ftc

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 2019 Qualifying Tournaments Information

Note:  This information is for FIRST TECH Challenge (FTC) teams in North Texas.  FIRST LEGO League teams should get qualifier information from the Perot Museum FLL website .

Event waitlists are now open.

Event preregistration is now closed. Use the waitlist form to request an event.

2019-2020 Qualifying Tournaments

Qualifier Event Waitlist

If you would like to get additional events for your team, you can fill out the form at http://roboplex.org/ftc/waitlist to request to be added to waitlists for remaining events.

As the season progresses, we will periodically re-evaluate team cancellations, changes in registration status, and event capacities to see if additional competition spots are available for teams.  Any available competition spots will generally be given to teams according to the following priority:

  1. Teams without any events
  2. League teams wanting a “second chance” qualifier
  3. Teams having only one event
  4. Teams having two events
  5. All other teams

Within each priority group, any available spots will be allocated by lottery.

In general, teams getting an event invitation from the waitlist will need to either accept the invitation quickly (usually within a 2-3 days) or we will pass the invitation on to the next team.  We will make our best effort to notify teams as soon as possible that an event spot has opened up, but sometimes spots open up at the “last minute” and so you may receive an invitation to an event on short notice.  If you get a event invitation from the waitlist and end up declining it, your team will still be considered for available spots at other events.

Qualifier Event Pre-registration and Registration

Pre-registration for North Texas FTC Qualifying Tournaments is now closed. 

Through pre-registration, teams will be able to fill out an online form to indicate their preferences for qualifier events in the season.  Completing the form does not register a team for any events, it simply establishes a team’s priority claim for available event slots.  No payment for event fees is needed for pre-registration, and events will be generally assigned to teams based on the order of form responses and availability of preferred event slots.

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.  The national registration cost is separate from tournament entry fees; for 2019-2020 we expect qualifier tournament fees to again be $175 per team per 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.)

January Qualifiers:  In order to provide all teams with an opportunity to compete in a January event, pre-registration will give each team a reservation for ONE qualifier taking place after January 1st based on their preferences.  In December we will then open up waitlists and registrations for any events with unclaimed registration spots.

November/December Qualifiers:  Teams that wish to compete at a November or December event can also use the pre-registration form to indicate their preferences.  Teams have the option to choose a second Nov/Dec event instead of a January one, although we cannot guarantee that multiple early-season slots will be available.

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 a few weeks prior to the event date and the spots released to other teams on waitlists or that request additional events.

Teams intending to compete in a league (El Dorado or La Joya) should contact the League Coordinator for registration details, or email Patrick Michaud at patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu.

For more information about qualifier registration, contact patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu .

Control Hub Pilot Program

FIRST Tech Challenge has chosen North Texas to be a “pilot region” for the REV Robotics Control Hub in the 2019-2020 Skystone (presented by Qualcomm) season.

What this means is that teams from North Texas can apply to participate in the pilot and use a REV Robotics Control Hub on their robot in North Texas events and at the World Championship.  The REV Control Hub will not be legal for competition at events in regions that are not part of the pilot program (with some very limited exceptions).

Most of you are familiar with the REV Expansion Hub that was introduced in the Relic Recovery season.  The REV Control Hub combines the features of the Expansion Hub and the Robot Controller Android handset into a single unit, eliminating the need for a separate Robot Controller handset (phone) on the robot.  (An Android handset is still needed for the Driver Station.)  This will provide teams with an option that reduces space and cabling requirements, while retaining the same programming interface, driver controls, and the like.

If none of the above makes sense to you — you can safely ignore it.  Using a Control Hub and/or participation in the pilot is completely optional for teams — teams that wish to continue using the existing REV Expansion Hub and Modern Robotics components will be able to do so for this and future seasons.  There are no plans to retire or obsolete these systems.  

In addition, our expectation and experience is that the REV Control Hub does not create an “uneven playing field” between teams using the Control Hub and ones continuing to use the Expansion Hub setup.

More information about the Control Hub pilot program and how to apply is in the attached PDF document.  Note that teams must be in a pilot region and have completed team registration for the 2019-2020 season prior to applying for the pilot program.

If you have further questions on this program, double-check the attached Pilot Description document, and then send me an email at <patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu>.

Events with 3 advancing teams

Last updated: 2019.12.07

An event with only three advancing teams can arise with from small events.  It’s tempting to look at advancements in terms of percentages (3 teams from a 15-team event is a 20% advancement rate), but that masks the reality of what happens at a 3-team advancing event.

The 3-team advancement outcome

As in another article I wrote a couple of years ago, this analysis is based on the official FTC advancement criteria as given in Game Manual Part I. An FTC event with a 3-team advancement ends up looking like:

* The Inspire Award Winner, Inspire Award 2nd place, and Winning Alliance Captain all advance.

* The Winning Alliance 1st team selected advances only if the Winning Alliance Captain also receives Inspire 1st or Inspire 2nd. It happens, but it’s by no means certain.

