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What Is FTC?
It’s way more than building robots. FIRST Tech Challenge teams (10+ members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. Participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have!”
Guided by adult Coaches and Mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles (like keeping an engineering notebook), while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and sharing ideas. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and can be programmed using a variety of languages, including Java. Teams also must raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach for which they can win awards.
As well as learning real-world skills, participants have access to tens of millions of dollars in college scholarships. Each season concludes with Super-Regional Championships and an exciting FIRST Championship.
This year we learned to use a few different tools. Some team members took a class to learn to CAD their own 3D printable parts using Google's Sketchup. We also used PTC Creo to CAD our whole robot, which we did in conjunction of building our robot for documentation. This year, we learned to use sensors as well as motor encoders for greater autonomous accuracy. We learned to make a PID driven Java method that accelerates and decelerates motors to a specific distance. We also made a proportional gyro turning method, as well as a proportional wall following loop. All this helped us make our autonomous program as reliable as possible.
The 'Lectric Legends