Introduction & History of VEX
VEX is a great opportunity for middle school, high school and post secondary students. It introduces students to the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) experience. Students receive a hands on & realistic approach to learning. Competing in VEX also teaches students lifelong skills such as; teamwork, leadership and problem – solving. VEX has given way to other robotics products that cover education, consumer and business markets. It was created by Innovation FIRST in 1996. They originally produced electronics for autonomous mobile ground robots. They are now a leader in educational and competitive robot products and have started several companies: VEX Robotics Inc., RackSolutions Inc., Innovation FIRST Labs Inc.
How it Works?
VEX Robots are built using pre-made modifiable parts. VEX Robotics releases a new game every year and each team is responsible for designing, creating, programming and evaluating a robot that can successfully compete in the game. Teams attend various regionals to compete. Regional winners qualify teams for the World Championships as do certain awards.
Teams attend various regionals to compete with other local teams. They play a certain number of qualification matches with random partners. The top 8 teams at the end of QM, get to be "Alliance Captains", they get to pick their own partners for the. Elimination Rounds. Robot & Programming Skills challenges also take place at competitions. Tournament Champions, Design & Excellence award winners qualify to World Championships.
The VEX Game
All games are played on a 12 ft by 12 ft field. Each match features 4 robots, two on each alliance of blue & red. A match consists of autonomous and tele-operated modes. There are certain constrains which the robot must meet. The game objects can be manipulated according to game rules.
Sack Attack (2012 – 2013)
VEX Sack Attack is played by two robots on each of the alliances, that have to pick up and score green and gold sacks throughout the course of the match in troughs of various heights.
Gateway is played on a 12 ft by 12ft field separated into two isolation zones and one interaction zone. Robots must pick up balls and barrels of their respective alliance color and score them in goals of various heights in either zone.
Round Up (2010 – 2011)
Round Up is played by opposing dual robots that have to pick up the tubes of various colors by scoring them on various goal posts: portable ones located around the field, as well as on the perimeter. In the middle of the field is 36" ladder that can be climbed for additional points.
The World Championships consists of 400 H.S Teams, split across 4 divisions: Science, Technology, Engineering & Math. There are also another 100 Middle School and 50 college/university teams that compete. Teams play qualification matches to establish ranking, and then do the normal alliance selection. Top 8 seeds play elimination rounds, and then the winning alliance of the division faces off against the winning alliances of the other divisions in an ultimate showdown. Elimination matches are best of three matches. These championships have been held in Greenville, Dallas, Florida & Anaheim.
The Entrepreneurship Aspect
Each VEX team = Enterprise. There are several administrative tasks that are key in becoming a successful. These include; Project Management, Book Keeping, Sponsorship Proposals and Media Outreach (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Website). Community involvement is also a big part of VEX.
The Canadian Timeline
2012 – 2013 VEX Robotics Season
- Toronto VEX Robotics Competition – Dec 1, 2012
- Crescent VEX Robotics Scrimmage – Dec 8, 2012
- Southern Ontario Robotics Championship – Dec 15, 2012
- Central Toronto VEX Robotics Championship – Feb 2, 2013
- St. Catherine's VEX Robotics Competition – Feb 9, 2013
- Mississauga VEX Robotics Competition – Feb 23, 2013