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Object Tracking in First Tech Challenge

July 22, 2016 - 2:12pm #1


In case someone reads this and doesn't know what First Tech Challenge (FTC) is: FTC is one of the robotics competitions of FIRST. Since PTC is a Strategic Partner of FIRST, we've looked into using Vuforia in next year's competition!

They've announced that the beacons from last season will be on the field again this season.  We don't know anything about next year's game, but it's likely the robots will need to find the beacon in autonomous.  Vuforia could be really useful to locate the beacon.

A problem came up when we tried to scan the beacon into Vuforia.

We printed a large paper (24" x 24") for scanning, placed the beacon on it, and tried to scan it.  There were not enough feature points for it to get an accurate representation of the beacon's size and shape.   I can send you a picture of the results if it would help.

It's not the paper. I scanned a remote controlled car, about the same size as the beacon, on the large paper and it scanned fine. We think it's because it is plain white plastic with no features. I did try turning it on so that it is lit with red and blue lights, but that didn't make a significant difference.

While there may not be much that can be done to fix this, we thought it was worth pointing this out to Vuforia/PTC.

Here's an image of what we're trying to track (ignore the basket):



FTC Team #3491

Object Tracking in First Tech Challenge

September 16, 2016 - 2:12pm #3

The task is to autonomously drive your robot to the beacon and then click the button corresponding to your team's color. A video explaining the task can be found here, however it should be noted that only the first few minutes which discuss the autonomous period are relevant to this post. The beacon has red and blue LEDs in it and each half will randomly be assigned to red or blue before each match. I have not personally experimented with scanning the beacon's but our team (Columbia High School Robotics Team 4102) plans to use Vuforia to search for these beacons and will likely encounter this same problem with the shape being too nondescript later down the road. Could you elaborate on how one could go about tracking a blob? Also, could the fact that the beacon will be illuminated red and blue (or blue and red) be used to help uniquely identify this blob?


FTC Team 4102

Object Tracking in First Tech Challenge

July 25, 2016 - 10:50am #2


I would agree with your assessment about the target. There are not enough surface features for the Vuforia Object Scanner to extract and create a useable dataset from the beacon's form factor.

Can you explain more about how the beacon functions during the challenge? I ask because we have had other devs who have developed their own 'blob' tracking solution - an rudimentary extension to Vuforia, if you will. They use LEDs to derive a pose of an object. Not sure if this approach would help in your challenge.



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