In FIRST® Tech Challenge, teams of up to 10 students explore the possibilities of STEM through designing, building, programming, and operating robots to play a competition challenge in an alliance format. They practice engineering principles while realizing the value of teamwork, innovation, and sharing ideas, and participants are eligible to apply for $80M+ in college scholarships.
What is FIRST Tech Challenge?
FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) is a student-centered program that focus on giving students a unique and stimulating experience. Each year, teams engaged in a new Game where they design, build, test and program autonomous and driver operated robots that could perform series of task.
There are FTC core values for students to follow. It is more than a robotics competition. Gracious Professionalism is a term to describe the program’s intent. A more detailed description of FTC could be found on the FTC website from FIRST USA. (https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc)
Students that engage in the FTC program develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and sharing ideas. Tournaments are exciting sporting events with head-to-head competition, judging interviews and awards.
On the tournament day, teams have to complete the following events:
It is divided into qualification matches and elimination matches. Teams are scheduled to compete in a number of qualification matches with their robots. One match is made up of two two-team alliances. These two alliance compete against each other to complete the game challenge and to earn the highest score. After finishing qualification matches, there would be a ranking. Teams in the top ranks can choose their alliance partner to compete in the elimination matches to decide which alliance is the Winning Alliance.
Teams have spent a significant time designing, building, programming their robot, and learning what it takes to be part of a team. It is a great chance for judges to know the experiences of the teams. In addition to an interview, teams need to hand in their engineering notebook, which is a complete documentation of the team. It is also a judging criteria of Inspire Award.
What Equipment to use in FTC?
A FIRST Tech Challenge Robot is controlled by a new, Android based platform powered by Snapdragon processors.
Teams will use two (2) Android devices to control their Robot and compete in a “Sports Start” model of competition. The Android based platform replaces the LEGO NXT, Samantha unit, and the Field Control System that were used in previous seasons.
Instead, one Android device will be mounted directly onto the Robot and act as a Robot Controller. The other Android device will be connected to a pair of gamepads and will act as the Driver Station.
Two Robotics System – “Modern Robotics” and “REV Robotics modules can be connected to an Android device or PC controller to create a powerful robotics system.
In Modern Robotics, The Android device drives the system via USB, connected to the Core Power Distribution Module. Other modules are connected to the Power Distribution Module’s integrated USB hub.
Any combination of modules can be connected so if a project requires 8 DC motors and 8 servos, 4 Motor Control Modules and 2 Servo Control Modules can be connected together with a Device Interface to support sensors and other devices.
In REV Robotics, The Android device drives the system via USB , connected to the Expansion Hub. It is loaded with hardware interface options to enable driving 4 DC motors and 6 servos, interfacing with sensors, and communicating with other devices via several protocol options.
MATRIX Robotics is official building system allowed in FTC Hong Kong.
Modern Robotics has teamed up with MATRIX to supply MATRIX sets and components. The Modern Robotics controllers, sensors and other electronics have been tested and proven to work well with the MATRIX system.
The MATRIX building system was designed from the ground up to be a complete 3D metal building system, something that most other building systems are not. It’s 3D design allows builders to intuitively create and build and promotes good engineering practices.