Student-Engineered Robots from China, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.S. Defeat the Competition at the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championship

Over the weekend, more than 15,000 student participants, educators, mentors, industry leaders and community members from 24 countries descended upon the Anaheim Convention Center to celebrate the accomplishments of 700 of the world’s best student-run VEX Robotics Competition teams, as they went head to head with their custom-built and programmed robots at the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation. Teams from China, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States reigned supreme, taking home the coveted Winning Alliance trophies for the Middle School World Championship, the High School World Championship, and the College World Championship competitions. Additionally, VEX IQ, a new line of educational robotics products, and the VEX IQ Challenge, the pilot competition program, were introduced to the world at the event by VEX Robotics, with nearly 70 elementary and middle school teams piloting the new program.

“The teams that qualify to compete in this championship attend with tremendous passion, and this weekend is really about celebrating their accomplishments along with the knowledge and experience they have gained as a result of their participation in the VEX Robotics Competition,” said Jason Morrella, president of the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation. “Competitive robotics programs like the VEX Robotics Competition, provide an excellent opportunity for hands-on STEM learning that will make these students unstoppable in any career path they choose. These students are the leaders of their generation and we expect to see great achievements from them in the future,” concluded Morrella.

The global championship kicked-off on Wednesday and Thursday with initial qualification matches and skills challenges. On Friday morning, thousands of young engineers filed into the VEX Dome to participate in the opening ceremonies parade of nations, where each team proudly bore their respective countries’ brilliant flags. Following the parade, teams quickly transitioned to an afternoon full of intense back-to-back qualification matches. By Saturday, qualification rounds came to an end, the top performing teams went through the alliance selection process, and the division champion alliances collaborated to advance over their toughest competition yet in the finals. Entertainment attractions including the UCLA marching band and Light Force – an explosive hi-tech rhythmic drumming troupe, elevated the evening during the final competitions, guiding teams and spectators through the award ceremonies.

Altogether, more than 700 VEX teams out of more than 7,300 teams worldwide qualified to compete in one of four challenges hosted by the REC Foundation this past weekend. The competitions included: VEX IQ Challenge World Championship (ages 8-14 year olds), VRC Middle School World Championship (ages 11-14), VRC High School World Championship (ages 15-18) and the VEX U (ages 18+).

The 2013 VEX Robotics World Championship Alliance Winners are as follows:

  • The VEX IQ Challenge Teamwork Champions (Note – two alliances tied in the final match, resulting in a tie for Teamwork Champion). Champions included Team 44, Top Secret from Maddison Middle School in Rexburg, Idaho; Team 37, Rocky Mountain πrates from Friends School in Boulder, Colo.; Team 42, Annihilation=MG^2 from Community in Loveland, Colo.; Team 3018P, Techna Pawns from Techna PWN Robotics, in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • The VRC Middle School World Champion Winning Alliance was Team 8065B, FT5 from Singapore Combined School in Singapore; Team 8192D, Shanghai Huangpu from Shanghai Huangpu Teenagers S&T Activity Center in Shanghai, China; and Team 7792A, Shishi Middle School A from Chengdu Shishi Middle School in Chengdu, China.
  • The VRC High School World Champion Winning Alliance was Team 2625, Tech-Know Commandos from Worcester Technical High School in Worcester, Mass.; Team 2915A, Lynfield Jack Attack from Lynfield College in Auckland, New Zealand; and Team 2941D, Oats Robotics from Otumoetai College in Tauranga, New Zealand.
  • The VEX U World Champion was Team TCAN1, UTCA from Universidad Tecnologica De Cancun in Cancun, Mexico.

“My team and I have been tweaking our robot since this time last year, trying to perfect and execute it as efficiently as possible and drive up our score against some of our toughest competitors,” said Jason McKinney from Team 2625, Tech-Know Commandos, part of the VEX Robotics High School Championship Winning Alliance from Worcester Technical High School in Worcester, Mass. “VEX has helped me realize my true potential and see exactly what we are able to accomplish as a team if we put all our effort into a common goal. I am absolutely overwhelmed with joy and exhaustion,” continued Jason.

Team 5225A, the E-Bots Pilons, from Oakville, Ontario, Canada, was presented with the overall VRC World Championship Excellence Award, the highest honor in the VEX Robotics Competition, given to the team with the most well-rounded VEX Robotics program. Team NAR, North American Robotics, from Philadelphia, Pa. was presented with the VEX U World Championship Excellence Award. Team 37, Rocky Mountain πrates, from Friends School, in Boulder, Colo. received the VEX IQ Challenge Elementary School Excellence Award.Team 30, Gears and Geeks, from Newhart Middle School, in Mission Viejo, Calif. received the VEX IQ Challenge Middle School Excellence Award.

