There are 4 different levels of robotics competitions that FIRST offers. Jr. FLL, FLL, FTC, and FRC. FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) is the biggest and baddest types of robots that can be built as a high scholar. They can get up to 60,000 dollars per robot! FLL (FIRST LEGO League) was created for middle scholars, teaching them the basics of robotics using the Mindstorm NXT LEGO set. Jr. FLL is the Junior FIRST LEGO League. That is for smaller children, teaching them using the Mindstorm NXT LEGO set as well. And Finally, there is the FTC.
The FTC is a group designed for high scholars, and uses the TETRIX kit along with LEGO Mindstorm NXT. They are given a set of parameters in September, and they have to build a robot to fit the criteria for competitions in the coming year. This year, (2011-2012) was called "Bowled Over!" and incorporated plastic crates and raquet balls and bowling balls and ramps. All of these elements are used to gain as many points as possible in the 2 minutes and 30 seconds of game time allotted.
Most teams decided to create scissor lifts to life crates up as high as possible. The higher the crate, the more the points. Some lifts could reach up to 9 feet! That was over 200 points per crate. An important element that is on the field that MY team's robot used was the bowling ball. Our robot captures the bowling ball inside of itself. Then, during endgame it drives up the ramp and gains us those extra points.
Our team has a lot of fun. During meetings we would build, joke, play, and just have fun. During one of our meetings, we decided to name our robot "Wall-e" but since that name was trademarked, we named it "Wall-y".
Some of the images were designed using a CAD tool. That CAD tool is Creo-Pro Engineering.
There is just too much information about FTC to put into one instructable. So for more information, please visit www.usFIRST.org or www.CWRobotics.org. www.usFIRST.org is the center for all 4 FIRST competitions. www.CWRobotics.org is the web page of my team, team 4433 Smokin' Motors.
For an introductional video, please watch the YouTube video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FmfobxGy4gk#t=0s
Thank you for being interested in robotics!
Any furthur questions, please ask in the form of a comment. I will try to answer them as soon as possible
A special thanks to www.usFIRST.org and www.CWRobotics.org for any and all information and content that was used.
Image 1 is a 3D CAD drawing of Wall-y. So is image 2. Image 3 is a picture of the chassis of Wall-y, in it's early stages. Image 4 is a picture of 2 team members working on a separate robot with a mentor aiding them. Image 5 is the team right after finishing the practice field. Image 6 is a picture of another team, the "Lan Lords" using our practice field to test their robot. Image 7 is a picture of 2 team members with a scissor lift scissor, right after completion. Image 7 is Wall-y in test mode, wreaking havoc on the practice field. And finally, there is a PDF with a one-page summary of the competiton.
I am entering this Instructable in the Age 13 to 18 category of the Robot Challenge. I am 14.