LEAP (Linking Engineering and Philanthropy) is an event for FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) & High School FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams, generously supported by Autodesk. It is designed to get robotics teams out in the community and using their engineering skills to help non-profits. As FIRST likes to say, “It’s not about the robot.” 


FIRST Robotics is an amazing opportunity for high school students to develop interest and skills in engineering. However, in the heat of the competition, the primary intent of this program can be obscured. As a result, we developed a program that encourages students to apply their skills to the real world.

LEAP 2017

FIRST Robotics inspires students to imagine, design, and create a better world for the next generation, LEAP gives teams a chance to put their skills to use in the real world.

LEAP, or Linking Engineering and Philanthropy aims to help FIRST teams apply their skills to real-world problems in their communities. At the end of LEAP, the teams have come up with a tangible product or design to answer a customer’s needs. This in itself solves a real-world problem and improves our community, but LEAP multiplies this impact far beyond the single invention that teams come up with for the competition. Once we’ve used the structured environment of LEAP to teach the teams the process and make them believe that they can apply their skills to improve their community, they can go out and design projects of their own.  Some examples of these from our team can be found under our "Projects" pulldown.

LEAP 2017 will begin October 21st, 2017

Target Non-Profit: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Challenge: Announced at the start of LEAP.  See 2014 below for an idea of what these look like.
Kickoff: FIRSTfare, Saturday Oct 21st Gladstone High
Final Presentations and Awards: Sunday Oct 29, OMSI
Sponsor: Autodesk
Prizes: $7,000 in prize money will be distributed to FIRST teams who participate.

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LEAP 2014

LEAP 2014 began the evening of Thursday, November 20th with a kick-off in which teams were given their engineering challenge from a high profile non-profit. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) volunteered to be our guinea pig for the 2014 iteration of LEAP.

OMSI was re-thinking much of their museum and moving away from demonstrating isolated physical phenomena and towards design around unifying themes at the time of LEAP 2014. The theme of a portion of their Turbine Hall was "Move."  They asked for the help of FIRST Robotics teams, who know a thing or two about moving, to help inform this redesign.  Once LEAP teams had details of the challenge, they will spent the weekend creating a solution and an engaging way to present it to judges.

In this competition, teams developed CADs, prototypes, mockups, etc. to sell their ideas to judges.  CAD was an important part of this process because it helped everyone understand what the final exhibit could look like where as the prototypes were pretty rough. Autodesk Inventor or Fusion 360 were used to earn points for this portion. Autodesk provides this software at no charge to FIRST teams at www.autodesk.com/first.  Adult mentors were allowed to answer questions and help brainstorm, of course, but were not allowed to do the CAD, mockup, or prototype construction. 

See the kickoff video from 2014 with challenge details.

Here are the rules from 2014.

Photo gallery from 2014


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