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FTC Florida News - December 7, 2010

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FTC Florida News - December 7, 2010

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:05 am

Hello Teams,

Topics in this email include:

1. Qualifying Tournament Registration
2. Video and Engineering Notebook Samples - Judging Submission Deadlines
3. FTC Demonstration at the Lockheed Martin eWeek Celebration
4. FTC Exhibit at the Oracle Applications Users Group Collaborate 11 Conference
5. Teams that have qualified for the State Championship
6. Tips for teams attending Qualifying Tournaments
7. High School Class Project [Unofficial Survey]


----------------
1. Qualifying Tournament Registration
We reserved competition slots at the final two qualifying tournaments to accommodate late registering rookie teams. It is now time to open these slots to everyone. The open slots are as follows:

3 slots - Seminole High School in Seminole, FL on 1/22/2011
2 slots - USF Polytechnic in Lakeland, FL on 01/29/2011

If you are interested in attending either of these tournaments, send an email to michael.coleman@flfirst.org by Sunday, December 12th. The email should include your team number(s) and the tournament(s) you would like to attend in priority order. If you are requesting competition slots for more than one team, indicate their priority. Otherwise, we will assume that they have equal ranking and make a random selection if two or more teams have equal registration priority as determined by our registration criteria.

The main criterion for assigning teams to the open competition slots is the number of tournaments the team registered for this season. Teams attending fewer tournaments have the highest priority. The following criteria will give teams priority for breaking ties: rookie teams and teams that have hosted events (tournaments and build-it days).

Teams that have already qualified for the state championship are not eligible for these open slots.

Teams receiving a competition slot will be notified by Friday, December 17th.
---------------
2. Video and Engineering Notebook Samples - Judging Submission Deadlines
The deadlines for submitting the links to team videos and engineering notebook sample pages are:

- Science Center Bot Challenge on January 8th - The submission deadline is December 29th
- Seminole High School on January 22nd - The submission deadline is January 12th
- RoboBattle at USF Polytechnic on January 29th - The submission deadline is January 19th
- State Championship on February 12, 2011 - The submission deadline is January 30th

Teams that have submitted videos for earlier tournaments don't need to resend their information unless they are submitting a new video or samples from their engineering notebooks.

I will add late arriving video submittals to the video judging web site. However, I can't guarantee that judges that have already downloaded the information will visit the site for updates.

Several teams have asked me to recommend content for the videos and I would like to share this information with you. The team video should include:

- Information about your robot, prototyping, design methodology, etc.
- Read the descriptions of the judged awards and select the award(s) you feel that your team will be a competitor for and highlight how your team meets the requirements for the award(s).
- Be entertaining.
- Show what is special about your team.

Details concerning the rules and submission guidelines for the video are found in the September 23, 2010 team email blast found on our web site: http://www.flfirst.org/Florida_First_Tech_Challenge/Email_Archive.html

----------------
3. FTC Demonstration at the Lockheed Martin eWeek Celebration
Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics facility in Orlando, FL is inviting 10-FTC teams (up to 5-people per team) to participate in their 2011 eWeek celebration. We will setup the Get Over It! playing field and teams will play matches and talk with Lockheed Martin employees about their robots and accomplishments. Lunch will be provided along with a facility tour. The eWeek celebration is on Thursday, February 24, 2011. The approximate times are 10:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. US citizenship is required to enter the Lockheed Martin facility along with a government issued photo ID (i.e. drivers license).

If you are interested in attending this event, send your name, daytime and evening telephone numbers, email address, team number(s) and name(s) to michael.coleman@flfirst.org. I will forward your information to Lockheed Martin and they will handle all communications with teams.

----------------
4. FTC Exhibit at the Oracle Applications Users Group Collaborate 11 Conference
The Oracle Applications Users Group is looking for FTC, FRC and FLL teams to participate in a FIRST exhibit at their Collaborate 11 conference at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The conference is held on April 10 - 14, 2011. I don't have any details other than their web site: www.collaborate11.org. Send an email to michael.coleman@flfirst.org if your team is interested in attending this conference.

----------------
5. Teams that have qualified for the State Championship
Congratulations to the teams that have qualified for the Florida State Championship:

499
506
619
1369
1902
2845
3045
3073
3101
3123
3736
3846
3888
4228
4300
Hillsborough HS Host Team (TBD)
Miami Coral Park HS Host Team (TBD)
RobotFest, Spruce Creek HS Host Team (TBD)
Seminole HS Host Team (TBD)
RoboBattle Host Team (TBD)

Twelve more competition slots will be awarded at the four remaining qualifying tournaments of the season. The Inspire Award winning team and the two teams on the Winning Alliance receive invitations to the State Championship. If any of these teams have already qualified for the State Championship, a drawing will be held with the judged award winning teams and the two teams on the Finalist Alliance so that three teams qualify for the State Championship at each tournament.

