The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a robotics competition for upper middle and high-school students. It offers the traditional challenge and excitement of a FIRST Robotics Competition but with an accessible and affordable robotics kit. The ultimate goal of FTC is to reach more young people with a lower-cost, more accessible opportunity to discover the excitement and rewards of science, technology, and engineering.
In 2005, FIRST and RadioShack teamed up to present the FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC) demonstration at the FIRST Championship in Atlanta, GA. The purpose of the demonstration tournament was to stimulate and explore interest in FIRST Vex competitions. The event was an overwhelming success. FIRST began a full pilot of the program during the 2005-2006 FIRST season. After two years as a pilot program, the FIRST Board of Directors approved FTC as an official FIRST program, changing the name to FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) in 2007.
During the first official season in 2007, FTC grew to 799 teams and 31 official events, reaching about 8,000 students across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
An improved and more powerful robot kit was introduced in 2008. This reusable kit combines the powerful LEGO Mindstorms NXT controller, sophisticated sensors with Tetrix metal hardware and gears. Teams can use one of 3 programming languages for their robot: Labview, RobotC or NXT-G.
This new kit also allows for a smoother transition from FLL into FTC by using the same NXT controller FLL teams have been using for a number of seasons. For the 2008 season, FTC grew to include almost 1,000 teams from over 9 countries.
Resource Page: FTC Communications Resource Center