PNW FRC Teams - LEAP event in November

NW FRC Teams,
Team 1540, the Flaming Chickens, has been working with Autodesk and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) on a cool new pre-season event for FIRST Robotics Competition teams…LEAP, Linking Engineering And Philanthropy. Thanks to Autodesk, this competition also comes with serious financial awards for the winning three teams so read on.

LEAP is an event that encourages FRC students to apply the skills they’ve learned in FIRST towards real-world challenges for area non-profits. It works with different organizations to provide an opportunity for these students to gain experience, while also developing actual solutions that will benefit others. OMSI has volunteered to go first and they have a pressing need. They are redesigning much of the museum around design-based themes. The Turbine Hall, for example, will have a set of integrated exhibits under the theme “Move.” They’d like the help of FRC teams to generate creative ideas for the contents of this space.

Autodesk has stepped forward to sponsor prizes for the top three teams. $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second, and $1,000 for third. This money goes to your FRC team for use this season.

The kickoff (in-person and webcast) is the evening of Nov 20th. Teams will show what they’ve created the evening of Sunday, Nov 23rd to the judges and public.

Many more details and registration are at Capacity is limited to the first 20 LEAP teams. A single FRC team can currently register up to 3 LEAP teams. If we get over subscribed we’ll dial that back. Anyway, first come first served.

First an update to the LEAP (Linking Engineering And Philanthropy) competition with OMSI kicking off Nov 20th. This is now open to high school FTC teams as well as FRC teams. Pass the word to any FTC teams you might be in contact with.

There have been questions about how big a LEAP team needs to be and the time commitment. Kevin Kearns, the VP of Exhibits at OMSI, has run these kinds of competitions before in his previous position in Vancouver BC. In his experience the concept quality of the entries are quite decoupled from the time teams have to generate them. Sometimes he gives teams weeks and sometimes a day and the resulting idea quality doesn’t change much. What would change in our case is the quality of the CADs and other presentation materials. It’s up to you how far to go in that regard. It being the first year for LEAP I wouldn’t expect teams to go crazy.

You can make some educated guesses as to the other constraints that will be unveiled on kickoff night Nov 20th. If your team has already brainstormed some exhibit ideas, you can select from those when the contest details are announced and hit the ground running. From there, I’ll bet three people would be able to generate a credible entry assuming at least one of them is up to speed on CAD. If the teams get too big they would be hard to manage so I’d recommend LEAP teams in the 3-8 people range.

Autodesk has put up some serious money for prizes for LEAP. Don’t leave it on the table. We’re capping the number of LEAP teams at 20, first come first served.

Go to for details and registration. You can register up to three teams if you have enough people interested.

LEAP (Linking Engineering and Philanthropy) is this weekend for PNW teams. The kickoff for this event is Thursday 11/20 at 7:30pm PST sharp. If you are taking part, or just want to see what it’s about for next year, you have a choice of being part of the kickoff in person at Catlin Gabel School in Portland or joining us on the web via Google Hangouts On Air. Currently there are 11 teams taking part, a great first year. You can read more and sign up at

Come to Catlin Gabel School, 8825 SW Barnes Rd, Portland, OR , park in the main parking lot and come to the James Miller Library and it’s Gerlinger Auditorium downstairs. Doors will open at 7:00pm with the event starting at 7:30pm. We’ll watch an introductory 8 minute video, add some more information live, and then pepper Kevin Kearns, VP of exhibits at OMSI (and one of the judges), with questions. We expect most people will join via the web but if you are coming to the live event at Catlin, drop me a line with a headcount so I can save seats for you.

Go to and hit refresh around 7:25pm Thursday. At that point you will be able to:
1- Watch the LEAP video. This can be watched via YouTube or a dropbox link. Some schools block one or the other of these so some testing in advance would be a good idea. YouTube you can test by going there and watching cat videos. Dropbox you can test by playing one of our STEMcentric tutorials at

  1. After you’ve watched the LEAP video, join the Google Hangout On Air. You will see a button taking you there on the page. You can test Google Hangouts now by going to and joining one. You’ll need a Google account and Chrome is advised. The intro & Q&A will start at 7:40pm Thursday though it will be live at 7:15pm or so just so you can get everything working. We’ll keep that live while we’re watching the short movie here at Catlin but you’d be far better off watching the movie with the Youtube or dropbox links (#1 above.) Q&A is via text, not audio. To ask a question you hit the little icon with nine blocks at the top of the Hangouts player page and click on Q&A. We’ll have someone monitoring those questions. All this will be recorded on YouTube and posted on the kickoff page.

  2. Read the rules. We’ll go over many of them briefly during the Q&A but you’ll see the button taking you there on the page.

Everyone, whether putting together a booth or not, is invited to check out what the teams have come up with at the judging Sunday from 5:00-7:00pm. Teams can start loading in at 4:00pm (not before). Judging starts at 5:00pm.