Right after the FTC DoDEA event we started into the first league meet. We were now experienced in uploading the videos and entering the results with the scoring app into the system. Three weeks later we played in the third league meet. Each team is supposed to participate in two of the four league meets. Again, our videos are available on YouTube:



In the third match of the third league meet we even set a new non-US high score of 432 points! With this we have qualified for the finals of the FTC Netherlands Championship. In the meantime, you can watch our robot reveal video.

This season is unusual for us since most tournaments are going to be held remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a challenge to build, program and test the robot with the current restrictions in place. Nevertheless, we integrated our new team members well into our team and did our best while participating in the FTC DoDEA Remote event with our robot. More than 20 teams participated with their robots, uploaded their match video and entered their scores in the scoring app. Despite competing remotely, we already knew many teams from the last season. At the end of the week, we were ranked 2nd with an impressive score. Moreover, we won the Control Award. Our match videos are available on YouTube.

A special thank you to the organizers and all volunteers for making this event happen!

Also, this year our team represented Switzerland at the FIRST Global Challenge. In contrast to the previous years, the challenge was held purely remote and lasted about 3 months. The focus of this year was Connecting Communities. Several Social Media Challenges, a few Technical Challenges, some STEM Talks and Interviews and a couple of Technical Training Sessions. Every nation contributed to this extraordinary type of event by generating proposals how robots could support the human beings in the future. Check out the dedicated Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FGC2020CC. More information about this challenge and the game manual are available here: 

https://first.global and https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Uk4qNMllrL6TZbdJmcUQ2sUkZ0IYbgsNTAb7W4RaUbU/edit

Our team had qualified for the FTC World Championship in Detroit at the end of April 2020. However, due to Covid-19 pandemic the event was cancelled. The team felt really sad about it since they had spent so much effort this season and had finally qualified to the world championship. Anyhow, let’s close this season with some pictures and the robot reveal on YouTube.

On 21st and 22nd February we participated at the DoDEA-Europe FTC Invitational 2020, held at the Kaiserslautern High School. This event was moved from Italy to Germany and therefore it was held there for the first time. We were amazed how many fields were set up in the open space. The first day was sometimes very crowded when students had to change class rooms. Here and there they also took a glimpse at the different robot design and their capabilities. At the end of the day everything was well prepared for the competition days. During the day judges conducted many interviews with the teams.

Not only US-teams from Europe but also from the Netherlands, from Germany and from Switzerland participated at this tournament. Each team played 5 matches and some played a surrogate match to balance out the match schedule. Our first match was against Team Pretty Smart Robotics which we already knew from the Dutch FTC final. Although the scores of the matches differed quite considerably each and every team enjoyed the matches and had fun. At the end of the qualification matches we were able to select our alliance partners. Our choice fell on the team RobotIGS from Göttingen and on team Dead Banana One from AFNORTH High School. This international alliance cooperated very well and won the final with a new high score of 119 points. Moreover, we won the Inspire Award and will participate at the World Final in Detroit.

It had been a wonderful day in Kaiserslautern and we met many new young people in a friendly and collaborative environment. Also, a big thank you to the organizers and the volunteers who made this event possible!

This year we got an international FTC number from FIRST. We’re now officially team 16360 Highland-Lynxes and still the only team from Switzerland. Therefore, we participate again in the open Dutch championship. However, with our FIRST Global Challenge attendance, we weren’t able to join before the third league meet in Eindhoven. Our current team worked really hard to have a robot ready for the competition at the end of November.

We travelled to the TU/e Campus and after some searching, we finally found the location of the event. With excitement we waited for our first match of the season, that we won against team S.P.A.C.E. However, in FTC your opponent can be your alliance partner in another match. In a later match we achieved a new high score of 88 points together with that team. Since it was our second season in the Netherlands, we met many teams from last year. At the end of the day we had gained some experience and knew what we could improve on our robot. 

Our second league meet took place in Utrecht at the end of January. With an improved robot design and more practise driving around with so many stacked stones we were winner of the day. At the same time, we also set a new high score of 108 points. As second ranked team we had qualified for the FTC NL League Championship 2020 in Breda. There we had a tough day but were still part of the winning alliance formed by Pink to the Future and rounded off by Skyline. The final matches were really thrilling with scores above 100 points. In addition, we received the Design Award for our most innovative and creative robot.

More information about FTC at https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc

This time our journey took us to Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg. The 3 teams of the “Königin Katharina Stift” had organized a Scrimmage and 6 more teams from Germany attended. Additionally, the Dutch team “Pretty Smart Robotics” and we joined the scrimmage. In contrast to our other competitions, this event was close by and we could make it in a day.

We arrived early at the beautiful historic building of the gymnasium and got settled in the spacious rooms. The local teams had set up two fields and we lent them a foundation and two skystones for the day. The teams interacted well among each other and exchanged ideas how to build robots. After lunch some matches were played and one could see what works well and what could go wrong. We got some insights and will do some improvements for our next league meet in the Netherlands. All the youngsters from the teams had a great day and enjoyed the event.

