FTC:Awards

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This is a complete list of FTC Awards given at tournaments. The Description and Criteria sections (in italics) for each award below are taken from the FTC Award Descriptions provided by FIRST.[1]


Inspire Award

Description

This judged award is given to the team that best embodies the ‘challenge’ of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. The team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST team. This team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. The Inspire Award winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism® both on and off the playing field. This team shares their experiences, enthusiasm and knowledge with other team, sponsors, their community, and the judges. Working as a unit, this team will have showed success in performing the task of designing and building a robot.

Criteria

  • Team must submit an engineering portfolio. The engineering portfolio must include summary information about the robot design, information about the team, and a team plan. The entire engineering portfolio must be high quality, thoughtful, thorough, concise and well-organized.

Tips

  • If a team wants to be an Inspire Award candidate, they should not just focus on robot or outreach, but must balance their time between both areas.

What Judges Look For

  • Teams must perform well in at least one robot award category (Innovate, Control, Design) and one outreach award category (Connect, Motivate). However, most Inspire Award candidates are well-rounded and perform well in almost all categories.

Think Award

Removing engineering obstacles through creative thinking.

Description

This judged award is given to the team that best reflects the journey the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The engineering content within the portfolio is the key reference for judges to help identify the most deserving team. The team’s engineering content must focus on the design and build stage of the team’s robot. Journal entries should include descriptions of the underlying science and mathematics of the robot design and game strategies, the designs, redesigns, successes, and opportunities for improvement. A team is not a candidate for this award if their portfolio does not contain engineering content. **For remote events, sharing a screen that displays specific pages from the engineering notebook will suffice. In no way will a team be expected to upload their entire engineering notebook.

Criteria

  • Engineering portfolio must have engineering content. The engineering content could include entries describing examples of the underlying science, mathematics, and game strategies in a summary fashion.
  • The engineering portfolio must provide examples that show the team has a clear understanding of the engineering design process including examples of lessons learned.
  • The portfolio should inspire the judges to want to see the specific detailed engineering content in the engineering notebook.
  • Portfolio format is less important but enables the judges to understand the team’s design maturity, organizational capabilities and overall team structure.
  • Portfolio could reference specific experiences and lessons learned but should capture the summary of the current status of the team and their robot design.
  • Portfolio could also summarize experiences and lessons learned from outreach with concise tables of outcomes

Tips

  • Read the season’s portfolio and notebook requirements in the Game Manual carefully, including page limits. Missing a requirement will count against a team at best and disqualify a team at worst.
  • Use more pictures and less text. Judges have a lot of portfolios and notebooks to go through. They don’t have time to read paragraphs. Keep text to a few sentences at most.
  • Include hand-drawn or CAD drawings when documenting design ideas and include robot pictures when documenting the implementation of those ideas.
  • Include a page on what the engineering process means to the team.
  • Make the steps of your engineering process obvious. Your process should be recognized at a glance, not hidden in multiple entries.
  • Include pictures of the progression (iterations) of subsystems, not just one picture of the final result.
  • Include math. Find ways that math can help in your designs and include the calculations in the portfolio and notebook.
  • Consider a format other than writing about what was done at each meeting (meeting diary). It is harder for judges to find the engineering process in that kind of format. If that format is used, make sure the subsystem iterations are obvious in the entries.

What Judges Look For

  • The portfolio and notebook need to fulfill all the requirements outlined in the Game Manual Part 1.
  • Iterations of subsystems are important. The evolution of subsystems should be obvious to the reader.
  • Math is looked upon very favorably, so use it whenever possible.


Connect Award

Connecting the dots between community, FIRST, and the diversity of the engineering world.

Description

This judged award is given to the team that most connects with their local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) community. A true FIRST team is more than a sum of its parts and recognizes that engaging their local STEM community plays an essential part in their success. The recipient of this award is recognized for helping the community understand FIRST, the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the team itself. The team that wins the Connect Award aggressively seeks and recruits engineers and explores the opportunities available in the world of engineering, science and technology. This team has a clear team plan and has identified steps to achieve their goals.

Criteria

  • Team must submit an engineering portfolio.
  • Portfolio must include a plan that covers the team’s goals for the development of team member skills, and the steps the team has or will take to reach those goals. Examples of what the plan could include are timelines, outreach to science, engineering, and math communities, and training courses.
  • Portfolio must include a summary of how they acquired new mentors or acquired new knowledge and expertise from their mentors.

Tips

  • Engineering connections should be a two-way street. Teach companies about FIRST and FTC, but learn about their profession as well. Getting advice about the robot is a bonus.

What Judges Look For

  • Learning from professionals is just as important, if not more so, than telling them about FTC.

Collins Aerospace Innovate Award

Bringing great ideas from concept to reality.

