Monday, August 12, 2019

Vex IQ 2019 Competition

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By: Lea M. 


Over the course of the last year, I have been a part of my school’s robotics team for VEX IQ. It has been an amazing experience, and I hope to continue it next year. 

The Game 
First things first, VEX IQ is a middle school level robotics competition. Every year there is a different game to play and to strategize created by the game developers. This last year, the game was called Next Level. The concept of the game is that there are 15 orange hubs placed around the game board. In the center of the board is a large structure with a pole running through it. On top of that are two yellow hubs. There are also two scoring zones in two corners of the board, one rectangular and one square. The objective of the game is to collect hubs and stack them in the scoring zone. If you place an orange hub on the bottom of a stack, it is worth one point. If you place it in above that first level in the stack, it is worth two points. Going back to the yellow hubs, they are a bit different. You see, they are worth twice the points of an orange hub. If you were to stack one on the bottom level, it would be worth 2 points, and if put on top, 4 points. Another important aspect of this game is hoisting. Remember the structure that I mentioned earlier? Well, you can hang a robot on the pole for more points. There are two types of hoists. The low hoist, or one that isn't high enough to slide a hub underneath, and of course, the high hoist, which is high enough to actually slide a hub underneath the robot without touching the robot. The low hoist is worth two points, while the high hoist is worth four points. However, this seemingly easy game does have a twist. There is a time limit. You have to pick up the hubs, stack them, and hopefully high hoist within a minute. Also, for each team, there are two drivers. At the 30 second mark, you need to switch drivers. You can also try to program the robot to do the exact same thing that the drivers did and try to get the same amount of points in order to increase your rankings at compactions. However difficult and tedious this whole process of developing a robot, programs, and strategies seem, this is such a rewarding and opportunity-filled activity. 

Worlds 
This last year I was on my school’s robotics team as a programmer. We faced many hardships and challenges over the course of a year, and even so, I have enjoyed the experience so much. It gave me so many opportunities to do thing that I wouldn’t have been able to do any other way (cough-WORLDS-cough.) The team I was on was lucky to win 1st place in teamwork at the State competition, which meant that we got an invite to the 2019 Worlds Competition. We were also lucky because the competition was being held in Louisville, Kentucky, which meant that it wasn’t crazy far away, or else we probably couldn’t have gone. Once we arrived, it was pretty obvious that when they said that there were teams from all over the world, THEY MEANT IT. Every team was given their own table, and you could go around to other teams' tables. A lot of the tables were giving away candy or bracelets, so I obviously had to collect all of the bracelets that I could find. (I ended up with exactly 49 bracelets) Another really cool thing that they had was at the beginning of the competition, they have this Parade of Nations. Basically, they announce each country, and one person from each team will go up when they call your country. Also. At the very end of the tournament, they reveal the new game for next year, which is so cool. They have a laser show and everything. Just to think, if I had never joined the robotic team, I could have never even had that experience. 

Vex IQ robotics is such a cool experience, if you have the chance to join, you should do it. Just think, robotics is a pretty cool skill to have under your belt, and VEX is teaching kids how to do it at a young age. Joining led to such cool experiences, and given the chance, I will definitely do it again. 

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