Cortex Microcontroller and VEXnet Joystick FAQ


Click through for details on the new Cortex Microcontroller and VEXnet joystick,
including estimated release dates and pricing!
Full Details**


What will a complete VEXnet system Cost?
The bundle will cost $399.99. The bundle includes (1) VEX Cortex Microcontroller, (1) VEXnet Joystick, (2) VEXnet 802.11 Keys, (1) USB A-A Cable, and (1) VEXnet Battery Holder. It should be available sometime in Q1 of 2010.

When is the VEX Cortex Microcontroller going to be available for purchase?
It should be available as an individual component sometime in Q4 of 2009.

How much does the VEX Cortex Microcontroller cost?
The VEX Cortex Microcontroller retails for $249.99. (VEXnet 802.11 Key not included)

What options do we have for operator control with the VEX Cortex Microcontroller?
There are two different options:
*]Use your existing VEX 75 Mhz Receiver + 75 Mhz Transmitter.
*]Use the VEXnet Joystick + VEXnet 802.11 Key.

When will the VEXnet Joystick be available for purchase?
It should be available sometime in Q1 of 2010.

How much does the VEXnet Joystick cost?
The VEXnet Joystick retails for $149.99. (VEXnet 802.11 Key not included)

What are the VEXnet Joystick Features?
Shape and size similar to the Xbox/Playstation controller.
*]VEXnet 802.11 capable using (1) VEXnet 802.11 Key
*]Dual Joystick capable. You can link two joysticks together. Only one VEXnet 802.11 Key needed.
*](2) X-Y Analog Joysticks
*](8) Top Buttons
*](4) Back Buttons
*](1) 3-Axis Accelerometer providing X-Y Tilt outputs, X-Y-Z acceleration, and a shake output
*](1) Powered by (6) AAA batteries. We recommend using rechargeable AAA batteries.

Will the original PIC based VEX Microcontroller continue to be available?
Yes. The new Cortex Microcontroller is designed for customers that demand industry leading performance.
The original PIC based Microcontroller is a viable and affordable robotics system used in many educational programs.
It will continue to be our introductory system.


Very cool, we’ve been looking forward to this for awhile. It will make the college challenges more attractive to new teams.

I am liking the Vexnet joystick!!! Getting sick of that massive Grey thing lol.

Will this be legal for the Clean Sweep [middle/high school] World Championship in April? How about for college teams?

(Not an official IFI answer – this is a Rick the Volunteer response)

I sure hope so!

I’m excited to see the controller. Do you know when we might see the system?

I’m particularly excited about these:

That is a LOT more control channels, both in quantity and variety, than the current remote.

I’d like more info on the “shake output”. Is that a vibrator that the robot can trigger in the controller (as in feedback from the bot to the driver)? That would be outstanding.

The only other thing I’d love to see is a few LEDs on the controller that are under control of the robot’s programming. Ideally 8 LEDs, perhaps associated with each of the 8 top buttons. That way you could know when you are at a limit on some axis, or when you make contact, or what state you are in when using a button to toggle modes.


  • Dean

Shake output is another function of the accelerometer. It detects a shake (like an iPhone) on the X, Y, and Z axis. This get output as a bit just like a button.

Makes sense - otherwise it would be a shake input :wink:
Thanks much for the clarification.


  • Dean

I’ll leave it to the young 'uns to figure out competitive advantages provided by the new controller and get excited about that… what I’d like to know is whether VEXNet + the Cortex controller allows my PC to run the robot.

Or… more specifically… if I can access the control inputs of the cortex controller across the internet. (Part II of the question concerns returning a live video feed over the wi-fi connection…)

I believe that is one of the abilities of the Terk controller and thought some Terk ideas might have ended up in the Cortex.


and thought some Terk ideas might have ended up in the Cortex.


Jason, the features you describe relate specifically to the VEXpro ARM9 Microcontroller. The Cortex Microcontroller uses VEXnet, not a full implementation of 802.11. See this article and the details on VEXnet vs. VEXpro.

Thanks, Bob. I had the Cortex controller confused with the ARM9. My quest to run my robot from my cell phone continues…


Somebody knows when will the ARM9 microcontroller released, and how much it will cost?

[FONT=“Times New Roman”]What kind of changes would I have to make if I switch to the Cortex Microcontroller? Will there be updates for RobotC and easyC?[/FONT]

I am just curious, but is there anyplace we could find out what this VEXnet joystick might look like?

Not sure if you’ve already seen this one, but a while back there was a forum thread with a link to

They say they will support EasyC and RobotC. Will there be “normal” C-based development option comparable to MPLAB? I understand that MPLAB is a Microchip thing for PIC’s, but hope there is a comparable IDE for those of us who like C.

I asked this question myself, and IIRC the answer, there will be a standard Programming Environment avaliable.

Both the Cortex and the Qwerk are based on ARM processors, which have “native” programming languages.

Here is another Thread on the Qwerk Controler, VEX Arm9 Microcontroller.

Here is another Thread on the VEXNet, VEX Wi-Fi?.

Hate to dig up an older topic but it dawned on me, is there a picture of the joystick controller anywhere?

I’m attempting to plan the controls of PTD’s bot and a picture would be very helpful.