* The Inspire 3rd team advances only if both of the Winning Alliance teams received Inspire 1st and Inspire 2nd. Count your lucky stars if this ends up being you.

* None of the other awards advance.

Yes, a 3-advancing team event means that a team can be on the Winning Alliance — even undefeated through all matches — and still not advance.

Impact on Alliance Selection

An event where only three teams advance can have a very definite impact on Alliance Selection.

If your team is in line to be an Alliance Captain (i.e., it is one of the top four ranked teams), and a higher-ranked team asks you to join their alliance, you may very well want to consider declining the invitation so you can become the captain of your own alliance.

If you accept the other team’s invitation and they don’t win Inspire 1st or Inspire 2nd, then you don’t advance even if your alliance ends up winning the tournament.

If you think by declining and forming your own alliance you may beat whatever alliances they and other higher-ranked teams come up with (remember, they all get to pick before you do), then being (Winning) Alliance Captain means you get to advance.

If you’re not in line to be an Alliance Captain when Alliance Selection rolls around, then your only path to advancement is to win the Inspire Award or Inspire 2nd place, or lobby/hope to end up on the Winning Alliance with an Alliance Captain that does win one of those awards.

The bottom line

Advancement opportunities are extremely limited in an event advancing only three teams.  At first glance advancing 3 teams from a 10-team event may seem better “percentage-wise” (30%), but a 20-team event advancing 5 teams (25%) or even just 4 teams (20%) has many many more opportunities for advancement.

Volunteers wanted for FTC 2019 events

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.

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.

To volunteer at a North Texas FTC event,

For convenience, you can directly apply for an event by following one of the links below (coming soon)

FTC 2018 Qualifying Tournaments Information

Note:  This information is for FIRST TECH Challenge (FTC) teams in North Texas.  FIRST LEGO League teams should get qualifier information from the Perot Museum FLL website .

Event preregistration has closed.  We are now allowing teams to waitlist for any event spots that become available.

2018 Qualifying Tournaments

Qualifier Event Waitlist

If you would like to get additional events for your team (or if your team hasn’t received any events yet), you can fill out the form at http://roboplex.org/ftc/waitlist to request to be added to waitlists for remaining events.

As the season progresses, we will periodically re-evaluate team cancellations, changes in registration status, and event capacities to see if additional competition spots are available for teams.  Any available competition spots will generally be given to teams according to the following priority:

  1. Teams without any events
  2. League teams wanting a “second chance” qualifier
  3. Teams having only one event
  4. Teams having two events
  5. All other teams

Within each priority group, any available spots will be allocated by lottery.

In general, teams getting an event invitation from the waitlist will need to either accept the invitation quickly (usually within a 2-3 days) or we will pass the invitation on to the next team.  We will make our best effort to notify teams as soon as possible that an event spot has opened up, but sometimes spots open up at the “last minute” and so you may receive an invitation to an event on short notice.  If you get a event invitation from the waitlist and end up declining it, your team will still be considered for available spots at other events.

Current published registration stats:

Qualifier Event Pre-registration and Registration

Pre-registration for North Texas FTC Qualifying Tournaments will open on September 28 at 11:00am CDT.  When pre-registration opens, teams will be able to fill out an online form to indicate their preferences for qualifier events in the season.  Completing the form does not register a team for any events, it simply establishes a team’s priority claim for available event slots.  No payment for event fees is needed for pre-registration, and events will be generally assigned to teams based on the order of form responses and availability of preferred event slots.

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.  The national registration cost is separate from tournament entry fees; for 2018-2019 we expect qualifier tournament fees to again be $175 per team per 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.)

January/February Qualifiers:  In order to provide all teams with an opportunity to compete in a January or February event, pre-registration will give each team a reservation for ONE qualifier taking place after January 1st based on their preferences.  In December we will then open up waitlists and registrations for any events with unclaimed registration spots.

November/December Qualifiers:  Teams that wish to compete at a November or December event can also use the pre-registration form to indicate their preferences.  Teams have the option to choose a second Nov/Dec event instead of a Jan/Feb one.

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 a few weeks prior to the event date and the spots released to other teams on waitlists or that request additional events.

Teams intending to compete in a league (Waco or El Dorado) should contact the League Coordinator for registration details, or email Patrick Michaud at patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu.

 

For more information about qualifier registration, contact patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu .

North Texas FTC Robotics Championship, Feb 10, 2018 – sign up as a Volunteer!

We are currently looking for volunteers for the North Texas FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Regional Championship. The North Texas Regional Championship will be held on Saturday, February 10th at Wylie East High School in Wylie, Texas. Forty-eight of the top FTC teams in North Texas — around 1,000 participants — will be competing to determine the regional winners and advancing teams to the next level of FTC competition in March.

