For those of you who didn't get to attend the 2011/2012 FTC World Championships last week in St. Louis here's a couple things you might be interested in.
The first is an opportunity to give us your feedback on FTC in a unique/fun fashion. Dr. Woodie Flowers asked for any and all feed back on your thoughts about improving FTC - the only catch is you've got to do it in three words!
3Words@usfirst.org is the email address to provide this input. As you can imagine many of the teams at FTC World Championships gave us their ideas - we want yours too.
Two new sponsorships were also announced. Alcoa is the newest FTC sponsor with a multi-year commitment to growing teams both domestically and internationally. The LEGO Foundation also committed to $150K in FLL to FTC graduation grants. FIRST will add $100K to that for a total of $250K in grants for FLL teams that want to move to FTC this year. Details on how those grants will work will come soon - prior to registration opening.
Finally, FTC announced a rule change with regard to allowable materials used to build robots. In addition to the TETRIX robotics building system, a second robotics building system called "MATRIX" will also be allowed. Teams will continue to be required to use a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT controller and Samantha WiFi communication system to ensure a level playing field and competition experience. You can check out the new MATRIX options at www.matrixrobotics.com. FTC will pilot the use of this kit in selected areas and the 2012/2013 rules will allow these materials to be used in the FTC competition.
Thank you all for a great year and keep an eye on the FIRST website, FTC social media, and this blog for more previews of what's coming next season. We think you'll be excited to see the continued improvements in the program!