pic: Shenzhen Workshop Group Photo

This is a group photo taken after the morning session of the workshop. The group included various school officials and dignitaries that were in attendance for the morning session.

Today will be the final day of our workshop. It’s gone very well so far, although a bit slower than we had hoped because everything has to be translated. Most of the attendees do speak English so we able to have many good discussions.

The suitcase bot has been a huge help. We’ve spent a lot of time with people crowded around it working to understand how everything in the control system works.

We asked the local organizer to print posters of the suitcase bot so we could do an exercise with removable labels. The attendees had to identify all components in the control system. They printed the posters 4 feet by 6 feet and they look awesome! (The poster jpeg is on FRCDesigns.com)

Our local paper ran a front page, above the fold story about the trip!

Are a lot of the teams in China actually competing or they just getting the kit???

Seems like there’s a lot of potential for China.

Ten teams sounds like an awesome start! Looking at the photo, what struck me was the number of adults in the photo…then I read the post: Most of them are dignitaries and administrators, which makes a lot of sense. And, that’s good, because the kids will get the support they will need.

I am proud and a (little) bit jealous of Team 525, but overall very happy this came together. I can’t wait to see some of those teams at CMP!

Not sure, but several are registered for Lone Star. Probably one of the easier to attend considering there are many direct flights from China to Houston.

Your hard working Lone Star Regional Director is already hunting up translators, drayage space, and a bunch of other things to support the visiting China teams. So she’s certainly convinced they’re the real deal.

If I remember correctly, one Chinese team did ultimately show up at competition last year.

What is this thing I’ve been reading about with teams “just getting the kit”? Is this an official thing now?

Well if you think about it, a team could pay the $5k for the kit and “support,” and then just not show up.

But I’m pretty sure it’s an official thing now

We just finished the training and got back to the hotel a few minutes ago. Overall, it was a totally awesome experience. I feel like I definitely got a lot out of it. The teams in attendance were great - they asked lots of great questions. All the preparation we did over the last two months to get ready really paid off.

We’ll be spending the day in Hong Kong tomorrow and flying back on Saturday.

As of now, we expect the teams to go to the regionals. One team did drop out, 5303 I believe. The rest are still planning to go.

This is awesome!

Is China going to be the next Israel for FRC? Is there much school and sponsor interest??

The main sponsor at this time is dadalele (dadalele.com) The schools seem to be interested, but at this time the high cost of travel to US regionals is a problem for most schools. If they can sustain long enough to get their own regional it would help quite a bit.

A few thoughts on our trip:

Everyone we met was very kind, gracious and helpful - we made a lot of new friends. We had great food all week long. (Chopsticks at every meal – it was a good time.)

Our hotel was just a few minutes from the school that hosted us. There are 5,000 students at this school (4830’s school.) They are at the school from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, six days a week and most of the year. They are interested in doing student exchange with us, although the schedule they keep may be a bit intimidating.

The teams were very interested in the topics we discussed and asked great questions.

We brought along mecanum wheels for our suitcase bot but were not sure we should show them. The class asked about mecanums so we made sure they understood the trade-offs and put the wheels on. They were a big hit.

We also brought along a small, fully self-contained pneumatic system that plugged into our suitcase bot. We weren’t sure if we should bring up pneumatics but the class asked, so we got the pneumatics board out and explained how everything worked.

We gave out team buttons and team posters from last year. We also brought along special dadalele / Swartdog T-shirtsand passed those out. 50+ Swartdog T-shirts will be seen around China!

We finished the week with a sightseeing trip to Hong Kong. The day ended with dinner aboard a ferry on a night cruise around Victoria Harbour with the amazing city lights of Hong Kong in the background.

We got to spend three days talking about FIRST, with people that were truly interested in what we had to say. (We posed for more photographs in three days than probably any of us ever have before!) We even signed a couple of autographs for people in the class.

It was such a good experience that it leaves me a bit philosophical: this all started with a chance encounter at Champs in 2012 with a parent sitting in a hallway making buttons. I guess the time to seize an opportunity is when it’s right there in front of you.

We leave in a few hours to go to the airport and fly back home. (I hope I can recover from the jet lag of the 14 hour time difference in time for kickoff!)