What is FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge)?
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a robotics competition for students in grades 7–12 to compete for head to head, by designing, building, and programming a robot to compete in an alliance format against other teams. FIRST Tech Challenge is one of the three major robotics programs organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which its other three programs include FIRST Lego League and FIRST Robotics Competition.
Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team. Aluminum-based robots are coded using Java or block-based programming. Teams design and build robots, raise funds, market their team brand, and do community outreach to earn specific awards. Five teams advance to the world championship in April.
Participants are eligible to apply for over $80 million in college scholarships.
The competition consists of local and regional qualifiers and the world championship, the FIRST Championship, and in every season, a kickoff is held to showcase the season’s theme and game. After the kickoff, robots are designed, built, and programmed by teams, and teams are encouraged to conduct outreach with their communities. Local qualifiers are held for teams to compete and qualify for regional qualifiers, and from that point, regional qualifiers are held for teams to qualify for the world championship.
The robot kit is Android-based, and it is programmed using Java, the Blocks programming interface, or other Android programming systems. Teams, with the guidance of coaches, mentors, and volunteers, are required to develop strategies and build robots based on innovative, sound engineering principles. Awards are given for robot performance as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.