First Tech Challenge

On March 16 nearly a 140 students from Utah and surrounding states came to Weber State University to put their engineering skills to the test at the Utah FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) State Championship.

The competition came down to a heart-pounding conclusion in front of a roaring crowd of spectators when two teams from Idaho: The Tesla Tazers and the Tesla Fliers won the coveted Utah FTC Championship Winning Alliance.  The Winning Alliance team earned a spot in the World Championship with 126 other FTC teams who advanced from other state or regional level championship tournaments. Globally, approximately 2,500 FIRST Tech Challenge teams competed during the 2012/2013 FTC season. 

In this year’s FTC game, RING IT UP!,  the object was to score more points than an opponent by placing plastic rings on to pegs on a center rack. Teams were challenged to detect special “weighted” rings to earn bonus points. Matches last two minutes and 30 seconds, and begin with a 30-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute driver-controlled period. The final 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period is the “end game,” where each team could score bonus points by lifting up their Alliance partner’s robot off the game floor to a maximum height of 24 inches.

FIRST® Tech Challenge is a robotics competition for high school students based on a sports model. Teams of up to 10 members use a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears, and sensors, including infrared tracking (IR) and magnet seeking, to design, build, and program robots to compete in an Alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year, and is programmed using avariety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors, and volunteers are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

To learn more about Utah FTC, how to start a team, or how to sponsor a team, go to

Written by Rainie Ingram, COAST recruiter