Keaau VEX State Championship

This year the Hawaii VEX State Championship was held here, on the Big Island of Hawaii at Kea’au High School! 38 of the best teams from around the state participated in the competition, including two HVR teams, 1378B and 1378X.  Team 1378B started out the day strong, the 1st ranked team for the first three rounds of the qualifications matches.  They were able to make it to quarter-finals in an alliance with 3880S from Kealakehe and 4208B from Kamehameha!  1378X won the teamwork award for effective communication, building, and programming between all members of the team!  In addition, our beloved mentor Matthew Wung was nominated as the Hawaii State Vex Mentor of the Year!  Thank you for all you have done for us, Matt.  This was an awesome Vex season, and we look forward to the new game later this year.  Best wishes to Pearl City, Wailua, Kohala, Mililani in worlds!

2016 Kohala VEX Tournament

TMT Big Island VEX Tournament

On November 26th, our teams 1378X and 1378B both participated in a Vex Tournament at Kohala High. Team 1378X won the design award! Although their robot was having troubles midway through the tournament, their design and engineering notebook demonstrated their design’s creativity and effectiveness.  Team 1378B won the invent award and were in the finals! Their alliance with one of the Keaukaha and Mid-Pacific Institute went up against the winning alliance.  Both teams will be attending states on January 5th. This year it will be held in Keaau. Huge thanks to our mentors and advisors for all the assistance they have provided and for coming and helping us at the tournament!

2016 East Hawaii Waiakea Competition


East Hawaii VEX Robotics Competition

The East Hawaii VEX Robotics Competition is the annual VEX competition held on the east side of the Big Island. Teams primarily from the island of Hawaii typically attend this competition as their main competition. Although not as plentiful in attendance, teams from the neighboring islands also attend this competition. This year the competition was hosted by Waiakea Elementary School in their cafeteria on Nov. 4 and 5. With a total of 16 teams, this year featured a small range of teams of participating. This tournament was held in the same format as most other VEX regional competitions, qualification matches followed by picking of alliances for upcoming elimination matches. The one difference at this competition was the minimal number of teams which affected the elimination matches and alliance partnering. Instead of the normal 3 teams per alliance, there were only 2 team alliances which caused for all the teams participating to make it to the elimination stage of the competition. Hilo Viking Robotics once again entered a single team under Team 1378X. This team is one of the more veteran teams in Hilo Viking Robotics.

Video of 1378X in Action

VRC Kickoff 2016-2017 [04.23.2016]


Today HVR decided to meet to analyze the new VRC 2016-2017 Game, Starstruck, and decide on Team Captains for the season. We started off with watching the game release video, voting and then broke it all down.

Anybody who was interested in being a Team Captain had to express their interest a few days before our VEX Kickoff event. This year we had many people who were interested in captaining a team but unfortunately, we had only half the the number of available spots open. All candidates had to give a brief speech about why they were running for this position and what they had going for them. Here’s a look at each one.

    • Silas
      • Has three years of building experience
      • However, has never taken direct ownership of design
      • Most fun in Vex was with Joel during Vex Skyrise
        • Used personal and unique design
        • Made the building process much more fun
        • Would like the team to take ownership of their own unique ideas and recreate the same fun and productive atmosphere.
    • Dennis
      • This year there was a problem with controlling groups, and often having too much control.
      • Will make sure that everyone is involved.
        • No member will be left behind in any department, whether it be building, CAD, or Programming.
    • Josh
      • Has lots of past experience as a captain
      • Goals:
        • Get every team member to be able to do every job
        • All members will have at least a general knowledge of every department (building, programming, CAD, documenting, etc.)
    • Ara
      • Wants to lead an all girl’s team
        • Robotics tends to be dominated by males.
        • Wants to give females equal opportunity.
      • Would like to give the inexperienced female members more involvement in the design and building processes.
    • Gabe
      • Unfortunately wasn’t able to come in person and didn’t submit a speech.

Voters submitted their ballots, rating candidates in order of preference and turned their attention to the challenge of Starstruck.

