FTC Team Space

Thinking outside box in an 18″ box

About Us

SPACE is a FIRST Tech Challenge team from the Newmancollege in Breda. The team consists of 8 enthusiastic students who share a passion for technology. Every member has its own tasks to make sure all goals are met. All tasks can be divided in the following categories: Building, Engineering, Programming and PR.

The builder- and engineer tasks are focussed on designing and building the robot. With the use of drawings and 3D-models a robot design is made, witch will be builded by the builders.
The programming tasks are programming the website and the robot. Only 2 team members are put on this task, but they get help from other teammates if needed.
The Public Relations tasks are everything that is not the robot, for example outreach, our appearance and finance.

Achievements

2015-2016

– Attended the Dutch Open 2016

2016-2017

– “Connect Award” nominee at the FTC World Championship St. Louis 2017
– Attended the Dutch Open 2017

2017-2018

– Winner of the “Inspire Award” and the “Finalist Alliance (Captain) Award” at the Aviano Invitational 2018
– Winner of the “Motivate Award” and the “Finalist Alliance (Partner) Award” at the Dutch Open 2018

2018-2019

– Winner of the “Inspire Award” and the “Winning Alliance (Captain) Award ” at the FTC NL League Championship
– Ranked 7th in the Edison division of the 2019 Detroit world championship

Geschiedenis

2015-2016 : FIRST RES-Q

SPACE, or S.P.A.C.E. at that time, was founded in September 2015 by 5 freshmen, who have all participated in First Lego League (FLL). They were allowed to start a team on the condition that at least one sophomore joined the team. Thus, Nigel and Ray joined.

When it became apparent that FTC was a lot harder than FLL, the team recieved help from Tessel. She had been at the World Finals in the 2014-2015 season with Team Tulip.

The only thing that was missing was a name. After a lot of thinking, we decided to name ourselves after our robot: S.P.A.C.E. (Self Programmed Android Controlled Entity).

Our debut season mainly consisted of trial and error. The change from Mindstorms to android phones was made, which resulted in no one really knowing what they were doing, and poor documentation. The challenge was one of the hardest since a few years. Most of the points were scored by climbing a mountain made out of metal rods, and latching on to that. Because were far from experienced, we had a robot designed in the two weeks before the competition. Where all other robots looked like tanks, ours looked like a toy car. The only unique things about our robot were our wheels. We designed them ourselves, and printed them with our 3D printer. We were on of the first teams in the Dutch competition that printed a main element our their robot. We expanded on this in the next season.

2016-2017: Velocity Vortex

Our second season was a huge leap forwards. We used our experiences from last year to be more serious ans more organized this time. This is the season where our PR was really put to the test.

Because we didn’t really know what we were doing last year, we never really did Outreach. We did this year. In the off-season, we gave workshops to younger children, and helped our school coach FLL. More info about that can be found in our outreach portfolio. For better recognition, we changed our name and logo.

S.P.A.C.E. 2.0

When our school got a new team, we donated all of our materials to them. We were experienced, after all, and they could use the help. We did have to buy new materials, however. This wasn’t a problem, until we discovered how high the shipping costs are. Thus, we decided to make our robot ourselves. The construction of the robot mainly consist out of aluminum, because it’s easy to use. It’s firm and light. The bottom is made out of aluminum, and the walls are made out of blue, transparent plastic.

On the Dutch Kick-Off we heard that there would be some difficulties around the Dutch Open, because the main sponsor withdrew. We got more clarity at the end of the year. The Dutch Open would go trough, but after Worlds. This meant that there suddenly were two tickets to Worlds available. The judges ruled that teams could send in a pitch, and that would decide if they would compete in America or Italy (where other matches were held).

Our video pitch

Of course we wouldn’t want to let this opportunity slide, and we immediately started thinking of ways to stand out. SPACE wouldn’t be SPACE if we didn’t think outside the box. We quickly thought of submitting a video. After all, a video can say way more than a letter. We wrote, translated and recorded a script. Nigel was missing something, so he interviewed his First Lego League team.

“The interview gave the pitch that bit of character it needed.”
– Nigel

After 12 hours of editing, our pitch was finished, and we are happy with the result.

A huge difference

After a long wait, all teams that were allowed to go to Italy would get a message. Six teams were chosen. We weren’t one of those. A few members were understandably dissapointed, but some kept hoping. This was good news. You’re not allowed to participate in both matches, so there was a possibility we would go to America.

On the 11th of Januari, we got message from the jury. We were chosen to represent the Netherlands in St. Louis!

