Volunteers wanted for FTC 2020 revents

We are always looking for volunteers for FIRST Tech Challenge events in the North Texas Region.  Volunteers can take a variety of roles, including Judges, Referees, Score Trackers, Inspectors, Hospitality, and more.   Descriptions of each of these roles is given below.

Because of public health guidance, many of the 2020-2021 season events will be conducted remotely, meaning we primarily need judges for our events.  Judging will take place the morning of each event via online Zoom interviews, followed by deliberations with a Judge Advisor to determine event award winners.

To volunteer at a North Texas FTC event,

For convenience, you can directly apply to a North Texas event by clicking one of the links below:

Volunteer role descriptions (to be updated for 2020):

Judges select team award recipients through interaction with teams. Documentation regarding team background information is provided to familiarize judges with teams.  Interview and observe teams in the judging rooms, the pit, and on the playing field.  Judging is generally an all-day commitment; the morning is spent interviewing teams and after that the judges deliberate and visit individually with teams to determine event winners.

Referees observe team matches, identifies rule violations, and “call” them. Referees help the competitors to avoid breaking the rules of the Game. Referees participate in deliberations regarding contested calls, working directly through the Head Referee.  Referees are needed when matches start (usually around 10:30am) and for the remainder of the event.  Referees can also volunteer as Inspectors.

Robot Inspectors and Field Inspectors are responsible to ensure every robot follows the guidelines outlined in FIRST Tech Challenge Game Manual Part 1 and are ready to compete on the field. The inspection process involves filling out a checklist for every robot and placing a label or other unique tag on the robot after it passes inspection.  Inspections generally take place in the early morning and are finished before matches begin (usually around 10:30am), which means that Inspectors can also volunteer to be Referees.

There are many more roles available, including Announcers, Queuers, Runners, Registration / Checkin, Hospitality, and more.

FTC 2020-2021 Qualifying Tournaments Information

Qualifier Event Pre-registration and Registration

Pre-registration Round 1 for North Texas FTC Qualifying Tournaments is now open.

In pre-registration, teams fill out an online form to indicate their qualifier preferences for the upcoming season.  For the 2020-2021 season, Round 1 of the pre-registration form will enable teams to request spots at early-season qualifiers (Feb 20 through Mar 20), as well as let us know if they are seeking remote qualifiers or in-person qualifiers for the late season (Mar 20 through Apr 30).

There is no charge for pre-registration, and completing the form does not register a team for any events.  This simply establishes a team’s priority claim for available event spots.  Events will generally be assigned to teams based on when form responses are received and the availability of event spots.

Even though teams are not required to pay event registration fees to pre-register, teams must pay their $275 national registration fee with FIRST (via the firstinspires.org Dashboard) before they will be assigned an event.  (Teams that have received a Texas Workforce Commission grant from FIRST in Texas will be assumed to have paid their national fees, even if the funding hasn’t officially been sent yet.)

The national registration cost is separate from tournament entry fees.  For 2020-2021, remote qualifiers will be $100 per team and in-person qualifiers will be $175 per team.  

Early-season Qualifiers (Feb 20-Mar 20):  All early-season qualifiers will be remote events.  Our current schedule for early-season qualifiers

  • Feb 27 – UT-Dallas Qualifier REMOTE
  • Mar 6 – Aledo Qualifier REMOTE
  • Mar 13 – FLYSET Qualifier REMOTE (FULL)
  • Mar 20 – Hedrick Qualifier REMOTE (rescheduled from Feb 20)

The date given for each event is when judging will occur, events will then be played and submitted in the days that follow. 

To enroll in one of these qualifiers, complete the pre-registration form.  We expect that every team that wants an early season event will be able to have one; and we’ll allow teams to have more than one if there’s space available to do so.

Late-season Qualifiers (Mar 20-Apr 30): We are still finalizing our schedule of late-season qualifiers, in the hopes that we can find sufficient venues to hold some in-person events for teams that want an in-person experience.  We will announce the schedule for late-season qualifiers sometime in early February.

We expect to have 6-8 late-season qualifiers available, or enough to guarantee every team that wants a late-season qualifier a spot.  Some qualifiers will be in remote format, others will have in-person matches if public health guidelines allow it and we’re able to find venues to host such events.