Description

The Collins Aerospace Innovate Award celebrates a team that thinks outside the box and has the ingenuity, creativity, and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This judged award is given to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any specific components in the FIRST Tech Challenge game. Elements of this award include elegant design, robustness, and ‘out of the box’ thinking related to design. This award may address the design of the whole robot or of a sub-assembly attached to the robot. The creative component must work consistently, but a robot does not have to work all the time during matches to be considered for this award. The team’s engineering portfolio must include a summary of the design of the component or components and the team’s robot to be eligible for this award. Entries must describe how the team arrived at their solution.

Criteria

  • Team must submit an engineering portfolio.
  • The engineering portfolio must include examples of the team’s engineering content that illustrate how the team arrived at their design solution.
  • Robot or robot sub-assembly must be creative, elegant and unique in its design.
  • Creative component must be stable, robust, and work reliably.

Tips

  • Look for different ways of doing common operations
  • Don’t be afraid to sacrifice performance for a new idea
  • Consider using 3D printing to uniquely solve a problem
  • The innovative part doesn’t have to work, but is better if it does
  • The evolution of the innovative part must be documented in the required engineering portfolio and notebook (if the team has one)

What Judges Look For

  • Innovative ideas are hard to come by, so unique ideas can attract a lot of attention
  • Some judges consider software algorithms as qualified for innovation, but some judges don’t
  • All new and unique ideas are good, but an innovation that helps a team score points during a match is better than if it doesn’t
  • Judges will watch how an innovative part operates during matches. It doesn’t have to work, but judges are interested to see if it does.
  • Judges will look for the evolution of the innovation documented in the engineering portfolio or notebook. Better documentation of the innovative part sets a team apart.

Control Award, sponsored by Arm, Inc.

Mastering Robot intelligence.

Description

The Control Award celebrates a team that uses sensors and software to increase the robot’s functionality in the field. This award is given to the team that demonstrates innovative thinking to solve game challenges such as autonomous operation, improving mechanical systems with intelligent control, or using sensors to achieve better results. The control component should work consistently in the field. The team’s engineering portfolio must contain details about the implementation of the software, sensors, and mechanical control, but does not need to include copies of the code itself.

Criteria

  • The team must submit an engineering portfolio. The engineering portfolio must include engineering content that documents the control components.
  • The team must submit a Control Award submission form as a separate document. Teams should identify the control aspects of their robot that they are most proud of and should not exceed 2 pages.

Tips

  • A team cannot win the Control Award without submitting a Control Award application. If a team wants to win this award, they must submit the application to the judges.
  • A lot of teams use encoders and do PID, so find other software innovations to focus on.
  • Remember that there are many types of sensors that can help a robot in its operation: light, color, distance, touch
  • Find unique ways of using sensors
  • Using more sensors is generally better than fewer
  • Not a lot of teams add programming to help the drive team during the driver control period (teleop), so consider ways to help the drive team through software
  • Sensors that prevent the robot from harming itself is a plus (e.g. kill switch)
  • Code snippets should be in the team’s engineering portfolio or notebook with a description of what it does. Make sure the code screenshots are readable.
  • Avoid just printing out all the code to put in the engineering notebook. Code needs context (see previous bullet).

What Judges Look For

  • Judges look for use of sensors to help the robot understand its environment
  • Atypical ways of using sensors can get judges’ attention
  • Judges will watch how well autonomous and driver enhancements work during matches
  • Code snippets and descriptions of them are really helpful for judges to understand what they do and why

Motivate Award

Sparking others to embrace the culture of FIRST!

Description

This team embraces the culture of FIRST and clearly shows what it means to be a team. This judged award celebrates the team that represents the essence of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition through Gracious Professionalism and general enthusiasm for the overall philosophy of FIRST and what it means to be a FIRST Tech Challenge Team. This is a team who makes a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community, and sparks others to embrace the culture of FIRST.

Criteria

  • Team must submit an engineering portfolio.
  • The engineering portfolio must include a team organization plan, which could describe their future goals and the steps they will take to reach those goals. Examples of what the plan could include are team identity, fund-raising goals, sustainability goals, timelines, outreach to non technical groups, finances, and community service goals.
  • The team is an ambassador for FIRST programs.
  • Team can explain the individual contributions of each team member, and how these apply to the overall success of the team.

Tips

  • Measure impact quantitatively
  • Recording number of people impacted is better than # of hours participated
  • If team members participate in non-FTC events (e.g. food shelves, …), It is a good opportunity to tell people about their team, FTC, and FIRST
  • Teams should look for opportunities to impact more than just their local community (e.g. adding pages to this wiki, creating YouTube videos, mentoring teams in other states)

What Judges Look For

  • Judges look for how much a team tells the community about ‘’FIRST’’ and FTC.
  • Judges also look for how much teams help the ‘’FIRST’’ community
  • Telling people about FIRST and FTC is critical
  • Number of people impacted is more interesting than # of hours because teams measure hours differently
  • An event that a team organizes gets more consideration that an event that a team simply participates in
  • Teams that impact people beyond their local community are looked upon more favorably

Design Award

Industrial design at its best.

