The Vex Platform
The Vex Robotics systems offers students an exciting platform for learning about science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).
The small scale of the robots allows for flexibility within robot construction and easy maintenance, putting emphasis on design choices. The relatively cheap and reusable parts of the already fabricated and standardized parts reinforces that level of versatility.
In a classroom setting, Vex (and it's smaller scale Vex IQ sibling) are the perfect tool for introducing students to robotics concepts.
This current Vex Season: In the Zone
Although we haven't participated in any tournaments yet, we look forward to hosting a practice competition at Hilo High School on September 9. We look for an exciting season! Click here to learn more about this year's Vex Robotics Competition.
This Past Vex Season: Starstruck
Last year, we participated in the Pan Pacific Championship on Oahu, TMT East Hawaii Tournament at Waiakea Intermediate, the TMT Big Island Tournament at Kohala High, and the Hawaii State Championship at Keaau High. We were quarterfinalists, semifinalists, and finalists at our competitions, taking home a Teamwork Award, Build Award, and Design Award.
Vex robots can be made with aluminum pieces, up to ten motors (in some cases 12), pneumatic systems, and can include a plethora of different sensors. Robots typically compete 2 vs 2, chosen randomly for each match, on a 12 ft by 12 ft field. Robots are typically limited to being 18 in by 18 in initially but may sometimes expand during the 2 minute matches. A game will usually have a main scoring method, with different levels of scoring based on the robot's capabilities, and a final objective to obtain additional points.
Designing and Building
With the introduction of each season comes the need for a new design. The various limitations, such as size and motor capacity, really test the capabilities of the builder as they create the various systems to achieve scoring.
These systems are simplified into a drive train for mobility, an intake for game piece manipulation, and a lift or other scoring mechanism to allow the piece to reach its goal.
In order to make a robot function, a program is required. We use software called RobotC, a variant of the C programming language, to accomplish this. While programming basics for a system can be easy, the potential for high end algorithms, such as PID, is there to challenge teams to accomplish more.
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