This is UT-Dallas’ first year as the Affiliate Partner for FIRST Tech Challenge in North Texas, and so we’re looking to make sure this event runs well. This will also be the largest FTC event ever held in North Texas, and for that we need lots of judges, referees, inspectors, queuers, and more in order to provide a successful experience for the teams and students. Don’t worry if you haven’t done this before or feel like you might not be qualified… FIRST Tech Challenge teams are evaluated for their communication, marketing, writing, planning, and teamwork skills just as much as engineering or scientific skills. Online training is provided for most roles so you can feel very prepared for the tasks when you arrive, and we have some top-notch advisors that will be leading you through the process. Short descriptions of the needed roles are below.

To volunteer for the event, please visit https://my.firstinspires.org/Volunteers/Wizard/Search/2?EventId=35315 and select the role(s) you would be willing to serve at the event. FIRST Tech Challenge is some of the “hardest fun you will ever have”!

Our primary need is for judges — there are a lot of teams to be judged in a short period of time. Judges will select team award recipients through interactions with teams; teams give presentations on the morning of the event, and then the remainder of the day is spent interviewing teams in their pit areas, on the field, and throughout the venue. Teams also supply an Engineering Notebook that judges will use to help determine the award winners. Judging is done in panels, so you’ll have others with you to make evaluations, and a set of criteria for each award and our highly-experienced Judge Advisor will facilitate the process.

Referees observe team matches to observe rule violations and “call” them. They may also keep track of which elements have been scored and record these items on scoresheets. It’s not necessary to learn all of the scoring aspects of the game — the scorekeeping software does that — referees and scorers simply count elements on the field at various points in the match and send those counts to the scorekeepers to be entered into the computer. There is online training to become a referee and a certification exam (which usually isn’t very hard). Refereeing also gives you “the best seats in the house” for watching the matches take place. 🙂 Referees can also volunteer as Inspectors (below).

Inspectors meet with teams in the morning to check robot designs for safety and compliance with build rules and restrictions. This involves going through a short checklist of items for each robot, informing teams of any infractions that will prevent the robot from competing or certifying the robots as being compliant with the game requirements. This role also has training materials and a short certification exam for the role. Inspectors can also volunteer as Referees (above).

We also need queuers (people to help manage traffic flow and get teams to their judging sessions and matches), announcers, runners, registration/checkin volunteers, and more.

Again, if you can volunteer for this event, please visit https://my.firstinspires.org/Volunteers/Wizard/Search/2?EventId=35315 and sign up for any roles you would like to have.

If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Michaud at <patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu>. Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon.

 

Volunteers wanted for FTC 2017 events

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.

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.

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 or Score Trackers.

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.

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

To volunteer at a North Texas FTC event, see the guide at https://www.firstinspires.org/sites/default/files/uploads/resource_library/volunteer/volunteer-registration-step-by-step-guide.pdf .  Essentially the steps are to create a FIRST account at https://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/event-volunteers.

For convenience, you can directly apply for an event by following one of the links below

 

 

FTC 2017 Qualifying Tournaments Information

Note:  This information is for FIRST TECH Challenge (FTC) teams in North Texas.  FIRST LEGO League teams should get qualifier information from the Perot Museum FLL website .

2017 Qualifying Tournaments

Qualifier Event Waitlists

The pre-registration survey has closed and teams are being sent event reservations.  If your team didn’t get into an event that you want you can request to be added to the event’s waitlist using the form at http://roboplex.org/ftc/waitlist-form .

In general waitlisted teams for an event will receive slots according to priority:

– Teams without any events
– Teams with an early season (Nov) event obtaining a second event
– Teams obtaining a second event
– Teams with an early season (Nov) event obtaining a third event
– All other teams

Within any of the above groups teams will be given slots first-come-first-served in order of request.

Latest published registration stats:

ftc2017-regstats

Registration Process

This season North Texas is taking a somewhat different approach to Qualifying Tournament scheduling for FIRST Tech Challenge. Whereas previous seasons have had all qualifiers held in January/February, this season will also have qualifiers available in November and December. This is consistent with what happens in other FTC regions, and also more akin to the scheduling of events in League Play. It also opens up the possibility for some teams to be attending as many as three qualifiers in a season (to provide a more league-like experience for teams unable to join a league).

We’re also expecting to substantially lower the costs of qualifier events this year — somewhere in the range of $150-$200 per event, and possibly/hopefully less. We’re still working out the event registration/payment details. (Note that leagues have a different payment structure altogether, specific to each league.)

And we’re also changing the event signup process. We started with a “soft” pre-registration phase, where teams can apply to reserve registration slots at the events they wish to compete at. No payment is needed — preregistration simply gives a team priority claim on available registration slots at the event. Then later this month when registration officially opens, teams that participated in the soft registration will be given their selections before other teams can register for the event.

The (pre)registration form is now closed — see “waitlist” options above.

With more events available they’re also likely to have smaller capacities — we’re trying to avoid large “mega-qualifier marathons” from previous seasons — so (pre)register soon to get a preferred slot before they’re all taken. And don’t write off the earlier events just because you think your team won’t be ready in time — often it’s a good strategy to push a little to compete in an early event, if only to get some early, direct on-field experience in preparation for a later event.