The RoboRunners had a great time at VEX Worlds to wrap up the 2016 competition season. In part one I detailed the team’s arrival, booth, robot inspection, driver meeting, and Skills Challenge. Here I will go over the parade of nations, the judge interview, 2017 VEX IQ game unveiling, and finally the Teamwork Challenge.
VEX Worlds Parade of Nations
With over 30 countries represented at VEX Worlds, a nice feature of the opening ceremonies was the Parade of Nations. Freedom Hall was standing room only as each country sent representatives to carry their flag across the stage and through the main auditorium.
Karthik from VEX got things underway for the ceremony. Many of the countries were dressed in traditional outfits from their culture. It was a lot of fun to see so many cultures united by a love for robotics.
The RoboRunners sent a representative to walk with the United States group. Lillian had a great time participating in this, but there were so many people it was very hard to get a picture!
Once the Parade of Nations was done, opening ceremonies continued. There was even a traditional bugle call! This was a great way to kick off the Olympics of Robotics – VEX Worlds.
One of my favorite parts about VEX competition is watching the team be interviewed by adult judges. The team must explain their robot design, construction, programming, and more. It is amazing to see young students articulating ideas at such a high level.
The judging process is a great time for the kids to make an impression. It also gives them a chance to explain the items in their Engineering Notebooks. All of this helps ensure that kids are the driving force behind a VEX team.
2017 VEX Game Unveiling
When the team qualified for VEX Worlds, the part I was looking forward to the most was the new game unveiling. Arriving in Freedom Hall on Friday evening it was clear that I was not alone in that sentiment. Once again it was standing room only in the huge auditorium.
The crowd was having a blast and the excitement was tangible in the hour leading up to the unveiling. Finally, with smoke, lasers, and a light show, the covers for the new games tore open revealing each new VEX game!
The 2017 VEX IQ game is called Crossover. It features “hexballs” that are shaped sort of like jacks, a wall separating the field into two sides, a teeter-top bridge, and scoring zones on the opposite side of the field from where the balls begin. This game looks like a ton of fun!
VEX Worlds Teamwork Challenge
The Teamwork Challenge is the centerpiece of VEX IQ competition and the RoboRunners did very well at VEX Worlds. Qualifying had the students paired up with teams from all over the world – China, India, Egypt, and the United States. It was fun to see our team members learn to communicate in spite of language barriers.
As qualifying came to an end on Saturday, the team had their strongest Teamwork Challenge scores of the year and were right on the bubble for making the finals. With scores averaging over 104 points, the team made the finals by a single ball! Had they scored any less at any point during the week they would have not made the finals!
Finals in VEX are single-elimination – one match determines your final score. This leads to a lot of excitement and often results in lower seeds winning the championships. For the finals, the RoboRunners were teamed up with a team from Colombia.
The team had about an hour to overcome language barriers and develop a strategy. Iggy helped greatly as he is fluent in Spanish. In practice the pair of teams had some really great scores as they experimented with different ways to work together.
The pair of teams were very excited to work together as they took the main stage. Their final run had a few hiccups and did not go as well as they had worked together in practice but they still did great.
The RoboRunners finished the World Championships in 18th place among the thousands of teams that compete. What an amazing way to end the team’s first official season of competition!