FIRST Tech Challenge

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FIRST Tech Challenge
Current season, competition or edition:
Cascade Effect
FIRST Tech challenge logo.png
Formerly FIRST Vex Challenge
Sport Robotics-related games
Inaugural season 2005
Country International
Venue(s) Union Station in St. Louis (world level), numerous smaller locations (state level)
Most recent champion(s) Inspire Award Winner:
Mexico 3141: Bears
Champion Teams:
United States 7013: Hot Wired Robotics
United States 5257: Eagles Robotics Xperience
United States 4240: Techno Clovers
TV partner(s) NASA TV
Related competitions FIRST Robotics Competition
FIRST Lego League
Junior FIRST Lego League
Founder Dean Kamen
Official website FTC

The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.[1] The ultimate goal of FTC is to reach more young people with a lower-cost, more accessible opportunity to discover the excitement and rewards of science, technology, engineering and math.

History[edit]

The FIRST Tech Challenge grew out of the existing FIRST Robotics Competition and the IFI Robovation platform. FIRST, RadioShack, and Innovation First collaborated to develop an improved version of the IFI Robovation kit. The kit was significantly upgraded and called the Vex Robotics Design System. For the 2008 season Pitsco developed a platform that uses the NXT brick along with additional hardware and a new structural framework under the new name of TETRIX. Using aluminum parts that will allow participants to add Lego parts and sensors, the kit includes 4 DC motors and larger wheels. In addition to hardware changes, the system may now be programmed using ROBOTC and LabVIEW.

In 2005-06, FIRST piloted the FIRST Vex Challenge as a potential program.[2] The pilot season brought together over 130 teams to compete in 6 regional tournaments[citation needed] in a 1/3 scale FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar.[3] Fifty teams participated in the FVC tournament at the FIRST Championship in April, 2006. On April 29, 2006 the FIRST Board of Directors voted to extend FVC for the 2006-2007 season.

In Summer 2007, after two seasons as the FIRST Vex Challenge, FIRST announced that the program would be renamed the FIRST Tech Challenge.

Competition[edit]

There is a new challenge every year, meaning there are new aspects to the game every season. However, games are always played on a 12' by 12' square/diamond field covered in rubberized floor tiles. The game is played by two alliances (red and blue) of two teams each, for a total of four robots on the field during each match. At the start of a match, the robots cannot exceed 18" in height, width or length, but can expand during play. In each match, there is an autonomous period followed by an operator-controlled period. Depending on the year, the autonomous period can range from 20 to 45 seconds (30 is the most common) and the operator controlled period lasts 2 minutes.

Along with building and programming a robot, FTC teams are required to create an 'Engineering Notebook' that documents their build season and team experience.[4] It helps teams learn the value of the engineering process and gives them an opportunity to reflect on their experiences and improve. It also shows the judges at tournaments what the teams have overcome throughout the year.

Schedule[edit]

In September each year, FIRST announces the game challenge to FTC teams at Kickoff. Unlike FRC, there is no 'ship day' when the robot has to be finished; teams can work on their robots up to and during competitions.[5] Qualifying Tournaments and State Championships occur from October through March, and the World Championship is held in April.[6]

Events[edit]

Official FTC events are Qualifying or Championship Tournaments; unofficial events are Scrimmage Tournaments. From Championship Tournaments, teams are invited to one of four Super-Regional Championship Tournaments (for US teams only) and then the World Championship based on predetermined advancement criteria. Qualifying Tournaments exist in areas with a large number of teams. Winners of Qualifying Tournaments are invited to Championship Tournaments and winners of Championship tournaments are invited to Super-Regional Tournaments.[7]

Teams advance from one level of competition to the next based on the advancement criteria laid out in the first part of that year's Game Manual. The advancement criteria for the 2014-2015 season are listed below.[8]

Advancement Criteria
1. Qualifier Host Team (optional)
2. Inspire Award Winner
3. Winning Alliance Captain
4. Inspire Award 2nd place
5. Winning Alliance, 1st team selected
6. Inspire Award 3rd place
7. Think Award Winner
8. Finalist Alliance Captain
9. Connect Award Winner
10. Finalist Alliance, 1st team selected
11. Rockwell Collins Innovate Award Winner
12. PTC Design Award Winner
13. Motivate Award Winner
14. Control Award Winner
15. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
16. Think Award 2nd Place
17. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
18. Connect Award 2nd Place
19. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
20. Rockwell Collins Innovate Award 2nd Place
21. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
22. PTC Design Award 2nd Place
23. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
24. Motivate Award Winner 2nd Place
25. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
26. Control Award Winner 2nd Place
27. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
28. Think Award 3rd Place
29. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
30. Connect Award 3rd Place
31. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
32. Rockwell Collins Innovate Award 3rd Place
33. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
34. PTC Design Award 3rd Place
35. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
36. Motivate Award Winner 3rd Place
37. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
38. Control Award Winner 3rd Place
39. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank until all spots are filled.

Awards[edit]

The following are awards presented at official Championship and Qualifying Tournaments:[9]

For Teams
  • Inspire Award
  • Rockwell Collins Innovate Award
  • Motivate Award
  • Connect Award
  • Think Award
  • PTC Design Award
  • Control Award
  • Promote Award
  • Winning Alliance Award
  • Finalist Alliance Award
For Individuals
  • Compass Award

Competition themes[edit]

In the past, the challenges have been based on several different themes:

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc
  2. ^ "Finding the Top Bot: High School Students (and Their Robots) Take the Prize at Tech Challenge". Scientific American. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "2005 Vex Field". chiefdelphi.com. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Get Over It! Game Manual". FIRST. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Making the move to FTC". FLL® Community Stories. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "2011- 2012 FTC Season Calendar". FIRST. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  7. ^ http://www.usfirst.org/sites/default/files/uploadedFiles/Robotics_Programs/FTC/Game_Info/2013/FTC-2013-2014_Game_Manual_Part_1.pdf
  8. ^ "Game Manual Part 1". FIRST. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Game Manual Part 1". FIRST. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 

External links[edit]