About FIRST® Tech Challenge
The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is designed for students in grades 7–12 to compete head to head in a tournament. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of programming languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments. The ultimate goal of FTC is to reach more young people with an accessible opportunity to discover the excitement and rewards of science technology engineering and mathematics.
There is a new challenge every year, meaning there are new aspects to the game every season, this years challenge is FIRST Res-Q. However, games are always played on a 12 × 12 Ft. (3.7 × 3.7 m) field covered in foam floor tiles (usually viewed from a square or diamond orientation). The game is played by two alliances (red and blue) of two teams each, for a total of four robots on the field during each match. At the start of a match, the robots cannot exceed the dimensions of 18 × 18 × 18 in (46 × 46 × 46 cm), but can expand during play. In each match, there is an autonomous period, where the robot is programmed to drive automatically in this period, followed by an operator-controlled period. Depending on the year, the autonomous period can range from 20 to 45 seconds (30 is the most common) and the operator controlled period lasts 2 minutes (Each having a set of rules that are required to be read and understood by all participants). Along with building and programming a robot, FTC teams are required to create an 'Engineering Notebook' that documents their build season and team experience. It helps teams learn the value of the engineering process and gives them an opportunity to reflect on their experiences and improve. It also shows the judges at tournaments what the teams have overcome throughout the year.