Several other technical and value-based awards were presented to teams throughout the event. Below is a list of the teams and individuals that were recognized for excelling in some of the top categories. For a complete list of award winners, including winners of the online challenges, visit http://www.robotevents.com/championship:

Tournament Finalists: Each team on the finalist alliance

  • VRC MS Team 8065A, Zeus Jr. from Singapore Combined Schools in Singapore; Team 8192A, Shanghai Huangpu from Shanghai Huangpu Teenagers S&T Activity Center in Shanghai, China; and Team 8192C, Shanghai Huangpu from Shanghai Huangpu Teenagers S&T Activity Center in Shanghai, China
  • VRC HS Team 2587Z, DiscoBots from Lamar High School in Houston, Texas; Team 2941A, Oats Robotics from Otumoetai College in Tauranga, New Zealand; and Team 1615A, Patribots from North Middlesex Regional High School in Townsend, Mass.
  • VEX U Team NAR, Moose Eagles, from North American Robotics, in Philadelphia, Pa.

Robot Skills Challenge Champion: Team with the best robot skills score

  • VEX IQ Challenge ES/MS Team 42, Annihilation=MG^2, from Community in Boulder, Colo.
  • VRC MS Team 8066A, Atom from Hai Sing Catholic School in Singapore
  • VRC HS Team 2915A, Lynfield Jack Attack from Lynfield College in Auckland, New Zealand
  • VEX U Team TZMG2, UT-Zona Metropolitana de Gdl from Universidad Tecnologica Zona Metropolitana Guadalajara in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga Jalisco, Mexico

Programming Skills Challenge Champion: Team with the best robot programming skills score

  • VRC MS Team 8065A, Zeus Jr. from Singapore Combined Schools in Singapore
  • VRC HS Team 5225A, E-Bots Pilons from E-Bots in Oakville, Canada
  • VEX U Team TZMG2, UT-Zona Metropolitana de Gdl from Universidad Tecnologica Zona Metropolitana Guadalajara in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga Jalisco, Mexico

Design Award World Champion: Presented to a team that demonstrates a solid approach to the design process, project management, time management and team organization.

  • VEX IQ Challenge ES Team 6148B, Bowie Bulldogs, from Greenville, Texas
  • VEX IQ Challenge MS Team 3946R, Sun Devils, from Englewood, Colo.
  • VRC MS/HS Team 3876C, RoboRattlers, from Longmont, Colo.

Educate Award World Champion: Given to a team that has been able to successfully integrate VEX Robotics into their STEM curriculums.

  • VRC MS/HS Team 2918A, GCEC, from Glenfield College, in Auckland, New Zealand

Innovate Award World Champion: Presented to a team that has demonstrated a strong combination of ingenuity and innovation in designing their VEX robot.

  • VEX IQ Challenge ES/MS Team 35D, Crandroids, from Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
  • VRC MS/HS Team 3018, Techna Pwn Robotics, from Council Bluffs, Iowa
  • VEX U Team BLRS, Boiler Robotics, from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Inspire Award World Champion: Presented to a team that demonstrates outstanding leadership through actions with other teams.

  • VRC MS/HS Team 323Z, Aftershock, from Cornerstone Robotics in Greenwood, Ind.

Mentor of the Year Award: Given to a team mentor that has helped their students achieve goals that were seemingly out of reach. This individual is a role model, a leader and an extraordinary mentor who helps show students new ways to expand their knowledge and solve problems in the worlds of STEM.

  • Stephen Sadler, VRC Team 5194, the East Barnet 1, from East Barnet School in the U.K.
  • Pat Fairbanks, VRC Team 254, the Cheesy Poofs, from Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, Calif.

Partner of the Year: Given to an event sponsor that has gone above and beyond to help spread the VEX footprint to even more teams and students.

  • Janet Auer, Global Partnerships and Programs Specialist, Chevron

Teacher of the Year: Presented to a teacher who shows true leadership and dedication to his/her group of students. The winner of this award continually goes “the extra mile” to ensure a safe, enjoyable and educational experience for all students.

  • David Kelly, VRC Team 134 from Pembroke Academy, in Pembroke, N.H.
  • Melissa Fernandez, VRC Team 619A, Mecha Makos, from MAST Academy in Miami, Fla.

Volunteer of the Year: Given to an outstanding event volunteer.

  • Jim Musil, from Omaha Public Schools, in Omaha, Neb.
  • Martha Proulx, VRC Team 5900, from Bayshore High School in Bradenton, Fla.

STEM Hall of Fame Inductees:

  • Lieutenant General Thomas P. Bostick, U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • Steve Sanghi, Founder and CEO, Microchip Technology
  • Daniela Rodriguez, Student, Miami, Fla.

For those looking forward to getting a jump on next year’s robot designs, the 2013/2014 VEX Robotics Competition and College Challenge game will be VEX Toss Up. VEX Toss Up is played on a 12 ft. x 12 ft. foam-mat, surrounded by a sheet-metal and Lexan perimeter. The field includes hexagonal-shaped Lexan goals, a sheet metal bump, hanging bars and a PVC and sheet metal fence. Teams score points by scoring BuckyBalls and large balls into goals or by placing them in different zones on the field. Points are also scored for robots that are hanging at the end of the match.

Partners and sponsors of the 2013 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship include the Northrop Grumman Foundation, Autodesk, Chevron, EMC, GoDaddy.com, Innovation First International, Microchip, NASA, and Texas Instruments. In addition, VEX Robotics continually reaches students in the classroom through key partnerships with notable education-based organizations, Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and Technology Students Association (TSA).

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About the author

Audrey is a senior editor for the business and finance sections.