Java Dragons, team number 18069, are a First Tech Challenge (FTC) team in South Carolina. Our parent organization is the Charleston Dragon Robotics 501 (c)(3). The team began in the 2020-2021 season. According to the official rules, teams may have from two to fifteen members. Java Dragons started out small, recruiting five members to the inaugural team. However, it has since expanded to thirteen members.

During the FTC season, the team meets twice a week. To find out what the Java Dragons have done this season here.

A circuit board such as one used by the Java Dragons, a Charleston robotics team

What is an FTC team?

An FTC team is a team that builds medium size robots that compete against other teams on a worldwide scale. If FTC interests you, you can learn more here. Out of respect for humanity, all FTC teams work to maintain the high ideals of gracious professionalism, harmonious teamwork, and unwavering inclusion of everyone and their invaluable ideas.

It’s way more than building robots. FIRST Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 team members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.

The robot kit is reusable from year to year and can be coded using a variety of levels of Java-based programming. Teams design and build robots, raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach to earn specific awards. Participants are eligible to apply for $80M+ in college scholarships.

Each season concludes with regional championship events and an exciting FIRST Championship.

First Tech Challenge

What is FIRST?

FIRST is the non-profit that runs FTC. It also runs competitions for older and younger students. First Robotics Competition is a high school only robotics competition with larger robots than First Tech Challenge. First Lego League is a competition utilizing Lego robots.

Java Dragons Outreach

The team has significant experience with outreach. It had booths at the Lowcountry Mom’s Run, the Bees Ferry Fest, Girls in Aviation, and Air Show. Booths often included opportunities to drive the robot, additional information about First Lego League or first in general, and an opportunity to speak with the heads of Charleston Dragon robotics.

The team has also been running beginning and advanced camps for two years. These camps teach students about the basics of Lego robotics through a week of classes and competitions and require extensive setup.

Starting in 2022, the team began offering elementary camps too for younger children. This camp utilizes Lego’s set of activities built into the programming app.

Like many other teams, the Java Dragons have a social presence on many platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. The team also shares content on their blog.

Java Dragons Design

The team is currently using PTC Creo via PTC’s generous sponsorship of FTC through free software licenses. However, some of our members are using their simpler web modeling software – SolidWorks. The team’s past robots the Scuff-Mobile and Smaug have not relied nearly enough on modeling, but the team is working towards better planning.

In the past, the team has used mainly Rev parts but has recently begun using more Go-Builda parts.

Java Dragons Documentation

The team has built on templates from and presentations from various FTC teams and official information from FIRST to craft an ideal documentation process. The team uses Trello to set deadlines and then tracks progress meeting by meeting. Details are broken down into divisions, which include design, programming, game strategy, and even documentation.

Java Dragons Members

Rhett
Robot Design Head

I’m Rhett, the local organizer and scouting expert. I’ve been on Java for a year, and in FIRST robotics for three. I help out where I can, but, as the boxes require constant organizing for optimal design team operation, that’s where you’ll find me in most meetings.

Ryan
Outreach Division Head

My name is Ryan. I am 18 years old and this is my 3rd year on the team. I am the head of outreach and manage the social media accounts for the team.

Isaac
Documentation Division Head

I am Isaac. I am a founding member of the Java Dragons. This is my second year as head of the documentation division. I am homeschooled.

Evan L.
Robot Build Division Head

Hi, my name is Evan. I have been in FIRST robotics for 5 years. I started in FLL and graduated to FTC. In Java Dragons, I am the build team lead.

James
Strategy Division Head

I am 16 years old. I love running, building, and strategy. I am the strategy head this year on Java, and this will be my seventh year in robotics.

Ethan
Programming Division Head

I am 15 years old. I am the head of programming. This is my eighth year in robotics, including doing FLL for five years.

Evan C.
Robot Design Division

My name is Evan. This is my forth year in robotics. I was on FLL for three years. I love legos, soccer, robotics, drums, ultimate frisbee, and basketball.

Elijah
Robot Build Division

This is my first year of FTC however I have been doing robotics for four years. I enjoy designing robot ideas.

Landon
Robot Build Division

My name is Landon. This is my first year of FTC and Charleston Dragon Robotics. I used to play football.

Les
Robot Build Division

My name is Les. This is my fifth year in robotics. I was on FLL for four years. This is my first year on FTC. I like to do archery and robotics. 

Jonathan
Robot Design Division

I'm Jonathan. I work on 3D modeling.

Dillon
Outreach Division

My name is Dillon. This is my second year in FTC. I was on the FLL team Onyx Dragons for two years. I love helping to build and I want to become a better designer to help my team.

Kenny
Robot Design Division

My name is Kenny. I like to problem solve and discover new ways to do things. I am very curios about the world around my and I love robotics, theatre, and the sciences.