Using game analysis techniques from VEX, we identified all the possible ways of scoring and de-scoring in Starstruck. To aid with the process of deciding which method of scoring was optimal to get to the end goal of winning, we used cost-benefit analysis. In this technique, we ranked each robot task 10-1; 10 being the most benefit towards winning, 1 being the least. Then we ranked the robot tasks again, from 1-10; 1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest. The ratio of benefit to difficulty for each task could then be used for comparison. The task with the highest ratio would be the most efficient (highest benefit:lowest difficulty) and achieving it should then be prioritized the most when think about robot design. This is the table we came up with when discussing scoring and cost-benefit.

  Scoring Benefit Difficulty Ratio
Stars Near Zone 1 6 3 2
Cubes Near Zone 2 3 5 0.6
Stars Far Zone 2 10 7 1.43
Cubes Far Zone 4 7 8 0.875
Low Hang 4 2 5 0.4
High Hang 12 10 7 1.43
Auto Bonus 4 10 N/A N/A
Star (Far to Near in own side) -1(from opponent) 6 1 6
Cube (Far to Near in own side) -2 (from opponent) 7 1 7
Over to the other side Various 10 7 1.43
Push star to touch both side (set to 0) 7 ? ?

After identifying the ways to score and prioritizing them, we looked into strategy for winning the game. By asking ourselves “What actions can we take to reach our goal?” we were able to make a list to then base the next part of our analysis on.

By knowing what you need to do, you can think about how to achieve that goal. How can we score the stars and cubes? What mechanism will we need to make to hang on the vertical bar? We made a list of tasks we would need to be able to do to be able to achieve our objectives. Now we proposed design ideas for doing these tasks. Many of our members had different ideas about how to go about this.

analysis (2)

By this time the votes were tallied and Team Captains were announced. Regular members joined which ever team they preferred, and Team Captains broke up and lead further discussion on the exact mechanisms to be incorporated in the robot.

This year there are several requirements for each HVR team to be eligible for competing in an official VEX tournament.

  • Team Captains must attend Team Captain Meetings lead by the VP of Internal Affairs.
  • Teams must have an Engineering Notebook that must be kept up to date through out the season.
  • Teams must have a CAD of their robot.
  • Teams must have an autonomous program.

Thank you for reading about HVR’s 2016-2017 Kickoff!

Pearl City VEX State Championship [12/12/15]

Hilo Viking Robotics attended the Vex: Nothing But Net state championship at Pearl City High School in Oahu. Our 1378 Z team placed 15th, with our 1378 team placing 18th and our 1378 X team placing 31st. More information on rankings and awards can be found here.

Our 1378 team had the opportunity to compete in elimination matches as they were picked by the 8th seeded team to compete against the first seeded team. We tried our best and gave it our all, but we ended up being eliminated after two well played matches.

We would like to thank all the teams for being sportsmanlike. Congratulations to the three first place teams: Pearl City High School’s 4142 A, 4142 B, and Punahou School’s 1841 A. Going to the state level competition this year was an amazing opportunity for all of our club members and a great honor for our club. Thank you to all of our sponsors, mentors, advisers, and parents. This wonderful experience could not have been possible without your help.



– Joel Paye (club secretary)

2015 – 2016 Vex Robotics Game: Nothing but Net!

Introducing this season’s game: Vex Nothing but Net.

Yet again, Vex Robotics has given us an exciting challenge. This time, bringing a complete fresh approach to playing Vex Robotics.

As with all Vex Robotics Competition games, Vex Nothing but Net is played on a 12 foot x 12 foot field. There are two alliances, one red and one blue, composed of two teams each. Each robot is limited to a size of 18 inches by 18 inches by 18 inches. The object of the game is to score the most amount of points through the scoring methods set by the game. Teams compete in matches with a 15 second autonomous period followed by a 105 seconds of driver operated period. The alliance that scores the most during the autonomous period will be granted a 10 point bonus.

The main scoring objects of the game are yellow foam balls and orange foam balls, each with a diameter of 4 inches. There are 10 tetrahedral structures on the field with 3 yellow balls and 1 orange ball each. In addition to this, each alliance has 4 pre-load balls per robot to load before the start of the match, and 24 driver control loads to load into robots throughout the match. The net at the opposite end of each corresponding alliance station forms a sleeve with a triangular opening at the top, representing the high goal, and a ramp extending down to the ground, forming a gap between it and a barrier(pipe), which represents the low goal. The yellow balls scored in the low goal are 1 point, and the same balls scored in the high goal are 5 points. The orange bonus balls are worth twice as much as any yellow ball. In addition to this, near the end of each match, alliance robots can move toward the climbing zone, represented by the triangle formed by the opposing corners of each colored tile and the nearest pyramid of balls, and attempt to lift alliance robots off the ground.  A robot lifted 4 inches off the ground is considered low hanging, and is worth 25 points, while a robot elevated 12 inches off the ground is considered high hanging, worth 50 points.

