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UK team take Excellence award at VEX IQ World Championships

UK team take Excellence award at VEX IQ World Championships
A London school's performance has been hailed as 'incredible' after its robotics team won a VEX IQ Challenge Excellence award at the 2018 VEX Robotics World Championship in the US.

It is the best ever result by a UK team at the global event.

21549A Gear Squad from Queen Elizabeth School for Boys in Barnet (pictured, right) won the VEX IQ Challenge Middle School Excellence Award at the event in Louisville, Kentucky, from a field of 400 teams. This award is regarded with greater respect than even the World Champion title itself. The team members are Dillan Shah, Varun Vijaykumar, Vihaan Jain, Alex Woodcock and Shilacshan Lingakumar. In one of its qualifying matches in the Science division the team amassed 308 points, one of the highest scores in the competition, and in the Final matches with its alliance partner scored 287, enough to finish fourth overall in the division. The team also won an Amaze award.

"The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition", said Chris Calver, Rapid's Education manager and VEX co-ordinator. "This award is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in creating a high quality VEX Robotics program. To win it, you need to be a strong contender in numerous award categories, have excellent on-field performance and have a high quality engineering notebook. For a UK team to win the Excellence award is an incredible achievement and represents a real landmark moment in UK schools participation in VEX".

Seven other teams represented the UK in the VEX IQ Challenge, including four from Henrietta Barnett School, 'Technogear', also from Queen Elizabeth School, Robot IQ, an independent team from London and WGC Microbots from Hertfordshire. They all did so with distinction.

VEX IQ fieldDuring the event, as is traditional, the format for the next season's game was unveiled. In 2018/19 the game will be called 'Next Level'. Chris Calver shared his initial thoughts on the new game.

"At first glance, Next Level has a much simpler field layout than Ring Master and far fewer scoring objects. These orange objects called Hubs are pretty big! At launch, there is conflict between the video and the game manual as to exactly what that size is, but I believe they are nearly 130mm in diameter and just over 100mm high and weighing about 85g, which is the same as a Hexball from Crossover a couple of years ago.

"Teams score points by creating stacks of Hubs in the Building Zones and you get more points for Hubs that are High Scored, which means stacked on top of Low Scored Hubs. What’s interesting is that the hubs don’t lock together when stacked and the Building Zones are right at the edge of the field, which means teams are going to need to take care when stacking them up – any Hubs that fall out of the field won’t be returned so it is vital to keep them in play. The other thing to remember about Hubs is that teams can only carry one off the ground at any one time, but you can move as many as you like, providing all the rest remain in contact with the field. This should spawn some interesting designs!"

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