UTD FTC Coaches Training Workshop

September 17 @ 9:00am - September 18 @ 4:30pm, University of Texas at Dallas / SEEC

This clinic is intended for coaches/mentors (adults) ONLY.
Cost:  $30/session, register at UTD Marketplace.

Calling all FIRST Tech Challenge coaches, mentors, and educators! Come brush up on your knowledge & skills and hear proven tips for improving team performance.

UT-Dallas is offering a 2-day training workshop for coaches and teachers where attendees get hands-on experience building and programming FIRST Tech Challenge Robots, including the new REV Robotics Expansion Hub controller and sensors.  Sessions are facilitated by Dr. Patrick Michaud, North Texas FTC Affiliate Partner and renowned FIRST coach with several world-ranked teams.

Workshops will consist of four half-day sessions on September 17 and 18.  Each session will cost $30 (thus $120 to attend all four sessions).  UTD will provide the robot materials, computers, and software to be used during the workshops.  (Lunch is not provided, but there are many on-campus options for lunch, and we have refrigerator/microwave for those who wish to bring lunch.)

Space is limited and registration is required — registrations will generally be taken on a first-come first-served basis.

Sep 17 (9a-12n): Intro to FTC and robot construction
– Introduction to FTC and season overview
– Basic components of the REV robotics kit
– Key robot mechanical principles
– Hands-on build of a simple competition robot

Sep 17 (1p-4:30p): Beginning Programming for FTC
– Introduction to control system components (REV Robotics)
– OnBot Java programming environment
– Basic gamepad programming for navigation
– Arm and servo programming
– Touch sensors

Sep 18 (9a-12n): Intermediate programming and competition prep
– FTC competition: robot game, awards
– Engineering notebooks
– Other building systems, materials, and tools
– Autonomous mode programming
– Motor encoders

Sep 18 (1p-4:30p): Programming and building for success
– Basic game, robot design, and alliance strategies
– (Un)Successful robot designs and devices
– Principles of leverage, gears, center of gravity
– Color sensing
– Gyro/IMU sensors
– Driver automation

Registration is available via the UTD Marketplace at https://ezpay.utdallas.edu/C20239_ustores/web/classic/store_main.jsp?STOREID=135.  Again, space is limited and registration will be generally first-come first-served.

For more information regarding the workshops, please email <patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu>.  We look forward to seeing you at the workshops!

UTD FTC Coaches Training Workshop

July 24 @ 9:00am - July 25 @ 4:30pm, University of Texas at Dallas / SEEC

This clinic is intended for coaches/mentors (adults) ONLY.
Cost:  $30/session, register at UTD Marketplace.

Calling all FIRST Tech Challenge coaches, mentors, and educators! Come brush up on your knowledge & skills and hear proven tips for improving team performance.

UT-Dallas is offering a 2-day training workshop for coaches and teachers where attendees get hands-on experience building and programming FIRST Tech Challenge Robots, including the new REV Robotics Expansion Hub controller and sensors.  Sessions are facilitated by Dr. Patrick Michaud, North Texas FTC Affiliate Partner and renowned FIRST coach with several world-ranked teams.

Workshops will consist of four half-day sessions on July 24 and 25  Each session will cost $30 (thus $120 to attend all four sessions).  UTD will provide the robot materials, computers, and software to be used during the workshops.  (Lunch is not provided, but there are many on-campus options for lunch, and we have refrigerator/microwave for those who wish to bring lunch.)

Space is limited and registration is required — registrations will generally be taken on a first-come first-served basis.

July 24 (9a-12n): Intro to FTC and robot construction
– Introduction to FTC and season overview
– Basic components of the REV robotics kit
– Key robot mechanical principles
– Hands-on build of a simple competition robot

July 24 (1p-4:30p): Beginning Programming for FTC
– Introduction to control system components (REV Robotics)
– OnBot Java programming environment
– Basic gamepad programming for navigation
– Arm and servo programming
– Touch sensors

July 25 (9a-12n): Intermediate programming and competition prep
– FTC competition: robot game, awards
– Engineering notebooks
– Other building systems, materials, and tools
– Autonomous mode programming
– Motor encoders

July 25 (1p-4:30p): Programming and building for success
– Basic game, robot design, and alliance strategies
– (Un)Successful robot designs and devices
– Principles of leverage, gears, center of gravity
– Color sensing
– Gyro/IMU sensors
– Driver automation

Registration is available via the UTD Marketplace at https://ezpay.utdallas.edu/C20239_ustores/web/classic/store_main.jsp?STOREID=135.  Again, space is limited and registration will be generally first-come first-served.

For more information regarding the workshops, please email <patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu>.  We look forward to seeing you at the workshops!

The Mound Showdown

March 2 @ 9:00am - 3:00pm, Flower Mound High School

Mound Showdown FTC offseason scrimmage

March 2

9:00 AM-3:00 PM

Cost $25.00

20 teams  5-7 matches.

 

Location: Flower Mound High School Cafeteria.