This year Nico, Stephan and Ronny participated as FGC Team Switzerland 2019 at the FIRST Global Challenge in Dubai. The team video was generously edited by former robotics student Julian. In contrast to last year, the event took place at the end of October due to high temperatures in the host country. Escaping from the cold and wet weather in Switzerland they travelled together with their mentors to the sunny and warm UAE. After having set up the pit and tuning the robot, some practise matches where played in order to get familiar with the actual surface and game elements. The later were different from the ones we used while testing the robot at home. As a consequence, our robot shot the micro pollutants too high and too far. During the following competition days, fine adjustments were made and the team advanced to the quarter finals.

However, not only competition and coopertition was in focus but also learning about other people from all over the world. Getting to know youngsters from different cultures and embracing similarities and difference was a lifetime experience for our team. Working together in solving the challenge of cleaning the ocean from micro and macro pollutants was an awesome experience. Every robot from our alliance partners did their best with the skills they had. FGC is not about winning or losing but bringing different people together and collaborating. We also enjoyed the gorgeous opening ceremony and had the honour to meet and talk with Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST and FIRST Global.

More information and videos are available on the FIRST Global website https://first.global/archive/fgc-2019/

Since it perfectly fitted all our calendars, we accepted the invitation of our championship alliance partner Casimir Tech for their off-season event. Once more we travelled to the Netherlands. It was a sunny but cool day outside the Lorentz Casimir Lyceum while inside everybody was very busy. In addition to some Dutch FTC teams also some FLL teams from Spain attended this event.

For the off-season event the game has been changed in such a way that a qualification matches alliance was formed by three (instead of two) teams, the size of the field was doubled and there were now two landers. It was quite funny with six robots on the field at the same time. After the official matches we played two additional rounds with even eight robots on the field. It was not so easy to keep track what was going on the field and where the other robots from our alliance were. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun.

After the event we went to an Italian restaurant to have dinner and to chat with the team Casimir Tech. They also showed us around in the pedestrian area in the city centre of with sightseeing of the Philips Light Bulb Factory and the Blob building among others. We had a great time and are hopping to see you all in autumn.

On Friday, the 22nd and on Saturday the 23rd February we participated at the DoDEA-Europe FTC Invitational 2019, held at the Aviano air base in Italy. The first day of competition we set up everything, intensively tested and calibrated our robot. We also had our judging session where we presented our robot. At the end of the day our robot worked flawlessly and we were ready for competition on the next day.

After the opening ceremony on Saturday morning the qualifying matches started. We won all our qualifying matches and lined up for alliance selection. Even though we didn’t have many tie-breaker points, we were still a top scoring team due to our accurate autonomous program and reliable arm. We even scored a new Aviano high score together with the German EAGles. This successful and complementary combination formed an alliance for the semi- and final matches. We reinforced the alliance with the Dukes of Brabant, a Dutch team that we knew from our FTC competition in the Netherlands. Although the German EAGles latching mechanism was destroyed during semi-finals, we still managed to win the finals.

It was an intense and close competition with a lot of fun. To top it all off we won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for our unique arm. What a nice round up for this year’s FTC-season.

As an FTC Rookie team we signed up for the FTC Netherlands League at this season’sFIRST Tech Challenge Rover Ruckus. With our robot we attended our first league meet at the Newman College in Breda. We learned the nuances of the matches and how the scoring works. We also realized that we had chosen a different but effective concept for our robot compared to the other Dutch teams. For our second league meet we travelled to the Zwijsen College in Veghel. There we met some new teams. We helped Frits Philips Robotics Team with some of our spare servos because some of their parts. At the end of the day we had qualified for the Championship in The Hague four weeks later.

Finally, the Championship took place in February at the Maerlant-Lyceum. Every team had improved their robot for the Championship. It was a very exciting and challenging day. After the qualification matches only the FTC veteran teams S.P.A.C.E and the local team Pink to the Future were better ranked than us. They also won the qualifying awards for attending the FTC final in Detroit. Congratulations!

During the season we have met many Dutch teams, had many interesting discussions with enthusiastic youngsters in a relaxed atmosphere and made many new friends. It really didn’t matter how simple or sophisticated a robot was, since the aim of FTC is to solve a problem together and shapes the participants for the future. We made a lot of experience and look forward to the next season.

More information about FTC at https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc

At the beginning of August Jonas, Marco and Chiara participated as Team Switzerland 2018 at the FIRST Global Challenge in Mexico City. They have been following robotics classes during High School (Kantonsschule Zürcher Oberland) under the guidance of Stephan and Riccardo for the past couple of years. In contrast to several national Lego robotics competitions, the FIRST Global Challenge (FGC) was something completely new for them. The FGC is an international robotics competition in which more than 180 countries from all over the world participate. The robots for this challenge were built out of the professional RevRobotic kits and had maximum dimensions of half a meter. The whole competition took place in the big arena of Mexico City, where Mexico’s President and Dean Kamen emphasized the importance of these events in their opening speech.

The aim of the FGC is to work together on global problems beyond cultural and political borders. Therefore, the tasks the robot has to solve deal with such problems. However, the tasks may not be solved by the single teams alone, but have to be solved in an alliance with two other country teams together. Thus, the game mode is designed for collaboration, which we all really liked. We have met so many new people from all over the world, with whom we all share the same passion. This week in Mexico City, we have gained a lot of new experiences that we will never forget again

More information and videos are available on the FIRST Global website https://first.global/archive/fgc-2018/