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FTC Florida News - July 22, 2010

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FTC Florida News - July 22, 2010

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:36 pm

Hello Teams,

It has been a while since my last email and I have lots of information to share. Grab a cup of coffee, find a comfortable chair and dive in.

Topics in this email include:

1. FTC 2869, Smoke and Mirrors, are the 2009 FTC World Champs!
2. Team Registration is open
3. PTC Team Grant
4. New Judging Format for Florida Tournaments
5. Community Outreach Notebook
6. Rockwell Automation Conference
7. Tournaments
8. Build-it Days
9. Season Kickoff
10. New TETRIX Parts
11. New Florida FTC Web Site


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1. FTC 2869, Smoke and Mirrors, are the 2009 FTC World Champs!

Florida FTC Team 2868, Smoke and Mirrors won the FTC World Championship held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia! Smoke and Mirrors was the Captain of the Winning Alliance and their alliance partners were: Team 2830, Under the Son from Maryland and Team 3864, G-Force from South Carolina.

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2. Team Registration is open

Team registration for the 2010 season is open and available here: www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/content.aspx?id=750

Veteran teams need to purchase either the Software Renewal Kit ($69) or one of the Competition Kits ($749 or $549) to get licenses for the required software (ROBOTC and LabVIEW). Teams should also consider purchasing the FTC Resource kit ($199). I understand that this kit is a terrific way to purchase discounted TETRIX parts.

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3. PTC Team Grant

PTC is offering two $275 team registration grants for the Florida region. Veteran and rookie teams are eligible for this grant. Please complete the attached grant application form and send it to michael.coleman@flfirst.org by August 5th. PTC specified the following grant terms and conditions:

· Teams agree to compete at an official FTC event in the 2010-2011 season.
· Teams agree to utilize at least one of PTC’s available solutions: Pro/ENGINEER, Windchill ProjectLink, or Mathcad
· Teams agree to submit a 1-2 page usability summary at the end of the season on the PTC solution they select
· Teams agree to recognize PTC as a sponsor where appropriate: Robot, Web site, Flyers, etc.
· Teams who have already paid their registration fee are ineligible.

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4. New Judging Format for Florida Tournaments

The judging process and tournament rules are described each year in the FTC Game Manual. The standard judging process includes: a) a private team interview with 2-judges; b) review of the engineering notebook by judges; c) observation of teams during the tournament; and d) informal, discussions between teams and judges in the pit area. During the 2010 season, the Florida region is piloting a new judging process and will run qualification tournaments and the state championship as specified in the game manual, with one important rule change. The formal judge interview will be replaced with a team created video that judges will watch online prior to tournament day.

Advantages to the pilot judging program include:

a) Under the standard judging process, an individual judge gets first-hand information from only 4 to 6 teams. The online team videos will allow individual judges to learn about ALL of the teams.
b) Judges will have approximately two additional hours on tournament day to evaluate teams through observation and Q&A with students.
c) A typical tournament squeezes a lot of activity into the few hours between team check-in and opening ceremonies. Eliminating the formal judge interview will allow teams to concentrate on robot inspection, practice and scouting.

Detailed rules for the team video will be provided to Florida teams in September via email and the www.flfirst.org web site. Direct all questions about the judging pilot program to Michael.Coleman@flfirst.org.

In general, the guidelines for the video will be as follows:

a) The video will have a maximum time limit that will be in the range of 3 to 4 minutes.
b) Teams will post their video to YouTube and email the link to Michael.Coleman@flfirst.org, 10 or more days prior to tournament day.
c) Teams can choose to make their YouTube videos either public or unlisted. Public videos can be discovered by YouTube searches or teams may choose to publish the link. Teams choosing to keep their video unlisted [private] prevent the general public from finding and viewing it. The only way to find [view] an unlisted video is to know the link address. Instructions for making a video "unlisted" are found here: www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=181547
d) Teams may update their video for each tournament.
e) We will disclose links to team videos only to judges during the competition season. At the end of the competition season, links to team videos will be published so that teams can learn what is expected of winning teams.

Teams should plan for their judging video early in the season so that the team creates sufficient video and photo content.

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5. Community Outreach Notebook

We recommend that teams maintain a Community Outreach Notebook to document all the team's activities that are not otherwise included in the engineering notebook. Recording outreach activities will help teams with judging, recruiting sponsors and gathering information for the team video. This notebook can contain any activities and information the team chooses. For example, notebook entries could include: robot demonstrations, running robot camps or workshops, community service projects, fundraising events, visiting sponsors, field trips to businesses, etc.

Teams should track each event individually and record information such as:

a) Event name
b) Date
c) Location
d) Description of the event.
e) Length of time
f) List team members attending the event
g) What role did the team play in the event?
h) How many people attended the event?
i) Photos

The Community Outreach Notebook is NOT required, but is highly recommended.

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6. Rockwell Automation Conference

FTC teams are invited to represent FIRST the Rockwell Automation Fair 2010 held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando on November 3 & 4, 2010. There are two shifts each day, morning and afternoon, for two teams at each time slot. Teams can participate in one shift on a single day, all four shifts over two days, or anything in between. Due to space limitations, teams are asked to bring 2 (maybe 3) students and an adult chaperone. The web site for the event is found here: www.rockwellautomation.com/events/automationfair/ . This is all the information that is available at this time. Send an email to Michael.Coleman@flfirst.org if your team is interested in exhibiting at this event.

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7. Tournaments

I am happy to announce that we are adding 3 qualifying tournaments this season, bringing the total to 8 tournaments plus the state championship. For the third season in a row, Florida is running the largest number of qualifying tournaments in the FTC nation! We are fortunate to have terrific Tournament Hosts and lots of volunteers that enable us to offer many opportunities for teams to compete in our region. The 8 qualifying tournaments will allow teams to attend at least two competitions so long as Florida's team growth doesn't exceed 20%. Visit our web site for a complete list of tournaments: www.flfirst.org/Florida_First_Tech_Challenge/Events.html. Qualification tournament registration will open in mid-September.

We are implementing one qualifying tournament rule change this season. Inspire Award winning teams are not eligible to win a second Inspire Award at subsequent qualifying tournaments. Inspire Award winning teams will be eligible for all other judged awards as subsequent tournaments.

We are increasing the capacity of the state championship to 32-teams. This is the maximum number allowed for a 2-playing field championship tournament. This will enable us to guarantee invitations to attend the state championship to the following 4-teams at qualifying tournaments: Host Team, Inspire Award Winner, and 2-teams on the Winning Alliance. If any of these teams have already qualified for state, we will conduct a random drawing from the winners of the judged awards so that 4-teams will qualify from each tournament.

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8. Build-it Days

Build-it days are opportunities for teams to get together on a Saturday or Sunday to work on their robots. Teams can help each other and we will provide independent engineering mentors to assist with robot design, construction and programming. Our goal is to advance every team's robot more than the team could have done alone in a typical meeting. We would like to hold several build-it days on non-tournament weekends this season. Ideally we would like to hold a Build-it day on a weekend in late October and another in December or January. Build-it day events are easy to host and run. The host team provides a few volunteers and a large space with tables for teams to work on their robots. Send an email to Michael.Coleman@flfirst.org if your team is interested in hosting a Build-it day.

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9. Season Kickoff

The 2010 Florida season kickoff party will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2010. This event is free and open to the public. We will offer a PTC workshop in the morning, reveal the game in the afternoon, hold a game Q&A session and time permitting, offer a technical workshop relating to the new game. The kickoff schedule will be available a few weeks prior to kickoff. The kickoff party will be held at the Orange County -University of Florida/IFAS Extension Education Center located at 6021 South Conway Road in Orlando. The web site for the education center is found here: ocextension.ifas.ufl.edu/

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10. New TETRIX Parts

LEGO Education is adding several new parts to the TETRIX system. The following parts are available now:
- Continuous Rotation Servo
- 250mm Axle
- Gear prices reduced an average of 35%

The following parts will be available in September:
- Tank and Conveyor Treads
- 4” Omni Wheels
- Thermal Fuse for DC Motor Protection
- Improved Encoder Mount


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11. New Florida FTC Web Site


The Florida FTC web site was updated this summer. Highlights of the updated site include: a) the new Florida FTC video produced by Raytheon Network Centric Systems; b) a Current News section; and c) the updated Events list. www.flfirst.org



Thats all for now. I am looking forward to seeing teams at the kickoff party in September.

As always, feel to send questions to Michael.Coleman@flfirst.org.

Michael Coleman
FTC Affiliate Partner for Florida


Florida FTC Online:
Web Site: www.flfirst.org
Forum: flftc.forumotion.com
FTC Twitter: twitter.com/FLFirst
Facebook: www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=168549705513
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