VEX Systems: EDR & IQ
The VEX Robotics programme allows students to explore their interests in technology in a unique and engaging way. Beyond science and engineering, VEX Robotics encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups.
Every year, new robotics "challenges" are released. The first usual question to this is: is it like robot wars? Do they fight!? If you were hoping for a yes, sorry to disappoint. VEX games are about building well design robots and programming them to play in nondestructive competition (think: robot football but more creative).
Each game in the EDR High School competition is played on a 12 foot by 12 foot field, with a red alliance of two robots and a blue alliance of two robots. There is some way to score points, and at the end of a match, the alliance with the most points wins. Matches are usually 2 minutes long, with an initial 15 second period where the robot drives itself (autonomous) followed by a period of driver control where up to two drivers can control it.
In the IQ challenge, a "teamwork challenge" is released in conjunction with the EDR game. The challenge is played on a 4 foot by 8 foot rectangular field where two robots work collaboratively to score as many points as possible. Ordinary matches run for 60 seconds, the two additional challenges have also proven to be very popular. The Programming Skill Challenge where one robot scores as many points as possible autonomously and the Robot Skills Challenges where one robot takes the field to score as many points under driver control.
In New Zealand there are regular scrimmages where teams can test out their current designs in a friendly, and competitive manner. This leads up to the Nationals event which is in March. Somewhere along the way, a team may qualify for the World Championships which is an incredible experience. These are held during the term one holidays in Louisville KY.