Introducing FalconCamps: Interactive Online Workshops for Design and Programming

Team 4099 is proud to introduce FalconCamps! In response to COVID-19, we’ve decided to take this opportunity to teach students engineering and programming concepts in a distance-learning environment.

Throughout our time in FRC, we’ve learned that two major things teams need to improve themselves are 1) having team members who are passionate about learning more and 2) having resources available to teach them. We’ve often found that while it’s not too difficult to find one student/mentor on a team who is super interested in improving things (if you’re reading this post, that may be you on your team), they can do a lot, but they can’t make big changes on their team unless more people buy in. We’ve also found that while a lot of students have other commitments/priorities and therefore won’t spend tons of unstructured free time watching robotics videos and reading up, a lot of these same students will regularly attend structured team hands-on workshops and be willing to learn from them. This, along with the relative lack of FRC-related resources for true beginners in both CAD and programming (many of whom need lots of direct guidance), is what motivated us to develop FalconCamps.

FalconCamps aims to provide a structured team workshop experience for students anywhere in the world. Each workshop consists of five two-hour online meetings in which campers will learn more about STEM topics that interest them in an interactive and friendly environment. Lessons will be taught by experienced members from our team (to see what these members did during the past season, see our build blog thread). Each workshop is one week.
We’re hosting two different online workshops, Design and Programming. There are two levels for each workshop - beginner and intermediate. If you can’t make it to the first session, don’t fret! There are two different dates for each workshop.

Beginner Design workshops will cover the basics of CAD and mechanical design thinking. By the end of the week, you will have the chance to CAD real robot parts!

Intermediate Design workshops will cover the optimal usage and mathematical analysis of FRC hardware. We take a look at Onshape CAD shortcuts and talk about tips and tricks specific to FRC. The final project is to fully CAD a robot subsystem from scratch!

Beginner Programming workshops will cover the basics of Java, writing code that runs on FRC robots, the new command-based framework, and testing & debugging code. You’ll be able to test the code you wrote on Team 4099’s 2020 robot over video call!

Intermediate Programming workshops will cover PID tuning, closed loop control, motor characterization, basic trajectory following, integrating sensors into code, auto-feeding and shooting, determining when you have a game piece, using Limelight, and using NetworkTables. As with the beginner session, you’ll be able to test your code (and see your PID tuning results) over video call on Team 4099’s 2020 robot.

If you have any specific questions about the curriculum, or if you’re wondering if something specific is covered, please feel free to ask via email or posting in this thread.

The registration fee is $100. If you refer friends who sign up, your price goes down to $90! We also offer a team discount for teams who are signing up a group of students. If your team is interested in this, please email us at [email protected]. If you’re interested in the camps but cannot justify the price in the current economic situation, please contact us and we’ll try to figure out a solution for you.

All of the above details, sign up information, and more, are available on our website at Redirecting….

We hope to see you at FalconCamps!


Will there be recordings of workshops?

Thank you for doing this. This is an excellent opportunity. Is there a limit to how many people are participating? I sent the info to my team, and I may be interested as a mentor, but I do not want to take anyone else’s spot.

We are planning on making the slides and recordings of the lecture portion of the workshops public, primarily for campers to rewatch if they want. I want to emphasize, though, that this is not the primary or unique part of the camps – the content we cover in the lecture portion is covered in some online resources that are freely available already. The unique part of these camps is that students will be able to receive one-on-one guidance from our experienced team members when they have questions or want to go more in depth on any topic.

Thanks for your interest! There is currently a soft limit of 20 people per session, but if there’s enough interest to fill up all of the sessions, we’re open to expanding each session (and getting more counselors to maintain the student:teacher ratio) or adding more sessions. I wouldn’t worry about taking someone else’s spot.

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