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 .

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. Today we’re opening 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 at this time — 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 available at https://goo.gl/forms/T8ooq7LfMO0IMMN02 . The tentative competition schedule for this season is:

 

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.

 

FCA FLL Programming Clinic

October 14 @ 9:00am - 4:00pm, Fellowship Christian Academy

This clinic is for coaches/mentors.  Coaches are also allowed to bring up to TWO (2) student team members. Venue Space is limited!
Cost:  Free, pre-registration required

Fellowship Christian Academy (FCA) Robotics Club will be holding coaches clinics on programming Mindstorms for FIRST LEGO League.   The clinics are offered all day, with a beginning programming clinic from 9:00am-12:00pm and intermediate programming clinic from 1:00pm-4:00pm.

This clinic is 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.  Since the venue space will be limited, we will have to limit exercises. We won’t be providing any robots or laptops at the clinics, 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.

Lunch will not be provided, but here is a link to some of the fast-food restaurants near FCA.

For more information about these clinics, please contact Jay Jordan at info@fcarobotics.com

FCA FLL Chassis and Attachments Clinic

October 7 @ 9:00am - 12:00pm, Fellowship Christian Academy

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

On October 7th from 9:00am-12:00pm Fellowship Christian Academy (FCA) Robotics Club will be hosting a clinic an FLL chassis building and attachments clinic at FCA.  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.

This clinic is 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.

For more information about the event, please contact Jay Jordan at info@fcarobotic.com

FTC Scrimmage / Workshop at Hedrick Middle School

October 28 @ 8:00am - 5:00pm, Hedrick Middle School

Please register for this event:
Teams: 
https://goo.gl/forms/GA6cmgASFPkhfS2w1
    Volunteer training: (coming soon)

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 28, 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 we ask that you 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 Saturday!

FTC 11563 and FTC 7172

UTD Clinic – FTC using Git and GitHub for software management

October 14 @ 1:00pm - 4:00pm, University of Texas at Dallas / SEEC

This event is intended for coaches/mentors and programming members of a FTC team.
Cost:  Free, but pre-registration is required:  https://goo.gl/forms/pUiz8rjWeOeFqmS23

 

UT-Dallas will be hosting a class on how teams can utilize the features of Git (or a Source Control Management system in general) while developing software for their robots. Github while providing a Git service also has a lot of project organization features such as “Wiki”, “Projects” and “Issues” that teams can use to organize and focus their work efforts.

The clinic will follow the agenda below:

  1. Git Basics
    The need for Source Control Management
    Basic Git vocabulary and most useful commands
  2. Github overview
    Git on Github
    Projects
    Wiki
    Issues
  3. Setup your team’s repository on Github
    Forking FTC repo as a basis
    Refreshing your repository with latest changes from FTC
    Administering team’s repository
  4. Setup Android Studio with Git
    Setup Android Studio Development Environment with Git repository.
    Android Studio and Git integration
  5. Practice using Git and Github in a classroom environment
    Committing changes to team’s repo
    Getting latest changes from the repo
    Merging code of multiple developers
    Reviewing revision history
  6. Advanced topics
    Code reviews with pull requests
    Git advanced branching strategies for teams with many programmers