Teams will be able to request spots at late-season qualifiers in Round 2 of preregistration, which will open sometime in February.  We will guarantee each team ONE late-season qualifier event; additional spots may become available via waitlists that will open in March.

As event assignments are made the team contacts will receive “reservation tickets” for their assigned events; the reservation tickets will contain instructions about completing registration and payment options for the events.  Unclaimed reservations will expire sometime prior to the event date and the spots released to other teams on waitlists or that request additional events.

For more information about qualifier registration, contact pmichaud@firstintexas.org.

FTC Zoom Clinic 1107b – Using the IMU with OnBot Java

2020-11-07 @ 1:00pm, Zoom Webinar

This clinic will cover “Using the IMU with OnBot Java”, and take a look at the IMU (Inertial Motion Unit) sensor built-in to REV Expansion and Control Hubs and how it can be used in FTC. The IMU contains a gyro sensor, accelerometers, and other onboard processing that can provide useful orientation and other information to the robot.

Registration for the clinic is at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qde-hpj4qH9dXSYuiKfVTwUA45WjZV-36 .


FTC Zoom Clinic 1107a – Introduction to OnBot Java

2020-11-07 @ 10:00am - 12:00pm, Zoom Webinar

This clinic will be an “Introduction to OnBot Java”, starting at 10:00am. In this clinic will will look at methods to access OnBot Java, the basics of OpMode programming and steps needed to get a basic driving robot working. If time permits, we’ll also look at accessing sensors in OnBot Java. (If time doesn’t permit, we’ll schedule a subsequent clinic on the topic. 🙂

Registration for the clinic is at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkd-yvrT4vGtGqqH6zMqHYIV_1Se1qTxcc .

FTC Zoom Clinic 0919 – Onshape CAD demonstration

2020-09-19 @ 10:00am - 12:00pm, Zoom Webinar

This will be a 2-hour clinic with a demonstration of Onshape CAD, an online computer aided design platform that is becoming popular among many FIRST teams.

In this demonstration, we’ll look at the FTC parts library, and reprise the creation of the mecanum-style drivetrain that was done in earlier Zoom clinics (with Fusion 360).

More information about using Onshape for FTC, including instructions on registering for a free account, are available at https://apps.ptc.com/schools/FIRST/OnshapeforFIRSTTeams.pdf .

FTC Zoom Chat/Clinic 0917 – Hardware and tools

2020-09-17 @ 7:00pm - 8:30pm, Zoom Webinar

This is part of our weekly NTX FTC Zoom Chat/Clinic sessions, where we gather to discuss FTC news and provide tips and suggestions for the FIRST Tech Challenge competition.

For this September 17 meeting, we’ll review some of the hardware build platforms (REV, ServoCity, GoBilda, Tetrix, and more), as well as some tool recommendations. We’ll also take questions about this year’s “Ultimate Goal” challenge.

Pm’s current tool recommendation list is at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rWCXvMjU0nxdIVnDn9Vz4hUlY3pgEAN2rcXEQ8M_yNA/edit?usp=sharing — feel free to make suggestions for additions/improvements!

FTC 2020 Season Kickoff and Game Review, Session 2

2020-09-14 @ 7:00pm - 9:00pm, Zoom Webinar

Thank you to everyone who attended our kickoff webinar yesterday — we really enjoyed sharing the kickoff with all of you and having an opportunity to answer your initial game-related questions.  We’ve posted the video of yesterday’s kickoff event online, and we’re also planning to hold a “session 2” webinar tomorrow (Monday) at 7pm.

The video from the September 12 kickoff is available at


Registration for this “session 2” webinar at 7pm is available at


We know that we ran out of time in the original kickoff before we could address many questions, so this event is another chance for us to address those questions, as well as for teams to ask new ones they’ve discovered after studying the rules further and thinking about robot designs a bit.

Registration is free.   We’ll also have another NTX FTC Zoom Chat/Clinic on September 17 at 7pm (registration link coming soon) where we’ll take a few additional questions and start to look at some broader robot design and season topics.

We hope to see many of you at this second kickoff webinar.


