FTC Blog - What’s new for the 2018-2019 Season

Link: http://firsttechchallenge.blogspot.com/2018/05/whats-new-for-2018-2019-season.html?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=63036436&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-93tNcIl8kMwWCK4zQrp3c3nZTyq3IGPgTXO8qUmc_c6GJOc0DMn8_iQig70GoUnoX0XkesOlLnDMKuplYmwCxInl2IKuuRVniES7jIGNeD-RjN00c&_hsmi=63036436

The blog introduces two new major changes: Legacy modules have been phased out, and a robot weight limit of 42 lbs has been introduced. Removing the legacy modules was a move I’ve seen many people calling for, but the addition of a weight limit is very interesting. Does anybody have thoughts on either of these changes?

I’ve coached (jr. high) FTC for the past 6 years. We’ve gotten some heavy robots, but never near 42lbs. We aren’t that competitive of a team (compared to other states), so the weight limit might affect them more. I think most Michigan teams don’t get that heavy either.

I think this change will only affect the really competitive teams that average 50lbs+ robots every year. Most other teams don’t come close.

Wouldn’t weight limits make sense for a Lunacy style game? :eek:

42 lbs.

42 is a “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” reference

42lbs = 5 gallons of water. :ahh:

42 pounds limits the top tier teams. I have seen robots that weigh 70+ pounds. They can pack a lot into a small frame.

I think this will bring teams closer together competition level wise. It is a lot harder to do everything if you have a limit.

Honestly, this changes almost nothing… sure some teams built super heavy weight robots, but the vast majority do not and my general experience these last two years has been that super heavy robots aren’t necessarily more effective, just because these games have emphasized speed over most other things.

That being said, I’m happy that there is a limit now. It gives another interesting constraint to teams that were previously overbuilding. I actually hope it goes down in the future.

As a team mentor for both FRC and FTC, it’s nice to see a weight limit, and will be easy for our FTC teams to verify by using the scale we use for FRC. As far as the control systems go, we quickly adopted the Rev Hubs as they were much more stable for us than the Modern Robotics system.

As an inspector for FTC in Michigan, I rarely encounter super heavy robots. Mostly because the FTC season in Michigan pretty much mirrors FRC in how quickly the build season moves along. Having said that, there were a few FTC robots that were quite heavy, and one comes to mind that might weigh in near that limit. (I remember it bowing the inspection table…)

I’d imagine this weight limit will restrict the high school FTC teams that make it to Worlds on a regular basis. The last year in St. Louis, I was quite impressed with how many mechanisms they were able to pack into the 18" cube for the Velocity Vortex game.

Interesting, as I’d never heard anybody say anything about this. Why were people calling for their removal? My only guess here was the software team didn’t want to support these modules moving forward for some reason?

[Edit: see note at bottom, related to game speculation]

On the FTC reddit, many folks were speculating that this was because there would be some field element that would break (like a climbing support) if a very heavy robot interacted with it. But FTC has had climbing challenges before that didn’t harm the field elements (Block Party, RESQ), so IMHO this would only come up now if they were manufacturing next year’s field elements and only now found that the elements would break more easily than expected.

This. My money is on this. 10 years from Lunacy, another space-themed year.

If there are slick field tiles, heavier robots have better traction. If there were no weight limit at all and slick field tiles like in Lunacy, teams would be motivated to add arbitrary amounts of weights on their robots to improve their control. Setting a reasonable weight limit puts everybody on a level-playing field, traction-wise.

[Edit: FRC robots playing Lunacy were purported to suffer from static issues due to the materials in the wheels and field interacting, plus lots of sliding. Perhaps the Legacy modules and related cabling are more susceptible to static so they’re disallowing them for 2018-19 to try to avoid more robot static disconnect issues?]