Did you get to participate in the inaugural Gear Up with FTC! FIRST Tech Challenge Virtual Summer Conference
? I learned so many new things my brain hurts. If you didn't get a chance to check in, here's a recap of what you missed. Follow the links to watch any of the sessions on the FIRSTTech Challenge YouTube Channel.
On Wednesday Kari Karwedsky from PTC talked about Shared Connections
between the engineering field, PTC, and FIRST
. Her topic was a great reminder that FIRST
Tech Challenge is about more than just robots-there is a lot of practical, life learning that happens on and off the competition field! Maintaining the connection theme, 2014 FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship
Inspire Award winners The Bears
joined us from Mexico to talk about FTC teams building international connections and practical team organization methods and tips, which will be especially useful for rookie teams starting to plan their season. Their high-energy presentation was followed by team ‘Oly Cow member Ernest Gu on the value to FTC teams of using the HiTechnic SuperPro Prototyping Board
during the design phase of the robot build. Not only did he provide practical tips and how to use the Prototyping Board, he demonstrated it, which was really useful. The last presentation of the day was given by Tim Friez from Carnegie Mellon on Advanced RobotC
. It may be summer, but we know there were lots of teams taking notes to ramp up their robot this coming season!
Technical difficulties could not keep team Gearticks down; they rolled with the punches and presented on Thursday when Google+ prevented their planned presentation time of Wednesday night from happening. They packed their presentation Materials for Enhancing Creative Robot Design
full of ideas and tried and true tips on rethinking robot design and getting creative with materials. They recommend that teams take some time to review the allowed list of parts in the FIRST Tech Challenge Game Manual Part I
and we agree! Dr. Gigi Johnson’s presentation on Judging Interview Skills
is another must-see for teams; not only will it improve your Judging experience, it will improve your interview skills for job and college application interviews down the line. Next, team Schrödinger’s Hat from Alaska made back-to-back appearances with Katie Johnson’s presentation on Advanced LabVIEW
(another knockout presentation – were you taking notes?) and Colleen Johnson’s presentation on Robot Wiring Troubleshooting
, partnered by FIRST
Alum and Minnesota FTC Field Technical Assistants Evan Hochstein and Colton Mehlhoff. You’ll want to check out both of those presentations to polish your robot up for competition this year. The final presentation included engineers from Rockwell Collins
discussing the engineering process, problems they face, and how they deal with them in ways similar to what FTC teams do in the iterative process of designing their robots.
We were so excited to bring you this Virtual Conference and we hope the practical tips, great advice, and engineering ideas these quality presentations provided will help your team achieve its goals this season. The FIRST
Tech Challenge community is full of experts from all ages and places, and we are so grateful to everyone who helped make this inaugural Gear Up with FTC!
Virtual Summer Conference a total success. We are already thinking about ways to improve for next summer’s conference and welcome your ideas. Thanks for watching!