Between the First Lego League Competition and the First Robotics Competition lays FTC, or First Tech Challenge. FTC is designed to couple the challenge offered by FRC with the accessibility and lower cost of FLL. FTC teams are composed of up to ten students ages 14 to 18.
As with FLL and FRC, the game for FTC changes from year to year. Each year's challenge is announced in September, and unlike FRC, teams have no time limit within which they must complete their robots. FTC events fall into four categories. Scrimmage events are generally run by volunteers and serve mostly as practice for teams, while Qualifying Tournaments, Championship Tournaments, and the World Championship are run on a tournament model. Teams must compete in a Qualifying Tournament (similar to an FRC District or Regional event) to place in a Championship Tournament, and compete in a Championship Tournament (similar to an FRC State event) to place in the World Championship, which takes place alongside the FRC World Championship. Like FRC events, teams will be judged and given awards at Qualifying Tournaments, Championship Tournaments, and the World Championship.
FTC is an important part of FIRST, as it allows high school students to develop the problem-solving, mathematic, engineering, and people skills that come with building a robot and being a part of a team, but at a far smaller cost than what FRC poses. FTC helps ensure that anyone can become a part of the FIRST community.
For more information on FTC, visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc.