First, we want to assure teams that ROBOTICON 2021 is not cancelled – but we will not be holding it at the Yuengling Center as originally planned, due to the continuing uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation. We are also not going all remote/virtual as we did last season, during ROBOTICON Digital 2020.
The Show Goes On – Hybrid Style
Instead, we’re splitting the difference and operating ROBOTICON out of AMRoC Fab Lab, which has a full scale FIRST Robotics Competition field, FIRST Tech Challenge field and FIRST LEGO League and VEX competition tables, and livestreaming matches and some of our programming. Check out the draft event agenda here.
2021 ROBOTICON Draft Agenda AMRoC is just two miles west of the University of South Florida, where we normally hold ROBOTICON, and instead of one weekend, ROBOTICON will run for an extended month-long Manufacturing Month event throughout October.
The goal of this extended program is to hold small scale real time matches – no more than 20-25 people on site at a time, masks required – so that participating teams will have some version of an in-person competition experience, in as safe a way as possible. Matches will also be livestreamed on ROBOTICON’s YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels for remote viewing. In between their scheduled match times, teams will be able to attend workshops and classes next door to AMRoC, in a designated classroom space, enjoy tours of Vu Studios and other partner programs, and browse an onsite mini Engineering and Career Expo. All programming, with the possible exception of the Awards Ceremony (which will likely be held in a theater space on the 2nd floor of the mall), will take place within view and easy walking distance of AMRoC Fab Lab, in University Mall. Parking is free and abundant, with space for buses as well.
How it Will Work
FIRST Robotics Competition FRC teams can still plan on the October (8), 9 &10 competition dates originally set, and the opportunity to set up an approximation of pits at AMRoC for their scheduled meet times throughout the weekend. They’ll also be able to enjoy a variety of programming and tours while they’re here, and we’re working on other opportunities for teams to see and do things while in Tampa. The registration fee is being dropped to $200 for the weekend, and teams will have access to all programming on site and online throughout the month, as well, including the in-person awards and closing ceremony on October 24. Our aim is to give FRC teams at least 5 match opportunities on the field, possibly more, depending on the game styles that are finalized. (We’re currently looking at doing FIRST at Home style matches, as well as some of the ones we did for ROBOTICON Digital 2020 – like Soccer and Dance Party) All Other Programs By mid-September, all registered teams will receive assigned days and times on their scheduled weekend to run matches. Teams will have full rules well in advance of the start of the event, and everything will also be posted to the ROBOTICON website as usual. Registration for FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge and VEX teams is $25 per team. For this modified event, we’re asking teams to *PACK LIGHT*! Since AMRoC has a workshop , you won’t need to bring a full machine shop pit sit up. As a matter of fact, instead of the Awesome Pit Awards we usually give out, we’ll be giving out the Efficient Pit Award for the teams in each program who can operate effectively with the least amount of gear!
Look for the other usual Team Spirit, Top Scores, and Gracious Professionalism Awards, along with the ROBOTICON Challenge Award, ROBOTICON CAD Challenge and a few others. We’re even holding Make it Loud Awards to recognize, on a small but we’re confident very loud scale, winners of 2020 remote competition awards!
As you can see in this draft program agenda, we’re also hosting a special Alumni Weekend where teams competing in the NEXT Robotics Competition will get to have their own robot games, plus an Alumni Social. Register your alumni team to compete!
All registered teams will also be able to enjoy HADO AR – an augmented reality dodgeball-like game currently operated out of AMRoC Fab Lab, which is one of only three locations in the country where you can play the game.
Awards and Closing Ceremony
The closing ceremony and awards event will be its own stand alone event – likely on Sunday, October 24, although that part of the event is still being finalized. The event will also be livestreamed and any teams that won awards and can’t be in attendance that evening, will have their awards sent to them.
We know this isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s the most reasonable solution we can provide in a currently complicated world, and we hope that you and your students will make the most of it.
Since the event is being hosted in a public space, at University Mall, we also expect everyone associated with any team in any capacity, from students, to parents, friends, coaches and mentors, to be ultimate Gracious Professionals. University Mall owner, RD Management, is being extraordinarily supportive of AMRoC and ROBOTICON, and the best way to thank them is by being exemplary guests at all times.
Thank you for the trust and confidence you put in ROBOTICON, and we look forward to seeing you at AMRoC in October!