FIRST® Tech Challenge teams are made up of students from grade 7 through 12. Like the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST Tech Challenge is a robot-based competition where the teams compete to see who best overcomes the challenges present in that year’s field of play. The key difference between them? The size of the robots and the field of play. To pass inspection, FIRST Tech Challenge robots have to initially fit within an 18-inch cube, but can then unfold to extend arms or other types of devices during game play. Compact folding – and extensions – can be a major design consideration. The playing field is 12 ft x 12 ft. (The FIRST Robotics Competition field -27 ft x 54 ft – is about half the length & width of a basketball court. )
The FTC game challenge and playing field offer many ways to score points, which gives teams wide discretion when working on – and deciding upon – how to design their robot to focus on specific tasks. A team can choose to ignore one way to score points in order to focus their design on other scoring methods. In this way, the teams face the “real world” challenge of making design tradeoffs to balance trying to do everything, versus focusing on fewer tasks in hopes of doing them better. The animation of this year’s FTC game challenge shows how teams can score points.
For more information on FIRST Tech Challenge, please see the official FIRST website: here: www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc. For information on teams and events in Pennsylvania, see www.ftcpenn.org.