Tread Design Ideas

These are some inspiring ideas for designing a tread-bot.


Costume Ideas

Hi, I’m Hannah, the outreach coordinator. These are costume ideas that I found interesting.






Halloween-Dalek-medium This one I found quite bold because of its design, no top, yet still looks like a dalek. Very interesting, I like it the best out of all of them.I liked that it had easy arm movements. It’s more practical. It can also be used for a boy or a girl.

FUT0WAPGRTHMWVO.MEDIUM This one I liked  because it the one that looks the most like a dalek.

FBK95IVH8CVGW58.LARGE This one I picked because it looked pretty interesting.

dalek_exterminate__exterminate__by_ireneadler76-d6eoe08 This one looks interesting, bold and cool, that’s why I like it.

925072695 This one I picked because it looks totally awesome and flat out cool. I like that you can take this off and on easily. It would be harder to move around in.


“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Winston Churchill

FTC must be near perfect by now!

The new Game Manual part 1 is out.

Some changes I discovered, which is not to say they are completely new but only that I was unaware of them, in the new GAME 1 manual:

This is not new, but somehow we went 3 sessions and several Think Awards without noticing it-

” Attach a “summary page” to the front cover of your Engineering notebook. Your summary should be a brief, one page narrative about your team, your school or organization, and an overview of the highlights of your season. Your summary page should also include your team number and point the Judges to the pages in your Engineering Notebook that you would most like the Judges to consider.”

It was pointed out to me by FTC Team 3595, the  new manual had excluded it’s old terminology of “Tasks and Reflections” for the Engineering notebook. But look at the example given by FTC as s shining sample of the Think Award, and you can decide for your team if you want to include it or not.

(This stuff below is all new to the game manual 2015-2016, and often deals with the new wifi system coming in place this season.)

<T3>No Team, Team Member, or event attendee is allowed to set up their own Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz or 5GHz) wireless communication in the venue. Non-allowed wireless communications include, but are not limited to:

  • a. Cellular Hotspots (e.g. cell phones, tablets, MiFi).
  • b. Ad-hoc networks.
  • c. Nintendo DS peer-to-peer.
  • d. Bluetooth communication with Robots in the Competition Area.
  • No Team, Team Member, or event attendee shall interfere with a Team’s Wi-Fi Direct® communication with their own Robot. The Penalty for violating rule is disqualification of the entire Team from the Event and their removal from the venue property. Teams may not appeal the penalty and no refunds will be given for registration fees, prepaid meals, etc. FIRST may conduct a post-Event review and determine if any additional penalties are to be imposed upon the offending Team.
  • Teams are encouraged to report wireless security vulnerabilities to the Field Tech Advisor at an Event. Teams should always keep in mind Gracious Professionalism™, and therefore only report valid and verifiable violations of this rule. After the FTA is alerted of a potential rule violation, he/she will confer with the Head Referee. The FTA and Head Referee will further investigate the potential violation of this rule. The final decision will be made by the Head Referee if rule has been violated, and to disqualify the offending Team.

<T4>Wi-Fi Direct® connectivity between the Android devices used as the Robot Controller and the Drivers Station is allowed. No other wireless communication is allowed.

<T5> Team members may be asked by the Event Director to use a specific Wi-Fi channel on the Event day. It is the intent of this rule that Teams must comply with the request of the Event Director if asked to use a specific Wi-Fi Channel.

5.2 Robot Control System – New for the 2015-2016 Season (Just read all of this. It was long, so check it out in the manual.)

<RG07>The Driver’s Station must comply with the following constraints:

  • a. The Driver’s Station must consist only of:
  • i. One (1) Android device ii. One (1) OTG Cable
  • iii. No more than one (1) non-powered USB hub
  • iv. No more than two (2) gamepads
  • b. The touch display screen of the Driver Station must be accessible and visible by competition personnel.
  • c. Teams are responsible for providing their own gamepads and non-powered USB hub as part of their Driver Station at a Match.
  • d. The Driver’s Station must be set to airplane mode, and Bluetooth must be turned off.

(p.27-30) 5.3.3 Robot Electrical Parts and Materials Rules (just read this whole section. Also completely different because of the new wifi system.)

(p.31) 5.3.4 Robot Software Rules

All TETRIX parts are allowed except for the following: (new parts that aren’t allowed)

  • i. 2.4 GHZ 4 Channel Wireless Joystick Receiver (Product Id 40377)
  • j. 2.4 GHZ 4 Channel Wireless Joystick Gamepad (Product Id 40377)
  • k. 3.6 to 7.2 Volt NIMH Charger (Product Id 40378)
  • l. TXP Prime Gripper Kit (Product Id 40234)
  • m. TXP Battery pack 5AA cell 1500mAh 6 Volt NIMH (Product Id 40235)

(p.26) 6.2.2 Robot Parts and Materials Rules  <R10>Robot wiring is constrained as follows: (This whole section is new)

  • a. LEGO-Approved NXT Mindstorm cables are allowed. Approved cables are currently only available from LEGO and HiTechnic. NXT implementation limits cable lengths to 0.9 meter maximum length. NXT Mindstorm cables cannot be modified in any way.
  • b. LEGO-Approved NXT Conversion Cables to connect RCX sensors or Power Function Motors to the NXT (LEGO Part #s W770323, W778886, or W778871) are allowed.
  • c. Anderson PowerPole, and similar crimp or quick connect style connectors for joining electrical wires are allowed. Power distribution splitters may also be used (and are strongly recommended) to make wiring easier. All connectors/distribution splitters should be appropriately insulated.
  • d. Non-NXT power, motor control, servo, and encoder wires and their connectors may be extended, custom made, or COTS subject to the following constraints: i. Battery wires are 16 AWG or larger ii. Samantha power wires are 18 AWG or larger iii. Motor control wires are 22 AWG or larger iv. PWM wires are 20 AWG or 22 AWG
  • e. Power and motor control wires are strongly recommended to use consistent color coding with different colors used for the Positive (red, white, brown, or black with a stripe are recommended) and Negative/Common (black or blue are recommended) wires. Wire and cable management products of any type are permitted (e.g. cable ties, cord clips, sleeving, etc.).
  • f. Wire insulation materials of any type are permitted when used to insulate electrical wires or secure motor control wires to motors (e.g. electrical tape, heat shrink, etc.).
  • g. The connectors on the TETRIX and MATRIX battery packs may be replaced or augmented with any compatible connector described in above.


