FTC Kickoff 2016

Tags: outreach
Personhours: 15
FTC Kickoff 2016 By Ethan, Evan, Max, Tycho, and Omar

Task: Go to the FTC 2016 Kickoff to preview the new Velocity Vortex challenge

This Saturday, we ventured down to UTD to watch the unveiling of the new FTC challenge, and collaborate with other teams. The main change we noticed is that this year, it seems like there is a greater emphasis on league play instead of just doing a qualifier. To go to regionals, there seem to be three options:

  1. Do league play and go to one qualifier
  2. Do league play only
  3. Go to two qualifiers (But you may have to give up your spot to other teams)
Other minor changes for this year are:
  • Adding the Nexus 5 to the list of approved phones
  • New(hopefully less buggy) version of the FTC controller app
  • Ambiguous rule about not damaging the field
  • Red/Yellow card penalty system
The new app is great for our team, our Adafruit IMU is now officially supported, so we don't have to use the Swerve Robotics library anymore. As well, you can now configure phones through the driver's station, making testing faster. FIRST added support for many new sensors and we are intrested in trying them out. The new challenge is radically different from last year's challenge - strategies this year will mainly focus around defense. Our preliminary ideas are:
  • Standing at the ramp and circulating particles around it
  • Beacon defense - it seems to be the easiest way to get a lot of points
  • Capping the "vortex" with the yoga ball
  • Spinning the vortices around so fast that no team can score
We are considering using Pele as our robot, as it can already shoot balls and has an intake system, we'd just need to add a beacon-poker and lift to cap the vortex.

Reflections

This year's challenge requires us to "think outside the box" in order to progress. As well, we really need to work fast, as if we do league play, the competitions happen sooner that the traditional qualifiers.

Written on September 10, 2016