----------------
6. Tips for teams attending Qualifying Tournaments

- Samantha WiFi Unit - Mount the Samantha WiFi communications unit in a protected area of your robot, not on the bumper or where it can get hit by a field element or another robot. We learned at our first tournament of the season that it is very important to route the USB cable and attach it to Samantha in a manner that it doesn't place stress on Samantha's USB connector. The USB cable should not be pressed against a robot part nor tied down so that there is lateral force on the connector. In other words, the USB cable near the unit needs to "float" and not be attached to the robot so that there is stress on the connection.

The Samantha communications unit receives power from the TETRIX main robot battery by a connection to the power terminals of a motor or servo controller. Over time, the power terminals on the Motor and Servo controllers become loose due to vibration. This causes a power disruption to Samantha and communication between the Field Control System and the robot is interrupted during a match. When this happens, the robot will not respond to commands from the Logitech game pads anywhere from 15-seconds to the remainder of the match depending upon the severity of the loose power connection.

Please remind your team to check all of the power wiring prior to tournament day, as well as between matches. It is also good practice to attach the Samantha Power wires to the same controller that is connected to the battery. This reduces the number of possible failure points due to loose wire connections.

Also, remember to charge your NXT, TETRIX and notebook computer batteries prior to tournament day.

- Software Templates - Remember that you should be using the required software templates for programming your robot. Your robot will not pass inspection if you aren't using the required templates. You will have a better tournament day if you take care of this prior to arriving at the tournament. Instructions for locating the software templates are on the FIRST web site: www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/content.aspx?id=15923

- Robot Self Inspection - Remember to perform a robot self inspection using the robot inspection check-lists found in section 9 of the Get Over It! game manual. The FIRST web site contains tips for preparing for tournament day inspections: www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/content.aspx?id=18293

- Robot Bill of Materials - Be sure to remember to complete and submit your Bill of Materials when having your robot inspected. You must show all materials as per the current rules guidelines with drawings to illustrate what functional items were used from the permitted maximum limits. Examples of the Excel spreadsheet and drawings are on page 52 & 53 of the game manual.

- Robot Practice in the Pit - A wireless router will be provided at the practice field so that teams can use the FCS running on their computer to practice with their robot in the pit area. This wireless network is an open network (no security) named FTC_PIT. Your Samantha communications module should work with this router if it hasn't been modified to communicate with your team's router. We will update the firmware and network settings on your Samantha unit during software inspection so that it will work with the wireless routers at the playing field and the practice field. Do not setup your own wireless router nor setup an ad-hoc network to communicate with your robot as they can interfere with the wireless routers used to run the tournament.

- Game and Tournament Rules - Everyone on the team is expected to read the entire Get Over It! game manual and the online FTC Game Q&A forum located on the FIRST web site. The members of the drive team should memorize sections 2 (game rules), 3 (tournament rules), 4 (robot rules) and the posts to the online forum. This year's game is very complex and relying on the information in the game animation is insufficient. Many teams attending the three qualification tournaments we have held this season have arrived without adequate knowledge of the game rules. Teams have significantly disrupted the flow of matches by asking the Head Referee questions about rules that are clearly described in the game manual or have been clarified in the online forum. Tournament day is not the time to learn that a strategy or robot design is not allowed.

Teams are welcome to question game rulings, however, there are are a few guidelines:

a) Teams are expected to quote a rule number or reference a post to the FTC Q&A forum when questioning a referee about a match. Disputing a call without supporting it with specific rule number or post to the forum is unacceptable and the question will be dismissed without further discussion.
b) One student from each affected team is permitted to discuss a match with the Head Referee. Adults are not allowed to participate in match discussions with any referee.
c) Don't ask referees during a match if a strategy is allowed. Referees are concentrating on the match and shouldn't' be distracted with questions about game rules.
d) Feel free to ask the Head Referee questions prior to the start of Opening Ceremonies and during the drivers' meeting.
e) Read section 3 of the Get Over It! game manual for a complete list of tournament rules.

- Tournament Host Emails - Thoroughly read the emails sent by the Tournament Host. They contain information that will help you to have a successful tournament day.

----------------
7. High School Class Project [Unofficial Survey]
A Project Lead The Way class entitled Engineering Design and Development at Thomas Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has selected the FTC program for their class project. The student's project statement is as follows: Our problem statement is we believe that assembling FTC robotic is difficult because of the process it takes to assemble the screws and kep nuts. We want to create a product that will help make the process of putting a screw and a kep nut together a lot faster and easier. We are trying to get some information of the FTC coaches in the Florida region so we can continue our research through surveys, to see if the problem statement we have is really a problem.

This isn't an official FIRST survey and your participation is obviously optional. If you are interested in helping with this project, the survey is located here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dHVFUFF1b2NZd3JwU2NEM0ZsSzhsWkE6MQ

----------------
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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