Add this to your collective memory, but Remember team captains and coaches! ALWAYS bring a printed Game  manual 1 with you to tournaments- and print out any exceptions or new guidelines from the forum posts if you utilize those in your robot design.  In 2015, we were sent away from a field challenge, not because we weren’t correct in our challenge, but because the judge said he wanted to see it in print.  Maybe the head ref truly was unaware that Samantha control center incorrectly routing the robots so our alliance controlled each other’s partner robot, and not our own robot, was cause for a rematch, but none the less, he requested a Game Manual rule citing and we were denied our rematch 😦  Which, to FTC’s credit, will NEVER happen again since we do not have the S.F.C anymore!  But be aware of the rules, they will all matter!  For or against you, they will all matter.

Winter is coming…. program now!

We have two programs we need to learn before the start of our regular season. Yes, it’s summer, but it’s also the most free of other subjects you will be ALL year, so I want to reward you for being awesome, helping your team, and learning this software!
CAD programming
JAVA programming
We have purchased programs; if you need the course, ask the coach. You can also use any program or book you like to complete the programs. you do not have to use the UDEMY course, but that is available to you as an option!
First CASH Award categories:
First finished with the program ( this means you did 100% of the program. You will need to complete the final project in the series to prove you did the course.)
First 50% through the program ( this means you did 50% of the program. You will need to complete the middle project in the series to prove you did the course.)
First one to create a complex program (about 30% of the way through the course) using either program (No, “hello world” doesn’t count as a complex program for award purposes. No, a CADed bar or pole doesn’t count as complex 😉
CASH awards categories (no race):
Finishing either program
Making it through 50% of the program ( this means you did 50% of the program. You will need to complete the middle project in the series to prove you did the course)
 Create a complex program (about 30% of the way through the course) using the programs (No, “hello world” doesn’t count as a program for award purposes.)
“First” awards are larger, but the awards all come with cold hard cash advances. I am serious about motivating you! If nothing else, do it for the glory of saying you got the top prize in that category 🙂
Arbitrarily Judged Food awards: we’ll look at all the final projects as a group and choose a winner   
Overall Favorite project
Most complex program/CAD award
Zaniest or funniest program or CAD
Most useful Program
All the food awards are judged by your peers through secret ballet at an early September meeting.
Good luck team! 
Coach Brandy

Andriod phone set-up for new FTC season, 2015-2016

Here’s a video series that shows how to set up the Android phone system for the new FTC season.  Thanks to GEARSinc for posting these videos.


Intelitek has teamed up with FIRST and developed 20 hours of learning modules.  This training is available on line when you want it!
Training will introduce the Android platform hardware, provide training material to master MIT App Inventor programming and Java programming with Android Studio.

Newport News June camp- Lessons learned. CHECK. Robotics programmed. CHECK. Counselors sat upon. CHECK.

Our week long camp has come to an end, but we are left with great friendship forged and great battles fought and won.  Thanks to all our campers for making this week worthwhile.  We are looking forward to our August camp!

IMG_0148 IMG_0155 IMG_0179From free build to robotics programming, campers were excited about all the aspects of camp that had them moving, creativing and problem solving.


The campers overcome Arik. (Thanks for being a great sport Arik.)

IMG_0223 IMG_0539 IMG_0540 IMG_0545 IMG_0554 IMG_0558 IMG_0644 IMG_0649 IMG_0748 IMG_0818 IMG_0835 IMG_0840 IMG_0876 IMG_0898 IMG_0951IMG_0767 IMG_0773My favorite instant challenge- the cup challenge!  Bring legos over to the far end of the room, when you can’t touch the cups.


CNU Stem Outreach to the community





Setting up for success!

Solve today’s problems. Untangle the world’s mysteries. Find an Exciting career. Make a Meaningful contributionIMG_2895 IMG_2898 IMG_2899 IMG_2900 IMG_2901 IMG_2902 IMG_2903 IMG_2904 IMG_2906 IMG_2907 IMG_2908 IMG_2909 IMG_2912 IMG_2913 IMG_2914 IMG_2915 IMG_2916 IMG_2917 IMG_2918


We got into the spirit, and instead of scrimmaging with other teams, we allowed STEM Day participants to drive the robots around.  Jr FLL and FLL teams came over from their stations and were able to test out the next level of FIRST play.  Thanks to the CNU and the LED Empire for setting up the FTC stations and inviting us.

Java Quest outreach


The kids get really into explaining classes and objects…. sorta. Going over the lessons learned from the FTC forum, we learned A LOT about the path we’ll need to take to get to the first tournament.


The EIs take a break from the java program lesson to eat, drink, and laugh together. All those acronym quizzes Coach Brandy kept throwing at us, we had to stay on our toes. Java introduction is hard work!

Thanks to the LED Empire for coming to the meeting and learning about the new system with us. We will work together ore on the programming in the future!