Just a few regional heats remain until the UK National Championships of the VEX Robotics and VEX IQ competition.
School and independent teams have been battling it out in the Starstruck and Crossover games over the winter, often competing in several different events to hone their programming skills and improve their robots.
Rapid helps co-ordinate the two competitions and supplies teams with the kits required to take part. Rapid's Education manager Chris Calver has been impressed with the way the competitors have responded to the challenges posed by each of this year's games.
"The VEX EDR game Starstruck has produced a number of different types of robots but as the season has progressed, teams have moved from flinging the game objects to collecting and dumping them over the fence", said Calver, who has been involved with the VEX competitions for the last five years. "This game has seen a lot of teams returning to pneumatics as a good way of powering their grabbing mechanisms. Tactically, this has been a pretty diverse game as well. There are a lot of robots that can high hang but there are also a lot of robots that are more than capable of completely clearing the field –an Alliance made up of a combination of these robots is going to be formidable!"
"Crossover is my favourite VEX IQ Challenge game yet", says Calver. "There are so many ways to build a successful robot. Lots of teams are focusing on taking the Hexballs from the fence and using these to score in the Elevated Goals – the fact that they start off the ground makes them ideal for collecting with forklifts. In the Teamwork Challenge, getting two robots parked and balanced at the end of a match adds some real tension – these 25 points are absolutely vital so the tactical question is, how much time can you commit to scoring Hexballs before making sure you get these robots on the Bridge?”
Many teams have already qualified for the finals, which take place at the Big Bang Fair at the Birmingham NEC between 15-18 March. Some familiar names, such as Team Control Freaks from the John Warner School in Hertfordshire, will be strong favourites, while there are five teams alone from London's Henrietta Barnett school in the VEX IQ UK Final.
View the teams already qualified for the UK National Championships below:
Schools across the country have been tweeting about their VEX events:
Tournament champions ??, another trophie?? thank you to our alliance partners and well done to everyone who competed pic.twitter.com/l1wOjxcl5H— TDMS Robotics UK (@TDMSRoboticsUK) January 18, 2017