FTC 2020 Season Kickoff and Game Review

2020-09-12 @ 1:00pm - 2:30pm, Zoom Webinar

North Texas FTC will be holding our 2020-2021 “Ultimate Goal” Season Kickoff online on Saturday, September 12 starting at 1:00pm CDT. The purpose of the kickoff is to give teams more information about the game field elements and rules, and to provide an opportunity to ask questions about the game/field and get a sense of this year’s game components.

The kickoff will take place as a Zoom webinar.  Registration for the webinar is required — register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pMVJ6wE8SW2ox5w4eUa6eQ .

The FIRST Tech Challenge official kickoff and video will be broadcast online at 11:00am CDT and last approximately one hour.  We’ll then take an hour break for teams to be able to have some lunch, review the FIRST videos, and download/view copies of the manuals and rules.  We’ll then start this North Texas FTC webinar at 1:00pm.  Our local experts will give a detailed review of the field components, scoring elements, and other details, as well as provide some additional overview/insights into game rules and game play.  More importantly, we’ll be taking your questions — we’ll have cameras, pieces, and experts at the ready to try to answer the questions you may have about the upcoming game.

We’ll also have a followup webinar later in the week.

Look for registration links and other announcements on the North Texas FTC Google Group.  We look forward to the kickoff on Saturday!




STEMpump Online

2020-05-26 @ 3:00pm - 2020-06-30 @ 5:00pm

Hi everyone, hope you and your family are doing well during this tough time. While the FTC season is over, we can use this time to sharpen and learn new skills. Last September, we started a program called STEMpump, you might’ve heard or attended one of our classes.

STEMpump is a student-led initiative that teaches students the best of STEM technologies. We cover everything, from programming, robotics, even game design. We teach free STEM camps in the community. However, due to current events, we have had to cancel all our physical events.

Introducing STEMpump Online: All new, every week. Always free. It’s our solution to bring the latest in STEM to everyone. We are teaching skills for a STEM-focused future, including Web Design, Python, and Autodesk Inventor. Interested? Just signup @ stempump.com/camps

More specifically towards FTC and robotics, we are teaching the following camps:

  • FTC Programming (5/26, 6/2, 6/9 from 3-5PM CST)
  • FTC Judging (6/5, 6/12, 6/19 from 3-4PM CST)
  • Autodesk Inventor (6/16, 6/23, 6/30 from 3-5PM CST)

All these camps are over the course of three weeks, meeting for 2 hours a week. The link above has descriptions and more information. If you have any questions, head over to our website and feel free to contact us.

Thanks, Ritesh Kanchi

North Texas FTC Regional Championship

2020-02-15, Wylie East High School

Thank you to our event sponsors!


The Regional FTC Championship for North Texas will be held on February 15, 2020, at Wylie East High School in Wylie, Texas. Forty-eight teams will be competing for awards and a chance to attend the FTC World Championship in Houston, Texas in April 2020.


We’re looking for volunteers for this huge event!  Apply to volunteer at  https://my.firstinspires.org/Volunteers/Wizard/Search/2?EventId=48708 , or see the Volunteer page for more information about the available volunteer opportunities and how to apply.

