TechBrick: April 17, 2008:
Atlanta World Championship
Summary by Jeff Tjiputra, Professor and Chair, Technical and Industrial Studies Department, College of Southern Maryland
1. Update from Atlanta
We have two teams from Maryland and three teams from Virginia that qualified for World Championship through our Maryland FTC Championship: Team 7 from Forest Hill, MD; Team Team 159 from Richmond, VA; Team 177 from Gloucester, VA; Team 519 from Herndon, VA; and Team 754 from Great Mills, MD. In addition we also have Team 368 from Manassas, VA that attended our event but qualified through the Virginia FTC Championship.
I didn't see all of the events but here are what I remembered:
There were 100 FTC teams separated into two divisions: Franklin and Edison.
- Winners from each division meet in the World Championship.
- Team 177 (Gloucester VA) lost in the final of the Franklin division
- Team 754 (Great Mills, MD) lost in the semi final of the Franklin division
- Team 7 (Forest Hill, MD) lost in the quarterfinal of the Edison division
- Team 159 (Richmond, VA) lost in the quarterfinal of the Edison division
So we have four teams advanced into the championship rounds. Well done!!
By the way George HW Bush was the opening ceremony speaker. The Governor of Georgia and Hawaii was also there. Chris Anderson, the Editor-in-Chief of the WIRED magazine, showed a UAV built from the LEGO Mindstorms system. There might be a few other VIPs that I missed.
All in all, it was a great experience to be there. If any of you have a chance to go there next year, I suggest that you do that. It's an experience to see hundreds of robots all in one place. The walkway between Georgia Dome (the fields) and the World Congress Center (the pit) was always lined with students with their robots going from and to the fields. There were over 500 teams and robots there. Most of the World Congress Center was used for Pit area.
2. Update on the new FTC Competition Platform
There was a few announcements about this in Atlanta along with the demonstration of the new competition kit in what they called a "Showcase Game".
Here are some videos that I took of the new competition kit:
[SEE ALSO OUR PHOTOS OF THE NEW SYSTEM]
I apologize about the audio. It's hard to get good audio recording there..
As some of you already read from the blog ( http://firsttechchallenge.blogspot.com ), there were some financial incentives along with the new competition kit announcement.
Returning teams can purchase the new kit (which retailed for over $4,000; but will be sold to FIRST teams for $900) for $450. This is offset by a $450 grant that returning teams can get. Teams must still pay the $275 to register with FTC though.
CSM as the Maryland Affiliate Partner will also receive a grant of $5,000 to help pay for the tournament. What I envision this will do is that it will decrease the registration fees to come and compete at our event. This is not the final number, but I expect the registration fees to be between $100 and $150.
So, if you plan to compete in next year's Maryland FTC, start raising at least $875 ($450 + $275 + $150).
I think the new kit for $450 is a very good deal. It will get you started with a complete set of materials. It will also come with 3 different software with seat license. Obviously some teams might need to buy more parts, but the idea is that with the competition kit, you should be able to build a decent robot. Along with the existing Vex metals that you already have, it should be more than enough to compete.
There will also be a two-year grant for rookie teams ($450 first year $275 second year). So if you know of any schools who don't have an FTC team yet, they can qualify for this.
3. CSM's plan for next year
In February 2009, we will have the Maryland FTC Championship. This will be open to any FIRST registered teams.
CSM has also been working very hard in applying for some grants. If we get these grants, I plan to use it to help teams buying the robotics competition kit.
Jeff Tjiputra, Professor and Chair
Technical and Industrial Studies Department
College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Rd., P.O. Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
Phone: (301) 934-7556
Fax: (301) 934-7683