FTC game revealed, robotics team preps for upcoming season


Senior Zach Irving fixes robot for competition. Irving is the president of Robotics Club.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, Florida FTC leaders released the game for the 2017-2018 season through a live stream on YouTube, after physical kickoff events were cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.

FTC is a competitive robotics program where teams design robots fit for a challenge, and then compete head to head with other teams. This year’s challenge was called Relic Recovery, where the robot picks up 6x6x6 in. cubes called glyphs and places them inside of a cryptobox which can hold 12 glyphs. The way a robot collects glyphs plays a key factor in scoring points.

“When I found out what the game was, I was excited and also scared because this year’s game seemed harder than last year’s,” 4717 team leader junior Haven Carter said. “Last year’s [game] was one of our harder ones, so this is probably our hardest challenge yet.”

The structure of FTC in Florida changed this year, making it more challenging for teams to get the state competition level. In previous years, teams made videos that accounted for 25 percent of their scoring, explaining the story behind their robot, this year, videos  are not required. Teams also do not get ranked according to the state anymore, where the top 28 teams moved on. This year, only the top two to four teams in each league advance to the state championships.

The school’s two FTC teams, team 4227 and 4717, have been preparing for the upcoming season. Some members met over the 10-day break to come up with strategies on how to build their robot. Both teams have focused on programming and on moving the glyphs into cryptoboxes as fast as possible to maximize the amount of points received.

Last year, both teams made it to states, and team 4717 made it to world competitions, where they ranked fourth overall.

“I think it’s a lot of the dedication that goes into it,”  head coach and sponsor Po Dickison said. “We like to have fun and learn from other teams and from our mistakes, which is the key to our success.”

Both teams hope to at least make it to the state competition level in February or March, the date has not been announced yet.