2010 VEX Robotics World Championship

Grant Imahara

This year’s VEX Robotics World Championship was bigger than ever with more than 400 high school and university teams from around the world. It was held in Dallas, Texas again this year, so you can be sure we were there. The local Dallas Personal Robotics Group also got in on the act, offering their members as volunteers to help with the event. I managed to avoid serving as a judge this year, so I had more time to take photos, several of which you can see below. Grant Imahara awarded the top prizes to China’s Shanghai’s Luwan team and New Zealand’s Free Range Robotics and Kristin Doves teams. To make things even crazier, the BEST National Championship was held alongside the VEX events. The Metro Homeschool team 229 from Blue Springs, Missouri took the first place BEST award. Read on for more photos and details from the official VEX press release or check out my photos of the event.

Dallas, Texas – April 26, 2010 – Winners of the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship were crowned this weekend by Grant Imahara, host of the Discovery Channel’s hit show MythBusters. Shanghai’s Luwan high school team and New Zealand’s Free Range Robotics and Kristin Doves teams triumphed as the winning alliance after defeating nearly 400 teams through multiple rounds of intense competition. Elite VEX teams from middle schools, high schools and universities representing 14 countries competed at the Dallas Convention Center on April 22-24 with innovative robots they designed and built using the VEX Robotics Design System.

The VEX robots were engineered to play the game “Clean Sweep” with students applying their programming skills and strategic thinking to defeat the opposition. Participants of the VEX program compete throughout the year and learn critical life skills including leadership, teamwork and technical problem solving. Richard Paul, captain of the Free Range Robotics team from the winning alliance said, “VEX Robotics has taught us how to work together in high pressure situations. We’re now better prepared to handle challenges because we’ve learned how to approach problems with different solutions.”

The VEX Robotics Competition World Championship included qualifying teams from 14 countries including Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States for three days of non-stop, high-energy robotics challenges. The VEX Robotics program is the largest and fastest growing middle and high school robotics competition in the world, featuring 200 events with 2,600 teams representing 20 countries.

“At the VEX Robotics World Championship, students get to be the stars and are celebrated for applying what they learn in the classroom,” said Paul Copioli, president of VEX Robotics. “Our commitment is to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math education to get them excited about pursuing technology careers.”

In addition to the middle and high school championship, China’s Mianyang Normal University earned the College Championship title. Several teams also received prestigious awards for Robotic Skills, Programming Skills, and Excellence Awards. In the High School Division, Green Egg Robotics team #44 from Oakham, Massachusetts received the Robot Skills Award and
Currahee team #1103 from Orwell, Ohio garnered the Programming Skills Award. In the Middle School Division, the Design Award went to Singapore team #8059A, while the esteemed overall Design Award went to Whitney High School Robotics #542 from Cerritos, California. Excellence Awards were presented for the top overall robotics programs and were awarded to
high school team #1509 from Ridley College in Ontario, Canada; Pearl City Hawaii Highlands Intermediate Middle School team #394; and a college team made up of students from Drexel and Temple Universities out of Exton, PA.

BEST Robotics, a middle and high school robotics program established in 1993, hosted its national championship in conjunction with the VEX Robotics World Championship, where Metro Homeschool team 229 from Blue Springs, Missouri won the first place BEST Award. The BEST Award is the highest honor that any team can receive, and goes to the team that best embodies the spirit of the BEST program. Meanwhile, Conway High School team 185 from Conway, Missouri earned first place in the Robotics Award, for having scored the most points in the game, including preliminary, semi-final, and championship matches.

Partnering with Innovation First International as presenting co-sponsors are Autodesk, NASA, EMC Corporation and the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation. Additional supporting partners include Technology Students Association (TSA), Intelitek, Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University, FUTURE Foundation, ST Micro, MathWorks, ID Tech Camps, and Hyatt Regency Dallas.

The 2010/2011 game VEX Round Up was also unveiled at the VEX Robotics World Championship. The game is played on a 12’x12’ square field and two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – composed of two teams. Each alliance competes in matches consisting of a twenty-second autonomous period followed by two minutes of driver controlled play. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent alliance by placing tubes upon goalposts, owning goalposts, and by low hanging or high hanging from the ladder.

For more information about the VEX Robotics World Championship and all other award winners, please visit RobotEvents.com.

About VEX Robotics, Inc. and Innovation First International: VEX Robotics, Inc. is a subsidiary of Innovation First International, a privately held corporation, which was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First International began producing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.

The company’s three subsidiaries, VEX Robotics, Inc., Innovation First Labs, Inc. (makers of HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures), and RackSolutions, Inc. span the education, consumer and business-to-business markets. The VEX Robotics Competition was launched in 2007, designed to give a diverse group of students the chance to celebrate their accomplishments and share their passion for robotics with each other.

Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

In the 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center and corporate office located together in a 13-acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innvationfirst.com for additional information.

(Portions of this text appeared in SERVO magazine and on the robots.net blog)