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The Android control system adopted by FIRST in 2015 was a great step forward for the FIRST Tech Challenge. This system is easy-to-use, but at the same time offers amazing processing power.  Participants in the FIRST Tech Challenge can readily incorporate advanced technologies, such as computer vision and machine learning, into their competition robots.

Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. In our continued effort to make the user experience as smooth as possible, FIRST will be retiring a few items which are presently allowed in the FIRST Tech Challenge competition.

For the 2020-2021 season the following Android phones will no longer be allowed for use within the FIRST Tech Challenge:

  1. ZTE Speed
  2. Google Nexus 5
  3. Samsung Galaxy s5


While these phones have served our community well, there is limited (and dwindling) support for these aging devices. The rules for the 2020-2021 season will not allow these Android devices to be used in sanctioned FIRST Tech Challenge events.

We introduced the REV Robotics electronics in the 2017-2018 season, replacing the original Modern Robotics Core Control Modules. The REV electronics opened a new chapter in the FIRST Tech Challenge, allowing the functions of five separate Modern Robotics modules to be combined into a single unit. In addition to being much more cost effective for teams, it also gave teams much more design flexibility and fewer electrical connections to manage.

In the 2020-2021 season we will also phase out support for the Modern Robotics Core Control Modules:

  1. Core Control Device Interface Module
  2. Core Control Motor Controller
  3. Core Control Power Distribution Module
  4. Core Servo Controller


The majority of these Core Control devices have already been replaced by teams with REV Robotics electronics. As a result, supporting the legacy Modern Robotics modules has become more and more challenging, leading to lesser experiences for teams who use these devices. In the 2020-2021 season Modern Robotics Core Control Modules will no longer be allowed in sanctioned FIRST Tech Challenge events.

We are excited by the continued evolution of technology and will work hard to ensure limited disruption to teams, with as much forward compatibility as possible with existing devices. Our goal is to provide the FIRST Tech Challenge community with technology that makes getting into our program straightforward and that has the capacity to do some incredibly cool things. Tensorflow and Vuforia are great examples where teams can apply leading edge technology in their FIRST Tech Challenge experience that will serve them well in the program and beyond.

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