FIRST® Tech Challenge
Team Blast September 14, 2023

Hi ,

  1. Congratulations on an Awesome Kickoff
  2. Last Chance to Register for the Kickoff Sweepstakes
  3. FIRST® Tech Challenge Game Q&A Forum
  4. Software Development Kit Update
  5. Machine Learning Toolchain Update
  6. Tech Tip of the Week
  7. FIRST Tech Challenge Scoring Calculator
  8. FIRST Tech Challenge Events


Congratulations on an Awesome Kickoff

Our 2023 CENTERSTAGESM presented by RTX season Kickoff has been our best Kickoff yet! If you missed out on the broadcast, you can join in on the fun here. If you are looking for the game animation, it is available on our YouTube channel. Make sure to thoroughly read through our Game Manual Part 1 and 2 before getting started with your season.

Last Chance to Register for the Kickoff Sweepstakes (US Teams)

Last call to enter the 2023 Kickoff Sweepstakes for teams based in the United States. The sweepstakes closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 14.

Four winners will receive a 2023-2024 CENTERSTAGE partial game set and scoring elements. Whether a new or returning team, having the elements used at official competitions, can help:

  • strategize game-play tactics
  • get hands-on experience with CENTERSTAGE game elements,
  • program your robot to exact field specifications,
  • and run practice matches

Teams just need to complete their 2023-2024 FIRST® Tech Challenge team season registration before September 14, 2023, for a chance to win the 2023 Kickoff Sweepstakes.

The sweepstakes prize package includes one (1) 2023-2024 FIRST Tech Challenge season CENTERSTAGE partial game set and scoring elements, a total approximate retail value of $350.00. The package does not include field perimeter or soft tiles. If a team has already completed their FIRST Tech Challenge season registration, they are already entered into the sweepstakes.

FIRST Tech Challenge Game Q&A Forum

The FIRST Tech Challenge Game Q&A Forum will open on Monday, September 18, at 12:00 p.m. ET. This forum allows teams to ask questions about gameplay, competition rules, judging rules, robot build rules, field setup and team provided element construction.

Please see our instructions on accessing the official game Q&A form. Please read both Game Manual Part 1 and 2 prior to posting questions to the forum. Learn more in our blog post here!

Software Development Kit Update

The Software Development Kit (SDK) 9.0 contains a default TensorFlow model that can detect the white Pixel used as the default Randomization Object. The sample code built into the SDK uses this default model, so teams can load the sample code and immediately begin testing and understanding the properties of the default model. The TensorFlow for CENTERSTAGE document on ftc-docs is intended to help teams understand the default model, understand the challenges with recognizing objects like the Pixel, and provides tips for teams when choosing their own Team Prop.

Machine Learning Toolchain Update

The FIRST® Machine Learning Toolchain has reopened for the 2023-2024 FIRST Tech Challenge season! The FIRST Machine Learning Toolchain is a tool for FIRST Tech Challenge teams to create custom TensorFlow Object Detection (TFOD) models for use on their robots without any programming experience needed. Teams can use this to create models to detect their custom Team Props for use in the game. It’s important to fully read and understand the user guide for the FIRST Machine Learning Toolchain prior to attempting to use it. Each team has a limited number of training resources allocated to them, so it’s imperative that teams fully understand the tool before training models.

Tech Tip of the Week

This week’s Tech Tip of the Week is all about updating software on your Control Hub. If you use Android Studio, did you know that you’re not supposed to use the REV Hardware Client to update the Robot Controller (RC) App? Blocks and OnBot Java programs are stored on the Robot Controller (SmartPhone or Control Hub) differently than Android Studio programs, and this has a major effect on how updates can be managed on the device. Read more about this at Updating the Robot Controller (RC) App on ftc-docs.

FIRST Tech Challenge Scoring Calculator

New this year, we’ve created a scoring calculator tool for teams. It is available in the FIRST Tech Challenge scoring system cloud under the “Resources” tab. This scoring calculator tool is for teams to use during practice, no data will be saved. This tool cannot be used for any official events.

FIRST Tech Challenge Events 

The official event results website will rollover for the 2023-2024 season by September 30, 2023. New features include a map with location pins for all events in the area, Twitch stream of live events, and new look and feel. 

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