The VEX IQ Workshop combines robot building and robot coding. Students will learn about the basic principles of mechanical design, including structure, motors, gears, and more, that they will need in order to build a competition robot. Then students will use the ModKit programming environment to program the robot for self driving tasks and radio controlled operation.

VexIQ Competition Robot

The Vex IQ system is a snap-together plastic building kit that provides great structural strength but also allows for quick changes of design for creativity's sake.

Graphical Programming VEX IQ

The coding for VEXIQ software is done with ModKit, a graphical language (it uses a Graphical User Interface, or GUI, to help students assemble code quickly without having to know the details of procedural programming). The graphical nature makes it easy for even the youngest students to get started learning the basics of programming the code that makes a robot execute commands.

Programming with ModKit

Moreover, behind the scenes the graphical interface is generating real robotics code in higher level programming languages, so while using the GUI the students are also learning about the structure and logic behind software coding that can easily transfer to other languages such as Robot C.

The workshop includes building, coding, and a competitive challenge. After completing this workshop students are eligible to apply to become a member of our VEX IQ competition team.

The intro to electronics workshop is suitable for students aged 6+, and no prior experience is required. This beginner level course will show students the basics of circuits and teach them to create complex LED circuits with littlebits. If your roboteer is an intermediate student already familiar with circuits, they will learn what an integrated circuit is and how they are used as building block for more advanced circuits. The advanced students in the class will delve into the mechanics of next level, embedded electronics where the circuit actions are implemented in software. Every student will build a lighted Christmas tree circuit project they get to take home with them! Advanced students can also purchase an Arduino micro-controller from us if they wish to take the ability to control their Christmas tree with software home with them as well.

Some of the components and tools we will use are:

  • Batteries
  • Switches
  • LEDs
  • Resistors
  • Capacitors
  • 555 and 4017 IC
  • littleBits
  • Arduino

All students will learn to make a basic circuit and read a circuit diagram. Using your basic circuit as a base, we will then learn about insulators, conductors, and electric current.

LED circuit
LED breadboard circuit

Our beginner students will use littleBits to complete a variety of circuit based projects.

Students will also learn about integrated circuits and how we use them as building blocks of electronics. Most students will be able to find their way around a circuit diagram of this level:

schematic

The student take-home project will be to build an LED blinker circuit to make a Christmas Tree or other festive display.

For the more advanced students we will have a project on embedded electronics using an Arduino microcontroller. Students will write and modify code to make the microcontroller execute several different circuit functions.

To sign up for our Intro to Electronics Winter Camp, please click the button of the location where you want to take the camp:

Glendale Palos Verdes West LA

A spectators guide

For the parents and other spectators that attend our events here is a little description of the scoring and the awards.

This is the introduction video about the game first revealed at VEX Worlds April 2016

Inspection
During the first hour of the day the robots are inspected. Inspectors are checking the size of the robot and that no illegal materials are used. They also check that the code performs under the limits of competition conditions. It is not unusual that a robot is slightly out of size and needs to be adjusted and re-inspected. This is a stressful time for teams since you must pass to be allowed to play.

Tournament Play
Each match has 4 robots on the field, a red alliance and a blue alliance of 2 robots each. The alliance teams play together to score more points than the opposing alliance. Each match is 2 minutes long.

Scoring
Points are scored for your alliance when game objects are on the opposite side of the fence. Scoring is only done at the end, so objects can be de-scored by sending them back over.

Vex Starstruck scoring

Sometimes it is obvious who won. Other times you will need to count each game object.

Vex Starstruck

On each side of the fence there are two zones near and far. Yellow stars are 1 point in the near zone and 2 points in the far. Orange cubes are 2 points in the near zone and 4 points in the far. Objects on the fence or supported by two opposing robots over the fence are not scored. An extra cube is introduced into the game during the last 30 seconds. If a team does not put the cube in play it counts as 4 points for the opposing team. The end game bonus is to hang on the pole, a high hang is 12 points if the robot is above the black field perimeter wall, a low hang is 4 points when the robot is off the ground but not above the wall. All game objects are scored at the end of the match after everything comes to rest. So objects scored early can be de-scored by the opposing team by moving to a lower zone or passing over or under the fence. The first 15 seconds is the autonomous period where the robots are under computer control with no interaction by the drivers, a 4 point bonus is given to the team that scores the most points.

Tournament format
At each tournament there are qualification rounds followed by an elimination bracket. During qualification teams are randomly paired into two team alliances. Each team will play between 5 to 7 matches at a typical tournament. The teams are ranked based on their win - loss records.

If there is a tie in rankings like two teams are both undefeated then the tie is broken by the number of autonomous bonus points (AP) the team has, if the tie remains it is broken by SP which is the cumulative score of the losing alliance scores for each match played, this attempts to correct for difficulty of your matches. So teams would like to win or lose close matches, for example a team that wins every match 65 to 0 match looks impressive but gets lower SP and would be ranked lower than the team that won every match 21 to 20. Because of this you will sometimes see teams scoring for their opponent or not defending against final points.
Based on the rankings the top 8 teams move on to alliance selection. In alliance selection the teams will pick two partners to go on to the final elimination rounds. The elimination rounds are the usual 8 team tournament single elimination bracket. However, each round is now a 2 out of 3 play off, a team must win twice to advance. There is are quarter final, semi final and the final round. One alliance of three teams will win the Tournament Champion Award.

Robot Skills
Throughout the day teams have the opportunity to compete in the robot skills challenge. This is one minute to score as many points as you can unassisted and unopposed. There is one minute of driver control and one minute of program control the two scores are combined to rank the winner. This is a quiet but very important part of the event as these scores are entered into the World Skills Rankings and on March 13, 2017 the top 50 teams will qualify for the World Championship.

VEX world skills rankings

Judged Awards
Teams will be interviewed by judges during the tournament, judges are also roaming the pit areas and the playing fields observing teams. The judges not only look for points scored in matches but also team knowledge and behaviour. The top Judged award is the Design Award it is given to the team that demonstrates the best design process and documentation. Other awards include the Build Award for the best built robot, the Create Award for most innovative design and the Think Award for best use of sensors and autonomous programing. The Judges Award is a judges choice award to a team that the judges felt were deserving of a special award that did not fit any of the categories.

Excellence Award
The Highest Award given at any VEX Robotics Competition, the overall best team to quote the official award script - “The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition. The recipient of this award is a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a well-rounded VEX robotics program. This team excels in many areas and is a shining example of dedication, devotion, hard work and teamwork. As a strong contender in numerous award categories, this team deserves to be recognized for building a quality robot and a “team” committed to quality in everything that they do. Teams are given points towards the Excellence Award in the following categories: Tournament Qualification Round Ranking Programming Skills Challenge Ranking Robot Skills Challenge Ranking Judged performance in all other award categories Using this wide range of criteria, the Excellence Award will be presented to the team who excels in all areas of VEX Robotics.”

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