News from FIRST

Rookie Grants

FIRST Tech Challenge still has some grants available for rookie teams to participate in this year’s FIRST Tech Challenge! Generously supported by the DEKA Foundation, FIRST is giving each qualifying rookie team a $500 grant to eligible teams ($275 for registration and $225 for product). This is a needs-based grant. More info can be found at https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc/grants.
 

Latest version of Robot Software – 5.3

The version of robot control software required for the Skystone season will be version 5.0 or greater.  FIRST has just released version 5.3 which has all of the Vuforia images required for this year’s game and some bug fixes, so we recommend using that version or greater.  You can download the latest version of this software at https://github.com/FIRST-Tech-Challenge/SkyStone/releases.

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TNFIRST FTC Tennessee Championship – Registration Opened

Registration for TNFIRST FTC Tennessee Championship is now opened at our new website: https://www.tnfirst.org/ftc-events

The event will be Feb 8 , 2020 at the Alumni Gym on the MTSU campus in Murfreesboro, TN.

This registration process is on a totally new TNFIRST website using a totally new host engine with new registration web apps. It is similar to last year’s registration in that it allows checkout by Paypal account, by credit/debit card, or by an offline payment (via check). It has been tested and is good to go. It SHOULD stop allowing registrations when we hit the 30 team limit that we currently have in place. But that is one aspect of the site we would not simulate very easily. So there is a very slim chance you may register and we may be “FULL”. If that happens, we will follow up directly and work to get things figured out.

Also, there is some BIG NEWS this year that is not an ideal situation. This year FTC partner events (like the TNFIRST FTC event on Feb 8, 2020) only have ONE team that will get a formal invitation to the FTC World Championship in Houston. Last year we had TWO invitations. That does mean the Inspire Award winner at our Feb 8, 2020 event is the initial team invitation. And, as has been in place in year’s past, there is a hierarchy of teams who get the invitation if the Inspire Award winning team already has an invitation to the World Championship in Houston….for example, the winning alliance captain’s team is the “second world championship invitation team”. And so on…..

You’ll notice that the registration process is open to Tennessee FTC teams only at this point. So please take advantage of that preference soon and get registered if you plan to attend this year’s event.

Obviously, please let Mike Wehrenberg (mike.wehrenberg@tnfirst.org) know if the registration system does not work as expected. We’ve worked hard to get the new website in place for all for levels of FIRST competition here in TN and I know there is more work to be done! Please reach out and let us know if there are any questions or comments on the FTC registration process or on the site in general.

Good luck this SKYSTONE season!!!!

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Latest version of Robot Software – 5.2

The version of robot control software required for the Skystone season will be version 5.0 or greater.  FIRST has just released version 5.2 which has all of the Vuforia images required for this year’s game, so we recommend using that version or greater.  You can download the latest version of this software at https://github.com/FIRST-Tech-Challenge/SkyStone/releases.

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Rookie Grants

FIRST Tech Challenge is again offering rookie teams access to the FIRST Tech Challenge Rookie Grant! Generously supported by the DEKA Foundation, FIRST is giving each qualifying rookie team a $500 grant to eligible teams ($275 for registration and $225 for product). This is a needs based grant. More info can be found at https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc/grants.

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Watch “Rube Goldberg meets The Invention Age” on YouTube

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Watch “SKYSTONE presented by Qualcomm” on YouTube

SKYSTONE presented by Qualcomm: https://youtu.be/XiGB_8Ppnbs

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TVR Grant Opened

It was just announced that the Tennessee Valley Robotics Grant is now opened. There is a limit to the number of grants that will be available, so apply quickly. To apply for the grant CLICK HERE.

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Bad News / Good News

We have been informed that the TVA Grant has run out and is now closed.

Luckily, TN Valley Robotics has decided to pick up where TVA left off. It will take a bit for FIRST to set up the grant, but keep checking the GRANTS WEBSITE for it to open. Same rules apply (must be in TVA/TVR service area as shown in logo below)

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Middle TN Skystone FTC Kickoff Event

Event: 2019/20 FTC SKYSTONE Kickoff
When: Sep 7, 2019
Where: Central Magnet School, 701 E Main St, Murfreesboro, TN 37130
                 Cafeteria with parking in the annex parking area – see map
Time: 9AM to 2PM

REGISTER BY EMAILING MARC GUTHRIE AT guthriem@rcschools.net
Include team number, team name, team leader(s) names and email address, and total headcount

Pizza and soda will be provided

Agenda
9:00- Welcome/ Team Introductions
9:30- Kickoff Video
9:45- Reveal the Game Setup Arena
10:00- Brainstorm game ideas
10:30- Teambuilding activity-
11:30- Lunch
12:15- FTC Workshops – sample topics below
•             Engineering Notebook Guidelines
•             Feb 8, 2020 TNFIRST FTC TN State and Regional Championship Discussion
•             Robot Design Presentation
•             Robot and Field Inspection
•             Awards Criteria
1:30- Event Wrap-up – giveaways, photos, and CLEANUP

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TVA Grant Opened for 2019-20 Season

I’m pleased to inform you that we received the funds and are ready to dispense to teams.  We will be utilizing the same process we implemented last season. Please see below:

Team Eligibility:

  • All FIRST teams in the TVA Service Area are eligible for funding, which will cover team registration and challenge set.
  • Teams must begin the registration process with FIRST and hold a temporary team number, however, teams must NOT pay for registration as it will forfeit their TVA Grant.  No exceptions, substitutions or refunds will be made.
  • A maximum of 200 TVA team grants are available on a first come, first served basis.  Funds will be available until December 1, 2019 OR until team registration closes in your region/nationally OR until we reach the 200 team grant cap – whichever comes first.  If we get close to reaching the 200 team cap, we will notify all Partners.

Next Steps:

  • All teams interested in receiving TVA funds must submit a very short online application to FIRST
  • FIRST will send grant information and the application link to all teams that received TVA funding last season and encourage them to apply for funds if they intend to participate this season.  The list of last season’s TVA teams that we will contact is attached for your reference – any teams that have already paid their registration for this season have been removed from the list
  • We ask that Partners send the application link to any other teams that are eligible for TVA funds – new/rookie teams or returning teams that did not receive funding last season.  An email template with information and application link is attached for you to use if you’d like
  • You may choose to post the TVA information and application link on your website or social media channels 

TVA Grant Process

  • FIRST will review all grant requests each Wednesday by noon, Eastern Time.
  • FIRST will send the grant requests to Tennessee Valley Authority to verify the team’s location within their service area. This process usually takes 48 hours.
  • Once FIRST receives the approval back from Tennessee Valley Authority, teams can expect the grant funds to be available within 5 business days.
  • Teams should expect to receive 3 emails during the application process – 1. To confirm that they have successfully submitted the application 2. To notify them of approval and application of funds 3. Information about recognizing/thanking TVA and the use of the TVA logo.
  • Any teams that have already paid registration or are outside of the TVA services area will be referred back to the Partner.
  • Any questions regarding this process should be directed to Ryanne Cook at rcook@firstinspires.org .
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