However, there is a twist, setting this year’s game apart from all previous games. Aside from aiding in the elevation of a partner robot at the end of a match, robots will not be able to extend outside of the 18 inch by 18 inch by 18 inch limit, challenging teams to find much more creative ways to score balls into the goal zones.

Nothing But Net Field

HVR is excited for another fun and educational Vex Robotics Competition Season.

For more information, please read the Game Manual.

For more updates, be sure to check the Vex Robotics Website, and the Vex Robotics Forums.



TMT Kohala VEX Tournament

On Saturday, November 22nd, HVR traveled to Kohala High school for the TMT Big Island Tournament. At the tournament, teams from all around the Big island and neighbor island schools were gathered to play this year’s VEX game, Skyrise.

For the first half of the matches, team 1378 stood undefeated, as well as seeded 1st. However, due to a number of fatal errors, various parts of our robots became less functional. Nonetheless, our members did not give up on finding a solution till the very end.

After Qualification rounds, team 1378Z stood in 11th place, and team 1378 stood in 12th place, joining the 5th and 6th seed teams, respectively. Both teams were eliminated in the quarter final rounds. At the end of the day, the tournament champions were teams 359A and 3590A, the Hawaiian Kids from Waialua high school, and team 2460, the Na Paniolo, of Kohala high school. For more information on this tournament, visit

Although this will conclude our 2014 – 2015 VEX robotics season, we will not take this as a defeat, but as a learning experience, and motivation to improve. We will review our accomplishments and our mistakes, as well as that of other teams so that we can return stronger than ever before in the next season. Despite our poor performance, it was a fun and exciting season. We hope to do better next year.


Meanwhile, we will be preparing ourselves for the upcoming FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) season, as well as concentrating on both fundraising and outreach. We will also be planning for our winter Camp Eureka, a youth robotics camp hosted by our students. If there are any fundraising and outreach opportunities that you can offer us, please contact us at


HVR Hosts the TMT Hilo Viking VEX Tournament

Last Saturday, the Hilo Viking Robotics hosted the TMT Hilo Viking VEX Tournament at Hilo High school, in Hilo, Hawaii.

The tournament champions were teams 1973B and 1973A from Mililani High school, with team 1869B from Saint Joseph. The runner ups were teams 3880X and 3880A from Kealakehe High school, with team 1056B from Waiakea High school. In addition to leading the first seeded alliance and winning the tournament, team 1973B scored the highest in both Driver and Programming skills, showing that they deserve the Excellence award. In addition to the tournament champions, team 7312B from Leilehua High school, winning the Design award, will be competing in the State Competition in Maui.

Team1973Score We would like to thank TMT, Kona Ice, the Hilo Viking Robotics boosters, all of our sponsors, volunteers, judges, and participants for making this event possible every year.


Our team also entered two of our robots, but due to many unexpected technical difficulties, we did not perform as well as we expected, both our teams being eliminated in the quarter finals. However, we were able to meet with many inspiring teams and see their outstanding designs. With our resolve renewed, we are determined to rise back to our former glory.


Despite the sweat and tears that were shed, and regardless of whether we won or lost, the competition provided tons of fun, and motivation to move forward.


Here are some pictures of our event:

WaiakeaKealakehe WaiakeaInter Team1973Skyrise Team1378station Team1378Scouts Skills station SaintJoseph PitArea Mililani leilehuaKohala KealakeheKonaIce

Visit our flickr page for more pictures!

Kohala VEX League Tournament

After four tournaments and over one hundred qualification matches, the big island VEX league tournament came to end this weekend.  After qualification matches, our team 1378 ended the tournament as first seed with only two loses while team 1378Z and team 1378X ended seeded seventh and eight.  Team 1378Z won a spot to states by earning a score of 68 in driver skills, won the build award, while also making it to semifinals with team 1378.  With the state competition in only a couple of weeks all of our teams need to prepare for stiff competition to come.  We will keep everyone posted about our performance at states and we hope to continue on to the VEX worlds competition.