FIRST®, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a 30 year old global nonprofit organization with the mission to inspire the next generation of technology leaders. FIRST®Tech Challenge (FTC), designed for students from 7th – 12th grades, is moving into tournament competition season. After spending several months designing, building, and programming since the season’s game reveal in mid-September, approximately twenty teams will come together from all over the eastern half of South Carolina to compete in an Inter-League Tournament that will include judging, inspections, qualification and elimination matches, and an awards ceremony. This East SC FTC League Tournament will take place on Saturday, February 2nd at Military Magnet Academy with opening ceremonies at 11:00 am and the final robot matches and Awards Ceremony starting at 5:45 pm.
The 2018-2019 FIRST® Tech Challenge season is called ROVER RUCKUSSM, an out-of-this-world space-themed competition to honor the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. ROVER RUCKUSSM presented by Qualcomm® Incorporated is played on a 12 ft. x 12 ft. square field. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by descending from the Lander, collecting Minerals from a Crater, sorting and scoring Minerals into the Cargo Hold of the Lander, performing Autonomous tasks, and navigating to specific parts of the Playing Field. There are two alliances of two robots each – “red” and “blue.” Matches have two distinct periods of play: a 30-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute driver controlled period. The last 30 seconds of the driver controlled period is called the end game in which robots attempt to earn big points by latching back onto the Lander.
New this season for South Carolina teams is competing in a league system prior to qualifying for the South Carolina FIRST® Tech Challenge Championship in Gaffney, February 22-23, 2019. The twelve teams of the Lowcountry FTC League and the eight teams of the PeeDee FTC League compete separately in three league meets between November and January to establish their standings for the East SC FTC League Tournament. There, teams will compete in five qualifying matches followed by elimination matches between the top four teams and their alliance partners to determine the Winning Alliance for the tournament. Twelve teams, determined from a combination of judged awards and robot performance, will then advance to the SC FTC Championship along with twelve teams from the West SC FTC Tournament. The top two teams from the SC FTC Championship will advance to the World FTC Championship in Houston,Texas in April 2019.
FIRST® Tech Challenge teams build and program robots using an Android based control system by programming in Java or using other apps. They have a wide variety of building materials available to them, and they design their robot to complete scoring tasks along with an alliance partner. Some teams use 3D modeling software to design their robot virtually before building it in order to reduce the number of design iterations. In addition to robot related skills, students also gain experience in raising funds, designing and marketing their team brand, and doing outreach to share STEM with their community. Students who participate in FIRST® Tech Challenge are eligible for over $80 million in college scholarships provided by participating universities and sponsors.
The East SC FIRST® Tech Challenge League Tournament is free and open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more, starting a team, volunteering, or mentoring with FIRST® Tech Challenge is encouraged to attend. Food trucks and concessions will be available on site, and the robot action is sure to have you cheering. Come out and encourage these hard-working robotics students as they seek to fulfill the vision of FIRST®: “...to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”— Dean Kamen, Founder
For more information contact Linda Stewart (email@example.com)
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