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 preregistration is now open.

2019-2020 Qualifying Tournaments

Qualifier Event Pre-registration and Registration

Pre-registration for North Texas FTC Qualifying Tournaments will open on October 7 at 1:00pm 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 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.

Qualifier Event Waitlist

If you would like to get additional events for your team, starting in late October 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.

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

FTC Scrimmage / Workshop at Hedrick Middle School

October 26 @ 10:00am - 4:00pm, Hedrick Middle School

Register for this event at https://forms.gle/A8MJg6ReRSXzP676A   (the event is currently full, email patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu for more information)

Hello FIRST Tech Challenge teams and North Texas volunteers!

FTC teams 11563 “Hedrick Garage” and 7172 “Technical Difficulties” are pleased to announce a robot workshop and scrimmage for Saturday, October 26, at Hedrick Middle School in Lewisville. The purpose of the workshop/scrimmage is to allow teams to share ideas and prepare for competitions.  We will also be using this event as an opportunity to train event volunteers and officials (referees, judges, scorekeepers, inspectors) for the upcoming season.

A tentative schedule is below:

10:00 Doors open, robot building, testing, and workshop
12:00 Lunch (teams may need to bring their own lunches)
1:00 Scrimmage matches (and more building)
4:00 Load-out

Even if you don’t have a working or complete robot, we encourage you to attend the event. There will be veteran team members and experts available to help you with your robot and share ideas and suggestions! And yes, we will have scrimmage matches so that people (teams, referees, officials) can become more familiar with the game dynamics, but our main focus for the day is having a fun day with robots and helping everyone get prepared for competitions.

The scrimmage is free of charge, but teams must pre-register for the event so we know how many to expect and can send further scrimmage details.  If you are bringing multiple teams, please register once for each team.  Please register if you are coming, even if you don’t have a robot or don’t intend to participate in scrimmage matches.

For more information, contact Patrick Michaud (pmichaud@pobox.com).  We hope to see you on October 26!

FTC 11563 and FTC 7172

FTC Clinic – season updates, discussions, and TensorFlow programming

October 5 @ 1:00pm - 4:00pm, University of Texas at Dallas / SEEC

This clinic is open for coaches, mentors, and select team members.
Cost:  Free, but pre-registration is required:  https://forms.gle/EfLRZ2To7iqSybte7

The purpose of this clinic is to share details and ideas about the 2019 “Skystone” season, including game rules, platform changes, and more.  Specific details are being worked out, but it will be an excellent opportunity to network with other coaches and teams and hear ideas about preparing for the season.

We do plan to cover a small amount of OnBot Java programming, including the use of TensorFlow to locate stones and skystones on the field.

We have limited space for this clinic, so we ask teams to be considerate and bring only key team members to the event.

Please pre-register for the clinic and to be certain to receive the latest updates and details on this clinic event.

For more information, contact Patrick at patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu .


UTD FLL Coaches Clinics – FLL Programming

October 19 @ 9:00am - 4:00pm, University of Texas at Dallas / SEEC

Slides – Beginning Programming
Slides – Intermediate Programming

This clinic is for coaches/mentors and up to TWO (2) team members.
Cost:  Free, pre-registration is required

UT-Dallas will again be holding clinics on programming Mindstorms for FIRST LEGO League.   The clinics are offered all day, with a beginning programming clinic from 9a-12p and intermediate programming clinic from 1p-4p.

UTD’s Coaches Clinics are free of charge, but we ask that you pre-register for the event so that we can communicate event details directly to you and have an estimate of attendance size. Attendance is limited to coaches, mentors, and up to two team members.

In each clinic session we will provide opportunities for attendees to try some (not all) exercises using their own robots and laptops.  We won’t be providing any robots or laptops at the clinics, so you need to bring your own if you want to do that.  Be sure your laptops and robots are fully charged, as there may not be power outlets available.  Also make sure your laptop has the EV3 Mindstorms software already installed on it, and that you’ve been able to get it to communicate with your robot (e.g., with a USB cable).  Even if you’re using an NXT robot, we recommend using the EV3 software to program it.

If you don’t have a robot already, we recommend building the “Educator Vehicle (with attachments)” for the clinics.  This is the robot typically used for demonstrations.  The instructions for this build are included in the EV3 Education Kit, and you can also find a PDF download at the top of http://robotsquare.com/2013/10/01/education-ev3-45544-instruction/ .

Of course, don’t feel as though you need to bring a laptop and robot to the clinics.  Many coaches and members have found that it’s much easier to just watch, listen, take notes, and ask questions.  And it’s always helpful to have people around who can help troubleshoot others’ programs and robots.

In each clinic there is a lot of material to cover in a short period of time, so please arrive on-time and be prepared that we’ll be proceeding at a fairly good pace.

Beginning Programming topics

  • Overview of EV3 Programming environment and programming basics
  • Motor block basics — moving forward and backward
  • Turning using a gyro sensor (EV3 robots only)
  • Using “port view” and “view mode” to see sensor values
  • Detecting lines, borders, and colors
  • Simple My Blocks (creating blocks for turning and missions)

Intermediate Programming topics

  • Programming and robot game strategy
  • Loops and sensor blocks
  • Moving along a heading with gyros
  • Line following / edge following
  • Specifying distances in centimeters
  • Understanding navigation error

Also, Builderdude35 created a YouTube video about using the gyro for driving the robot.

For more information about these clinics, please contact Patrick Michaud at patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu .

UTD FLL Coaches Clinic – Chassis Building and Attachments

October 5 @ 9:00am - 12:00pm, University of Texas at Dallas / SEEC

Presentation slides

This clinic is for coaches/mentors and up to TWO (2) team members.

On October 5 from 9am-12pm the UT-Dallas Science and Engineering Education Center (UTD/SEEC) will be hosting a clinic on FLL chassis building and attachments.  The clinic will start with an overview of the LEGO building pieces most commonly used for building FLL robots, and then present the design principles important to developing a good chassis and efficient Robot Game execution. The clinic will then demonstrate a wide variety of attachment types and mounting options.

UTD’s Coaches Clinics are free of charge, but we ask that you pre-register for the event. so that we can communicate event details directly to you and have an estimate of attendance size.  Attendance is limited to coaches, mentors, and up to two team members.

Location: On the UT-Dallas campus, specific room and parking details to be announced and sent to registered participants the week before the event.

For more information about the event, please contact Patrick Michaud at patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu .