The New England District Championship took place last week for all qualified New England FIRST Robotics teams. There were 175 teams, 11 events and hundreds of volunteers to determine which teams would qualify to move forward to the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championships on April 22-25,2015 in St. Louis Missouri. FRC Team 319, which is sponsored by Symbotic, was one of the 51 teams to qualify for the FRC World Championship. Symbotic employee, mentor to Team 319 and co-founder of the FRC GameSense show, Ty Tremblay, was recognized with the NE District’s Volunteer of the Year Award. We sat down with Ty to hear about his involvement and his drive to make FIRST events more accessible.
Why did you originally join a FIRST team?
I was walking to class one day as a freshman in high school and a robot ran me over. After learning more about the rogue robot, the program and FIRST I was hooked. The next day I joined FRC Team 319, changed careers and have never looked back.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a FIRST volunteer and mentor?
Watching Team 319, aka Big Bad Bob, inspire students to pursue engineering careers and to see them have success themselves is incredibly rewarding.
What made you choose to volunteer and mentor Team 319?
Team 319 is the reason I’m an engineer. I mentor 319 because I feel I owe it to the team to help them become the best they can be. Hopefully I can inspire a few students to become engineers along the way.
Congrats on your team making it to the FRC World Championship. How will you help Team 319 prepare for the matches?
Team 319 is making a few improvements between competing in the district championships at WPI last weekend and the FRC World Championships two weekends from now. We’re improving our ability to collect totes so we can make stacks faster. We’re also improving our rear arm to help us put the recycling bins on tall stacks more efficiently. We’ve already achieved consistency, so we’re focusing on small incremental improvements.
What inspired you and your co-founders to create the FRC GameSense show?
We realized that there was a TON of strategic analysis going on in the FRC community, but it was happening mostly at the team and inter-team levels. We wanted to bring strategic discussion to everyone as well as provide a professional, high quality, FRC-centered source of entertainment for the entire community.
How do you think GameSense has aided the FIRST community?
GameSense (GS) the show is helping teams share their ideas and game strategy with teams that don’t have as much experience. We’ve received emails from teams saying that GameSense is now a required material for their drive teams and scouting teams. GS has also helped less popular teams enter the limelight when they have a great performance.
GameSense the organization has helped the FIRST community by putting together an informational series with FIRST called Behind The Lines, where we discussed important topics that every FRC team should understand.
What gave you the idea to stream and archive all of the NE District events?
With New England moving towards the district model, teams needed the ability to gather information about every team in the district, not just the teams they were competing against at their regional events. There were over 1,200 matches played in New England this season and we needed a way to archive and organize the match video so teams had access to it throughout the season.
What do you hope to see in the next five years of FIRST?
I’d love to see FRC on Live TV one day.