow your lead in R&D.

The award was pilot tested in northern California last year. Team 254 won the award for their t-shirt cannon robot, Shockwave. For teams that have had side projects during the preseason, like prototype drivetrains. This would be an excellent opportunity to see if something you came up with is patent-able.

Plus a team does not have to enter. maybe a student on the team had a really cool science project. I am going to ask around my team, you never know if someone has something they might want to enter. A couple weeks ago, I found out two of my students are planning on releasing an android app.

Also, the award goes to the team, but the patent goes to the inventor. Its win-win to ask around to see if someone has something.