Invited Team List

(47 teams as of 2020-02-10)
127 Fighting Pickles, Ben Barber Innovation Academy, Mansfield
6566 Circuit Breakers, Aledo High School, Aledo
6832 Iron Reign, School of Science and Engineering, Dallas
7172 Technical Difficulties, Technical Difficulties, Plano
8406 Filthy Horde, Hughes Springs High School, Hughes Springs
8418 The League of Legendary Scientists, Community Team, Plano
8565 Technicbots, FLYSET.org, Plano
8626 Protosurge, UME PREPARATORY ACADEMY, Dallas
8811 Robo*Bison Amistad, Sunset High School, Dallas
9010 Robotic Rangers, Prince of Peace Christian School, Carrollton
9161 Overload, Aledo High School, Aledo
9386 E + E Robotics, E + E Robotics, Frisco
9511 Low Voltage, Harmony Science Academy – Carrollton, Carrollton
9626 Hockabots, The Hockaday School, Dallas
10143 Aero, Harmony School of Innovation -, Fort Worth
11085 MHS Mad Hackers, Mansfield High School, Mansfield
11341 ViBøTs, Vines, Plano
11425 MAVBOTS, Murphy Middle School Plano ISD, Murphy
11563 Hedrick Garage, Hedrick Middle School, Flower Mound
12430 (J) NEST, Wylie East High School, Wylie
12791 Hazardous Narwhals, FMHS Tech Club, Flower Mound
12919 TechnoWarriors, Coppell, Irving
12929 Electric Lions, McMillen HS, Murphy
12977 Rust In Peace, Plano West Senior High School, Plano
13213 Psi Fighters, Neighborhood, Frisco/Allen/Plano
13227 Mechanicats, Woodrow Wilson HS Academy of Engineering, Dallas
13472 The Dork Side, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Fort Worth
13542 Typhoon, Emmett J Conrad High School Chargers, Dallas
13811 High Voltage, Aledo High School, Aledo
13916 Retrobots, Woodrow Wilson HS Academy of Engineering, Dallas
14355 Jaguar FTC 1, FMHS Tech Club, Flower Mound
14415 Ball Lightning, Ferris ISD: Ferris High School, Ferris
14524 PESHBots, Plano East Senior High School, Plano
14786 Desert Camels-Jaguar FTC, FMHS Tech Club, Flower Mound
14881 Be Gone Bots, FMHS Tech Club, Flower Mound
14904 Lakehill Bionicles, Lakehill Preparatory School, Dallas
14962 Robo-Sapiens, Hughes Springs High School, Hughes Springs
15084 Envision, Lowery Freshman Center, Allen
15176 Broken Axles, Broken Axles, Plano
15648 Wonder Pets, Alcuin School, Dallas
16012 BlazingBots, Hillsboro Jr High, Hillsboro
16176 CDA Circuit Breakers, Coram Deo Academy, Plano
16272 Mark X, Wheelhouse robotics, Irving
16405 Federal Bot Institute, Renner Middle School Plano ISD, Plano
16859 Starfleet, SRA – Stem & Robotics Academy, Frisco
16985 Shockwave, Emmett J Conrad High School Chargers, Dallas
17294 Over Drive, Independence High School, Frisco

Quick notes

– REMEMBER: Gracious Professionalism (remind your teams!)
– REQUIRED: Arrange payment of team’s registration fees
– REQUIRED: Remember your team roster, consent/release forms for additional members
– REQUIRED: Bring safety glasses for everyone in pit areas and competition area
– REQUIRED: Engineering notebook
– REQUIRED: Robot (and batteries, controllers, etc.)
– RECOMMENDED: Self-inspect robots prior to Saturday (see forms)

Tournament notes

Overall, keep in mind that this is a championship-level tournament which means that teams will be performing at a higher-level throughout the day and potentially at a faster pace than qualifying tournaments. We expect teams to know where they should be and when, to proactively and promptly appear for judging, robot inspection, and matches so as to keep things moving smoothly, and to exhibit Gracious Professionalism throughout the entire event with other teams, volunteers, event officials, and spectators.

Our previous message to teams contained specific notes regarding robots and inspection — be sure to review and address any issues prior to arriving on Saturday. We never like to have a robot fail inspection, but the size and time constraints of this event means we may not have as much flexibility to “hold” inspections open as is sometimes done at earlier-season events.

With respect to judging, we encourage all teams to re-review the Award Descriptions in Game Manual Part I, section 10 — especially those bolded sections regarding the required elements of the Engineering Notebook (section 10.2.4). Judges will be following these requirements closely, and will be looking for clear examples of Engineering Design Process via the Notebook.

Also, a note for veteran teams: Note that the distinctions between Connect and Motivate are now better delineated than in previous seasons. Some activities that teams have previously identified as applying towards the Connect Award are now more closely aligned with the Motivate Award. The judges have also asked us to advise teams with multi-year or multi-team coordinated efforts to clearly differentiate the work of this year’s team from past team efforts or those of partner teams.

For robot and field inspection, robot inspection is likely to be more rigorous than what you may have experienced at a qualifier. Robots that are unable to pass inspection by the end of the inspection period will be unable to participate in qualification matches. And the fact that an inspector passed (or overlooked) a robot at a previous event doesn’t mean it will pass at the Championship.