What’s a Not-So-Little Healthy Competition Between Robots During a Pandemic?

VEX World Championships still headed to Dallas but with added precautions, virtual options

The robots are in full competition mode and on their way to Dallas for The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation’s VEX Robotics World Championship, presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation in April.

The annual championship comes to Dallas in 2021 through 2024, pitting the world’s top middle school, high school, and college robotics teams against each other in various challenges. More than 11,500 teams from 45 countries play in over 900 local, regional, national, and international tournaments to claim top honors, according to vexrobotics.com.

While circumstances have changed dramatically since the championship first planned to come to Dallas, VEX Robotics has strategies in place to safely hold this competition for anyone who wants to be involved.

“Health and safety is our number one concern,” said Dan Mantz, CEO of the REC Foundation. “We’ve worked diligently on finding a multitude of options for teams to participate this season. If teams are unable to participate in typical in-person robotics competitions, we have other ways that they can compete this season.”

“The pandemic has magnified the critical need for robotics and STEM education. More so, it has revealed that now more than ever, that world needs critical thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators like our diverse community of one million students around the globe.”

Dan Mantz

These other ways include Remote Skills-Only Events, which allow event partners to host remote skills-only matches, and Live Remote Tournaments, where competition can occur remotely using a Live Remote Tournament interface. 

Mantz and the VEX Robotics program hope this event promotes and encourages STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning in the area. 

In addition to the championship, VEX Robotics has also made sure to foster STEM education with other innovative programs. Among these are online challenges, online learning resources and activities, and the VRAD (virtual aerial drones) program, the world’s first global multiplayer virtual aerial drone competition. 

“It is important to us to continue creating programs so that all students and teachers have access to robotics during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Mantz said. “The pandemic has magnified the critical need for robotics and STEM education. More so, it has revealed that now more than ever, that world needs critical thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators like our diverse community of one million students around the globe.”

The Challenges

• Standard Matches: Two alliances of two teams each playing against each other

• Robot Skills Challenge: One robot playing alone against the clock

• Online Challenges: Unique contests using CAD, animation, essays, and more

• Visit vexrobotics.com/v5/competition for more details.

Tell Us More: Is your school competing for a chance to face off in the VEX Robotics World Championship? Send photos and information about your efforts to editor@peoplenewspapers.com

Click here to view our 2021 STEAM Special Section


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