East High Mech-Warriors Hold Open House

On Jan 30, 2016, the East High School Mech-Warriors (FTC Team 10281) held an open house. The open house was to show their work on this year’s robot, rally local support, recruit mentors and sponsors and to spread the word of FTC to the community.

They are still looking for additional sponsors to help them get to the Arkansas Regional FTC Competition. If you would like to help, please contact FTC Coach Marion Anderson at mlandrs1@gmail.com.

More pictures at the event can be found HERE

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FTC Grant

FIRST® Tech Challenge New Team Grant
Ends on 4/15/2016

We have received a generous donation to help us get more young people involved in our life-changing programs – making now the perfect time to participate in real-life, relevant, hands-on STEM activities that are also designed to develop critical thinking, creative problem solving, collaboration, and teamwork.

The FREE Robotics Kit includes a FIRST Tech Challenge Competition Robot Kit and complimentary registration for the current and 2016-17 seasons.

Join a vibrant community of over 400,000 participants and take advantage of tremendous support resources offered by FIRST. No prior experience with robotics is necessary.

Up to four grants will be awarded each week through April 15, 2016. The sooner you enter, the greater the chance you have to win!

Be sure to read the FIRST® Tech Challenge Grant Guidelines before continuing with this form.

Click HERE to apply! (fill in form at bottom of linked page)

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FTC Kickoff

On Saturday September 12 2015 for the first time, the public watched the 2015-2016 FIRST Tech Challenge(FTC) Game Animation Kickoff video and demonstration robots at the Collierville reads STEM event at Collierville Public Library.

At the same time, students, teachers, and FTC mentors attended a Kickoff viewing and planning session hosted by East STEM Academy.  Students from East STEM and Manassas attended.  They are pictured below in photos by Lee Cole, mentor to the Bolton Team.

Kickoff Attendees

Intently watching the Game Animation video.

elements of the game

What the students saw.

FIRST analysis

Students carry out analysis of the game they just learned about.

discussing and drawing game elements

… and this!

Food for thought.

Between analysis and design, students have food for thought.

Robot Design

Based on the analysis of the game, students concoct a first design for a competition robot.

Just days later, the students had setup the 12′ square competition field in their classroom and were well into building their robot according to the plan.

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The FIRST Tech Challenge Game Page | USFIRST.org


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2015-2016 FTC Events

2015-2016 FTC team registration is open now and should be done as soon as possible at https://my.usfirst.org/ftc/tims/site.lasso

September 12, 2015 11:00AM Central Time – Kickoff/Game Reveal.
Make time to watch the nationwide Kickoff online at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/game
There are at least 2 local kickoff watch parties you are invited to attend.
East STEM Academy http://stemvirtualacademy.weebly.com/ room 131
Collierville Library http://colliervillelibrary.org/

October – March – Regular Season. If you would like to get the SCS FTC competition field at your school for your team to practice, or to invite other teams for a scrimmage, please email slogmobile@gmail.com

Saturday January 16 – Memphis FTC Scrimmage at CBHS(Christian Brothers High School)

March 9 – 11, 2016 – Super-Regional San Antonio Texas
optional, $500 fee to enter and must have attended a qualifier tournament

April 27-30 – World Championship St. Louis Missouri
optional, must qualify at Super-Regional

You may begin now by following the advice at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/team-resources.

Please watch http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/game for new information as it becomes available. The first part of the game manual is available for download now.

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Robotics Training Available


More info and to register – http://www.robotevents.com/re-workshop-15-3728.html

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New First Tech Challenge Kit Uses Smartphones

From: Robot Magazine
by: R. Kremen
Date: June 25, 2015

Modern Robotics of Miami, Florida recently unveiled its new Android-powered robot platform. The system is designed for the First Tech Challenge, but can be purchased by anyone interested in building a bot that can be operated via cell phone.


Stephen Barker, CEO and co-founder of Modern Robotics, says leveraging the power of cell phones makes the new systems far more powerful, moving them from Megabits and Megahertz, to Gigabits and Gigahertz. Barker says the new system also offers a price advantage, noting that while the NXT and EV3 controllers sell for upwards of $170, a new prepaid Android phone can be purchased for as little as $45.

The Modern Robotics team has been working with First ever since the contest stopped using the Vex system. To create the latest kits, they brought Qualcomm into the mix, as well.

The new platform uses Java, so LabVIEW and Robot C are not required. This should bring down costs considerably for most teams. Hooking up hardware is easier, too. “If you want to add additional sensors, you can just plug it in!” Barker says. Everything connects via USB.

The new system is offered in two packages: the Base Kit or the Full Kit. “If they are a veteran team, then they already have controllers and so on from the previous year. So we have a package that includes the minimum amount of equipment they need to come up with for a competitive platform,” Barker says of the Base Kit. This kit includes a Modern Robotics Power Distribution Module, a Modern Robotics Legacy Module, and appropriate cables. The Legacy Module has 6 NXT compatible ports, so users can plug in any sensors or other hardware that works with an NXT system. The Power Distribution module works just as its name suggests, sending 12 Volts of power to whatever controllers the team adds to their system. Users can plug other modules into the 7 port USB hub, and also connect it directly to their Android phone.

“One of the reasons we wanted to include the hub in our system was that all USB hubs are not created equal. Many hubs don’t work very well, especially when trying to run multiple devices,” says Barker. The hub in Modern Robotics kits, he adds, has a “well proven design” that is ideal for First.

Rookie teams or those who want to fully switch to the new Modern Robotics system can pick up the Full Kit, which includes everything in the Base Kit, plus two motor controllers, a servo controller, a Core Device Interface, a touch sensor, an optical distance sensor, an IRSeeker V3 Sensor, and extra cables.

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ServoCity Support for FTC Teams

From ServoCity:

I wanted to reach out and introduce our company. I am with ServoCity, an online retail store specializing in servos, gearboxes and vast array of other mechanical parts. Our Actobotics® product line is used by many FIRST® teams in their robot designs.

We have been working with FIRST® teams for a few years now and have truly enjoyed our experience and relationships with them! We are expanding our support with FIRST® teams, specifically FTC. This year we’ve created four new initiatives to help FTC teams and their budgets go further. We hope this information will be valuable to you and the teams in your state.

These are just a few of the ways we are partnering with FIRST® teams. We believe in FIRST’s mission and look forward to becoming involved with the engagement of youth in STEM education. Please let us know how we might be able to work with you in an effort to provide the teams in your state with the resources they need. Please feel free to visit our Actobotics FIRST Hub to learn more https://www.servocity.com/html/firstr_hub.html.

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New Control System Announced

From: Business Wire

FIRST® Announces ‘Game-Changing’ Technology Platform for use in Worldwide Student Robotics Competitions

Qualcomm Assists Robotics Program Transition to User-Friendly, Java-Based Android Platform Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 Processor

New Platform to be demonstrated at FIRST Championship April 2015, St. Louis, MO
March 11, 2015 01:11 PM Eastern Daylight Time

MANCHESTER, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international not-for-profit K-12 organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, today announced that one of its four K-12 robotics programs, FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) targeted to middle and high-school students, has selected a game-changing technology platform beginning with the upcoming 2015/2016 season.

“A simple interface between Android devices and their current sensors and motor controllers will allow for a simple transition. Sensors built into the Snapdragon-powered devices will expand the teams’ options in future competitions as well.”

The new platform features robot and driver-station controls based on a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor, which is new in the large robotics competition arena. The new system will be demonstrated at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, April 22-25, 2015.

The platform, which consists of handheld devices, will be powered by Snapdragon 410 processors from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, a FIRST Strategic Partner.

Continue reading

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