VEX World Success!
The VEX World Championship has grown tremendously over the last few years. The event had over 15,000 people from 24 different countries. Many of these teams did not speak English, but that mattered little in the grand scheme of celebrating science & technology. The event is organized by the RECF and supported heavily by many sponsors like Innovation First International who designs the VEX Robotics platform. The DiscoBots brought two robot teams to the event, "Alpha" and "Zeta" team that competed in separate divisions. The team also joined our partner teams, cloud "5678" and bellaire "2585" that we share space with at Rice University. Shown below is a picture of the team.
The teams at the event play a game that changes every year. The game this year, called "Sack Attack" involved robots collecting beanbag sacks and depositing them on elevated goals. With 200 sacks on the field and only two minutes of play, the teams were challenged to build a machine to pick up the sacks efficiently. The best robots picked up sacks quickly but also featured sophisticated autonomous routines using sensors to effectively pick up sacks without human control. Shown below is a picture of the competition. VEX Robotics also released a recap video .
Surprisingly, the robotic teams from New Zealand took home the big awards at the event. The "Kiwis" from New Zealand won the main competition and the overall top skill score category. The DiscoBots team from Houston that I mentored went on to become Tournament finalist at the event! Shown below is a picture of the 2013 DiscoBots VEX robot name "Mini-Jockey".
In addition to the competition, VEX added event more excitement to the event by announcing a new product line called the VEX IQ platform. The new platform has many similarities to existing Lego robotics platform including easy to snap together plastic pieces. Adding competition the plastic robotic design space opens up a new avenues for younger children. Historically, the FIRST Lego League and Lego Mindstorms kit were the only option for kids in the elementary range learning about robotics. Now with VEX IQ , students now have multiple options for robotics education at a young age. Shown below is the "Brain" of the VEX IQ system.
The students and alumni also put together a interesting reveal video of the robot this year !