Description

This judged award recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic. The Design Award is presented to teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution. These design elements could simplify the robot’s appearance by giving it a clean look, be decorative in nature, or otherwise express the creativity of the team. The robot should be durable, efficiently designed, and effectively address the game challenge.

Criteria

  • Team must submit an engineering portfolio with an engineering content which could be CAD images or robot drawings of the team’s overall design and/or components.
  • Team also documents and implements strong industrial design principles, striking a balance between form, function, and aesthetics.

Tips

  • A team should document how they used the Engineering Process when designing their robot
  • Design elements that are not just aesthetic must be documented in the engineering portfolio and notebook (if the team has one)
  • Defining and executing a methodical experiment to determine the best solution is better than random trial and error
  • A robot should look orderly and tidy (e.g. organized wiring)

What Judges Look For

  • Judges want to see a methodical implementation of the Engineering Process
  • Judges will look for the evolution of design documented in the engineering portfolio or notebook. Better documentation of parts helps teams considerably because many teams don’t do it.
  • Aesthetics, while important, is not the first consideration, engineering process is.

Promote Award

Description

This judged award is optional and may not be given at all tournaments. Your judge advisor will have information about the judging for this Award. The Promote Award is given to the team that is most successful in creating a compelling video message for the public designed to change our culture and celebrate science, technology, engineering and math. Teams must submit a one-minute long public service announcement (PSA) video based on the PSA subject for the season. Teams may win the Promote Award only once at a Championship level event and only once at a qualifying level event.

Criteria

Video must meet the following criteria:

  • Video Must follow FIRST branding and design standards
  • Video cannot be longer than 60 seconds.
  • Video must be of a high quality, as submissions may be used later to promote FIRST.
  • Team must have rights to music used in the video.
  • Music and permissions must be listed in video credits
  • Video must have strong production value.
  • Video must be submitted by the deadline given by the Tournament Director.
  • Team must present a thoughtful and impactful video which appeals to the public.
  • Creativity in interpreting the yearly theme is required.

Tips

  • Be cognizant of the audio quality. If the judges can’t hear what is being said, they won’t be able to judge the video properly.
  • Consider adding subtitles, but don’t use them as a replacement for good audio
  • Show video to others to get feedback

What Judges Look For

  • Clear message relating to the PSA subject given in Game Manual Part 1

Compass Award

A beacon and leader in the journey of the FIRST Tech Challenge.

Description

This judged award is optional and may not be given at all tournaments. Your judge advisor will have information about the judging for this award. The Compass Award recognizes an adult coach or mentor who has given outstanding guidance and support to a team throughout the year and demonstrates to the team what it means to be a Gracious Professional. The winner of the Compass Award will be determined from candidates nominated by FIRST Tech Challenge student team members, via a 40-60 second video submission. The video must highlight how their mentor has helped them become an inspirational team. We want to hear what sets the mentor apart.

Criteria

Video must meet the following criteria:

  • Video must follow FIRST branding and design standards
  • Video cannot be longer than 60 seconds.
  • Video must be of a high quality, as submissions may be used at a later time to promote FIRST.
  • Team must have permission from the copyright owners for music used in the video.
  • Music and permissions must be listed in video credits
  • Video must be submitted by the deadline given by the tournament director.
  • Video highlights the mentor’s contribution to the team and demonstrates what sets the mentor apart.

Tips

  • Be cognizant of the audio quality. If the judges can’t hear what is being said, they won’t be able to judge the video properly.
  • Consider adding subtitles, but don’t use them as a replacement for good audio
  • Show video to others to get feedback
  • Talk about the mentor’s accomplishments, but appeal to viewers’ hearts

What Judges Look For

  • Clear mentor contribution to team and FIRST community, especially if the mentor has been involved in FTC or FIRST for multiple years

Judges Choice Award

Description

This award is optional and may not be given at all tournaments. The judge advisor will communicate with the tournament director to learn if this award will be presented, and to decide who the appropriate reviewers for this award are.

During the competition, the judging panel may meet a team whose unique efforts, performance or dynamics merit recognition, but doesn’t fit into any of the existing award categories. To recognize these unique teams, FIRST offers a customizable judges choice award. The judging panel may select a team to be honored, as well as the name of the Judges’ Choice Award. The Judges Choice Award recognizes a team for their outstanding efforts but does not factor into the advancement criteria.

Winning Alliance Award

This award will be given to the winning alliance represented in the final match.

Finalist Alliance Award

This award will be given to the finalist alliance represented in the final match.

Additional Resources

References

  1. "FTC Award Descriptions" (pdf). firstinspires.org. Retrieved 20 Jul 2021.