The RoboRunners had an amazing competition season capped off by a trip to VEX worlds. The team was part of a new Guinness World Record for largest robot competition at what is considered the Olympics of robotics. What an exciting reward for their performance at the VEX IQ Michigan State Championships.
The week of robotics competition was filled with excitement. This post covers the RoboRunners arrival, the team booth, robot inspection, the driver meeting, and Skills Challenge matches. In the next post I will cover the Parade of Nations, 2017 Game Unveiling, Judging Interview, and Teamwork Challenge.
RoboRunners Arrive at VEX Worlds
On Wednesday the team arrived at the Louisville venue along with over 15,000 other students from elementary school through college. We grabbed our gear and made the first of many long walks into the center.
It was really nice traveling to temperatures in the high eighties and sunny skies. The team stopped to take a few pictures of their arrival.
The check-in lines were already long despite arriving as early as possible!
The students entertained themselves with Rock, Paper, Scissors as we waited to check in and receive our team packets. Gino was ready to strike a pose as always.
RoboRunners Booth – VEX Worlds Home Base
After check-in the team made their way to the team booth location. This would become home base for the week and serve as a place to show off the season highlights, meet other teams, and exchange souvenirs.
The kids got to work decorating their booth with signs they had made, gifts from the school, sponsor-provided items, banners, and more.
The RoboRunners booth was quite a hit thanks to Cherry Republic providing some tasty treats, The National Cherry Festival providing lanyards and pins, team buttons from the school PTO/parents, and information on Northern Michigan.
Vex Worlds Robot Inspection
The inspection area for Vex Worlds was well run and inspection went smoothly. On hand were metal boxes used to measure the robots in all configurations – this was far more accurate then other events the team had attended.
After measuring the robot in it’s various configurations and making sure that the range of motion stayed within size constraints, the robot was cleared to compete in the events.
2D modeling really helped the team to ensure the robot fit within the size constraints at all times and saved the RoboRunners from having to make last minute modifications.
VEX Worlds 2016 Driver Meeting
One of the large meetings the team attended was the Driver Meeting. The RoboRunners got a view of where they would be competing and heard from some of the VEX representatives.
VEX IQ has grown and the elementary teams were split into two divisions for the qualifying rounds. The RoboRunners were in the Engineering Division.
VEX IQ Skills Rounds
The team decided to get most of their Skills rounds done on their first day. This was a great decision so that they would not have to worry about long skills lines or squeezing rounds in between Teamwork rounds.
Programming skills was where the team really shined this year and was a big part of the invitation to worlds. The team’s lead programmer, Austin, was able to do all four programming skills rounds.
The robot’s programming did not work properly on the Championship fields (even though it worked fine in practice). My guess is that the programming fields were not level and it threw things off.
In spite of the programming not working as it normally does, the team placed 23rd overall. Although Austin was disappointed, it was still a great showing!
The RoboRunners also competed in all four Driver Skills rounds. All of the kids had a chance to drive and they all did very well.
The team ended up 41st overall in Driver Skills. I was very happy that the students scored near the maximum they can with their robot’s design.
In the next update I will cover the rest of the week’s events.
Stay tuned and check it out for pictures of the parade of nations, qualifying, and more! Check out Part Two Here.