On the 24th of April, the day was there!

After months of working hard, we managed to collect enough money to afford the trip to St. Louis. Everyone was looking forward to what could happen. After a long journey, we arrived in St. Louis. On day two, the adventure really began. The matches, the judging and the talking to other teams. Everyone was really friendly and the atmosphere was truly amazing! The robot did better than we expected. We were very happy with that. When we eventually did have troubles with our robot, enough people were there to help. There were big shows and an award ceremony. We didn’t think we’d win anything, but we were nominated for a “Connect Award”, which made us really happy! To us, it meant that we were on the American level on that aspect. The atmosphere at the finales was amazing, it’s almost impossible to describe how great the atmosphere was.

2017-2018: Relic Recovery

The third season was Relic Recovery. The team was reinforced by three freshmen: Reinier, Dylan and Thomas. They all quickly found a place in the team.

This was the first season we really were able to compete. With the knowledge we gained from Worlds, we were able to build a competitive robot. Our outreach also greatly improved. That’s why we’re so proud of the 4 awards we managed to get. 

Good season

We made another pitch, in an attempt to go back to America. We weren’t chosen this year, unfortunately. A lot of members were disappointed, but that disappointment didn’t last long. Not much later, on the 22nd of December 2017, We were invited to the Aviano Invitational in Italy. This motivated us to spend an entire vacation working on the robot. The robot slowly took shape in the vacation. With barely enough time to write an autonomous, the robot was ready for the matches. 

On the 23rd of Januari, we landed in Venice, and took the bus to Aviano. A lot of the time was spent in the hotel, working on the robot. The matches went great, and the robot worked well. Our gyroscope made it a lot easier for our drivers, and gave us a huge adventage compared to other teams. The award ceremony was very exciting. The results were kept secret until the award ceremony, so they could be announced there. We were very nervous. We just barely lost. Even though we got the Finalist Alliance Captain Award, we were very disappointed. Lastly, the Inspire Award winner was announced. No one was really paying attention anymore, because we did not expect to win. We were very surprised when we heard our name. Everyone was really happy with the price. We saw it as an award for all of our hard work.

We also competed in the Dutch Open 2018. These matches also went great! A few adjustments were made since Italy, which made the robot work amazingly. We were hoping to win another Inspire Award, and preferably also a Winning Alliance Captain Award. Unfortunately, we won neiter, since some teams were just better than we were. We did, however, win the Motivate Award and the Finalist Alliance Partner Award, which was also great. 

In the end, it was an amazing year for Team SPACE. With our newfound experience, we hope to achieve even greater things next year. Next year, we’re going for another Inspire Award and Winning Alliance Captain Award.

2018-2019: Rover Ruckus

Our fourth season was Rover Ruckus. There were big changes within the team. Where Olav, Ray, Tessel, Thomas and Yfke left, Anne-Wil, Kyra and Simone joined. We also encountered another problem: next year, nine of our eleven members will have to leave the team due to the age limit.

We totally went for it this year. Bring our A-game, we’re going for gold. We aimed for the Inspire at the Dutch Open, and thus our ticket to Worlds. After our achievements last year, we only wanted to surpass that.

No holds barred

We were ready. We all watch the screen, waiting for this year’s challenge. Shortly after, we started brainstorming. So many ideas! The best ones were chosen, and we started working on their execution. Our PR also went a lot bigger than last year. More sponsors, more events, more outreach. We bought a pit made of PVC pipes and banners. We were aiming for America.

And then, the day was there. The Dutch Open 2019. We were thrilled. Weeks of practice, weeks of looking forwards, all for this day. The matches went well. We were in the ranking, and thus got to choose our alliance. One of the other teams from our school was also an Alliance Captain. This is the alliance we defeated in the finales. Winning Alliance Captain! At the award ceremony, we were scared we’d win another award. That would mean we didn’t win the Inspire, since you can’t win two judged awards. Fortunately, we didn’t. We got the Inspire Award, and thus our Worlds ticket. Afterwards, it was announced that a second team would go to Worlds. This team was team Pink to the Future.

Fast forward a bit, and we are in Detroit. We went for the early bird check-in. After that, we had an entire day for ourselves. Everyone got the opportunity to see America. But afterwards, the time was there. Time to play matches at Worlds. We only lost one single match, and got the 7th place in our division. However, we weren’t chosen for the finales. While we were down for a bit, we were still very proud of what we had achieved.

Next year, only Dylan and Reinier will remain. This is a big change, but both of them are ready to keep the name of Team SPACE high!