3411 Peters Colony Rd, Flower Mound, TX 75022

(Entrance at Old Settlers @ Heatfield)

However, if you cannot find that, come through main entrance.    

Contact Guido Climer to register or inquiries.

North Texas FTC Regional Championship

February 23, Wylie East High School

Thank you to our event sponsors!

 

The Regional FTC Championship for North Texas will be held on February 23, 2019, 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 2019.

Volunteer

We’re looking for volunteers for this huge event!  Apply to volunteer at https://my.firstinspires.org/Volunteers/Wizard/Search/2?EventId=39848 , or see the Volunteer page for more information about the available volunteer opportunities and how to apply.

Teams invited to the Regional Championship

(52 teams as of 2019-02-06)
127 FIGHTING PICKLES, Ben Barber Innovation Academy, Mansfield
3734 Imperial Robotics, School of Science and Engineering, Dallas
5970 The Ambassadors, Bethesda Christian School, Fort Worth
6566 Circuit Breakers, Aledo High School, Aledo
6832 Iron Reign, School of Science and Engineering, Dallas
*7172 Technical Difficulties, Technical Difficulties, Plano
8114 Fighting Farmers, Lewisville High School, Lewisville
8130 Lamar Vikings, Lamar High School / AISD, Arlington
8291 Bulldog Robotics, Trimble Tech HS, Fort Worth
8406 Filthy Horde, Hughes Springs High School, Hughes Springs
8418 The League of Legendary Scientists, Community Team, Plano
8514 BA GREEN: Robotonics, Bryan Adams Leadership Academy, Dallas
8565 Technicbots, FLYSET.org, PLANO
8626 PROTOSURGE, UME PREPARATORY ACADEMY, DALLAS
8811 RoboBison Amistad, Sunset HS, Dallas
9045 Motorhead, Greenhill School, Addison
9054 Viridian, Greenhill School, Addison
9386 Elmer and Elsie Robotics, Frisco HIS, Frisco
9402 CyberSwarm, Henderson Junior High, Stephenville
9511 Low Voltage, Harmony Science Academy – Carrollton, Carrollton
11085 Mad Hackers, Mansfield HS, Mansfield
11341 ViBoTs, Vines High School, Plano
11366 The Smarty Party, Hendrick Middle School, Plano
11425 Murphy Maverick Robotics, Plano ISD, Murphy
11472 Rice Ravenclaw, Rice MS, Plano
11563 Hedrick Garage, Hedrick Middle School, Lewisville
11676 Lexan Pixies, Hughes Springs High School, Hughes Springs
12503 POPBOTICS!, Prince of Peace Christian School, Plano
12645 Ferris Robotics: Nimbus, Ferris HS, Ferris
12764 RoboVikings, Vanston Middle School, Mesquite
12919 TechnoWarriors, Community Team, IRVING
12926 Panther Robotics, Plano East Senior High School, Plano
12929 Electric Lions, McMillen High School/ Plano ISD, Murphy
12973 Reicher Robotics, Reicher Catholic HS, Waco
12977 Rust In Peace, Plano West Senior High School, Plano
13053 Vanguard Bezerkos, Vanguard College Prep, Waco
13075 Coram Deo Robotics, Coram Deo Academy, Flower Mound
13213 Psi Fighters, Plano and Frisco, Frisco
13227 Mechanicats, Woodrow Wilson High School, Dallas
13472 The Dork Side, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Fort Worth
13542 RoboChargers – Typhoon, Conrad HS, Dallas
13552 RoboChargers – Terremoto, Conrad HS, Dallas
13850 The Odyssey, Wylie East HS, Wylie
14307 Rock it on mars, Nelson Middle School, Frisco
14524 PESH Bots, Plano East Senior High School, Plano
14786 Desert Camels, FMHS Tech Club, Flower Mound
14904 Bionicles AKA Lakehill Robotics, Lakehill Preparatory School, Dallas
14962 Robo-Sapiens, Hughes Springs High School, Hughes Springs
15204 Dork Side II, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Fort Worth
15375 Iron Star, School of Science and Engineering, Dallas
15414 IHS Voyagers, Independence High School, Frisco
15594 Shenanigans, Midway HS, Wooday

* Already advanced from the FTC Arkansas State Championship to the FTC World Championship in Houston

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.

 

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 2018 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:

 

FCA FLL INTO ORBIT Robot Games Scrimmage

2018-11-03 @ 12:00pm - 5:00pm, Fellowship Christian Academy

FCA will be hosting an FLL INTO ORBIT Robot Games scrimmage on Saturday, November 3rd. A maximum of 20 teams will be allowed to participate in the scrimmage. Sign-up for the scrimmage is first-come, first served.  Admission is free and non-participating teams and other spectators are welcome to come and watch as well.

Visit the FCA Robotics website for more details.

FTC Qualifier pre-registration opens

2018-09-28 @ 11:00am

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 are required to pay their $275 national registration fee with FIRST (via the firstinspires.org Dashboard) before being assigned an event.  This national registration 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 mid-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.