FTC Team

First Tech Challenge (FTC)

FTC had its first inaugural match in 2005, marking the beginning of a new generation. The First Tech Challenge is a robotics competition designed to challenge students in 7th through 12th grade. In this competition, students are given several obstacles, which they will solve by designing, building and programming a robot. While students are guided by coaches and mentors, they are the primary leads of the team, gaining knowledge and experience as the season goes on.

This Year’s Game - Velocity Vortex

In the 2016 FTC game, Velocity Vortex, you play on a field that is divided into two parts, blue and red. The center of the field two goals located in the center called the center vortex stand. Two ramps each one containing a goal, called the corner vortex, are each placed on two opposite ends of the field. Along with these, there are also four beacons. These beacons are considered alliance neutral as anyone can grab them. Two of these beacons are placed on each front wall by the corner vertices. 

You also have alliance specific scoring which are basically five balls, particles, and a large cap ball for each alliance. When the matches start, each alliance will have a total of three balls which they will have available to pre-load and also score in the autonomous period. In each alliance you can earn two more particles to use in the driver controlled period by essentially claiming the beacons during the autonomous period.

Junior Varsity Skunk Works Team

Skunk Works Robotics has two junior varsity teams which participate in the First Tech challenge. These two teams learn together from the same mentors and coach(es), but have the freedom to decide within their teams what would work best for their own robots. Before building, the two teams vigorously work their way through the engineering process. Both teams program with Java, using Android Studio, and build with a combination of Tectrics, VEXPro, and parts we make in our shop. We plan to have a set of bar linkages to lift the cap ball, an overhand flywheel to get particles in the center vortex, and rotating paddles to press the beacons by the inter-league competition.  

The engineering design process is a method which, in many cases, is used by engineers, or robotics students, to design and construct something in order to resolve a problem or challenge. The engineering design process consists of a loop; the loop starts with the idea being realized or thought of, then applied by being built, then tested. After the testing, the loop is often repeated, allowing the original idea and solution to be improved upon, which causes there to be numerous iterations of a single design or solution. While the process nearly always starts with a problem and ends with a solution, the steps in between those will vary. The 11 steps we follow for the design process include understand, explore, define, ideate, prototype, choose, refine, present, implement, test and iterate. Using these 11 steps, Skunk Works Robotics design, build, and program a robot to meet the criteria for our competitions. 


The 1983 team is working on a lot of stuff and doing a lot of improvement over the past few weeks. We are a team of all freshman working hard to get all the things we need done. Our team has went over several things such as the engineering process, Learning CAD, and beginning to come together as a team and work. We are aiming to get everything completed and to our liking. Our team does have drawbacks and a lot of issues, but we are working hard to fix these issues efficiently and quickly. Our robot is not up to standards but we are working our best to fix these problems. Our team will work our butt offs and are willing to learn new things if it means getting a better understanding and better working robot.


As the other team under Skunk Works Robotics, 7818 is extremely committed to the growth and success of each team member, and the team as a whole. Regularly, all subteams of 7818 combine and sit down, talking over what needs improvement and what went well. The team is basically a family, helping each others through the early mornings and late nights. While this has been a new experience for the 10 freshmen of the team, the 2 sophomores have been welcomed back to the world of robotics; though, all 12 members are new to FTC, and thus it is a useful learning experience for everyone. Though we are a little behind in our robot due to some setbacks we are committed to making the best robot we can. 

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