Exciting Vex News

Dear Vex Robotics customers,

 We’ve received a very high volume of emails and calls asking for updates and news about Vex Robotics.  Vex growth has been tremendous this past year, over 300%.  We’re thrilled that the Vex Robotics Design System is quickly becoming the platform of choice for middle and high schools, already in over 2,000 schools in North America.  We have been working on a number of projects and partnerships that we are very excited about. Our plan has been to share and announce most of the exciting developments, opportunities and news at the Vex Robotics World Championship on May 3rd.  However, many of our customers, especially schools, have been requesting more information sooner so they can plan accordingly.  One of our company tenets is “listen to and follow the needs of the customer, don’t try to force them to adapt to us”.  With that in mind, we feel it’s important to share some of the upcoming news with everyone now instead of waiting until May.  So here goes… 
  1. As many are aware, the first annual Vex Robotics World Championship will be held May 1-3, 2008 at California State University Northridge. This is a global event with nearly 50% of the participating teams coming from outside the United States. Participants already qualified and registered include teams from Brazil, Canada, China, England, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan and throughout the United States. Any teams that won Vex Robotics based competitions such as Vex Bridge Battle, FTC Quad Quandary, and WPI Savage Soccer have qualified for and been invited to the event. There is also a waiting list for any team wishing to participate who may not have competed or qualified at a preexisting event. For more information about the Vex World Championship (game details, event details, hotel info, getting on the waiting list and more), visit http://www.robotevents.com/event.php?eid=333

  2. Since teams are telling us they need to know future competition information now to plan for next year, here you go: Drum…roll…please…

There is a coalition of partners launching a local, regional, national, global and virtual network of Vex Robotics Competitions for schools and teams to participate in annually! There will be many more Vex Robotics tournaments and events available as options next year than this past year. This program is being launched by a number of incredible partners dedicated to advancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to students and schools around the world. This coalition includes two different non-profit foundations along with many corporate partners and sponsors all focused on providing the best possible high quality, high tech, challenging, accessible, educational, fun and affordable program. Registration will open after the Vex World Championship on May 3rd. Tune in on May 3rd (the event will be webcast) to learn all the exciting details. The network of tournaments around the world will be very large, will continue to grow, will be very cost effective and easier for event organizers to run – providing many more options and opportunities for teams to play and compete with their Vex Robots throughout the United States and around the World. All Vex Robotics Events and Tournaments will be listed at [www.robotevents.com

  1. Other big news that you’ll have to tune in on May 3rd to get all the details about is the launch of a brand new global digital prototyping challenge that will allow students and schools to participate in an online community. One of our main goals is to further break down the various obstacles and hurdles facing many students and schools in various parts of the world so they can participate in engineering, design and robotics. This program will be very low cost, include great prizes and consist of many great categories to enter. The program will be open to all ages, all grade levels, everywhere around the globe. There are some other very compelling aspects to this virtual competition program that we know you’ll love. Look for our official press release in April. We look forward to hearing community feedback once all the details are announced.

In closing, it is feedback from our customers that ensures we continually improve, advance and evolve Vex. We want to thank each and every customer of Vex and IFI Robotics. This past year has been another great year of growth, both in education and for competition. However, here’s the best news of all – you haven’t seen anything yet, the best is yet to come!!!


Jason Morrella
Senior Director, Education and Competition
Innovation First, Inc. and Vex Robotics](www.robotevents.com)

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In the FIRST vs. IFI competition to get the low budget high school target market, IFI certainly has put up a great fight against the very established FIRST organization.

As of now, if IFI hosts a regional in Ontario next year at a reasonable date, I would most likely choose IFI over FIRST.

My only concern is if IFI portrays gracious professionalism as well as has several awards like FTC. If they can do this, and consistanly pull off a good game every year, they are clearly better than FTC. As of now, this is the most important reason why I still may go to FTC rather than IFI.

Another factor is the fact that there is no registeration fee. IFI provides an advantage over FIRST because IFI profits from selling VEX. This allows them to spend some revenue earned from the sales of VEX to fund their GDC.

My question to IFI is, how can I get involved in helping the organization of a regional tournament.


A nice little spark thrown at FIRST. But of course, in my opinion this is absolutely true.

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Amazing, I am very exited for the World BB Championship in May and look forward to all the new info.

Also lets not turn this into IFI versus FIRST, no offense fred.

Well, that is basically what it is. Since FIRST wont be using the Vex platform officially, Vex had to come up with their own competition so people still buy their product.

This is a sign things are going to work out well.

I’m certainly not privy to all the goings-on at the IFI intergalactic HQ where they are organizing the world-wide plans for next year :slight_smile: but, in our small corner of DC, MD, and VA, I and some of the other PVL folks are looking forward to using the Potomac Vex League umbrella to organize both Vex tournaments and FTC tournaments (just exactly how many of each and other “details” will get worked out later).

We will continue to offer low-barrier-to-entry, fun competitions, practices and the occasional workshop (we really need to have more workshops) that are designed to prepare you (students and teams) for the big shows at FIRST and IFI championships, and give you convenient outlets for your creativity in-between those other events.

See you there!

PS: Any and all teams from Ontario are welcome at all events - We will even give them free parking. :slight_smile:

haha thank you Blake, although getting the team(s) I mentor to go all the way down there may require a lot of poking and prodding (literally).

I’d like to refer people to a post on chiefdelphi, which compares the IFI competition to FTC.

I’m new to this forum, but since it’s the Vex forum I’ll ask - if we have more questions or are wondering certain things about the new program, should we ask them on this forum? Not sure if you would give any answers between now and the World event, but if so, let us know.
The announced news sounds great and I’m really looking forward to it. Main question, is there going to be events in different parts of California? If so, we’re in.

I can’t wait for the world championship. My team won the massachussetts competition in quinsigamond college. It was amazing because the crowd was so into the final match. My team is from Worcester Technical High School.

L.A. better get ready.

If precedent is any indication of what’s to come, things look good for California. Notice that 6 of the ~20 events listed here are in CA.

It’ll be ready, the question is, will the rest of the teams representing the US be ready? (jk…mostly)

Not counting the US, there are already over 30 top teams on their way from Brazil, Canada, China, England, Mexico, Singapore and Taiwan for the Vex Bridge Battle World Championship.

It should be a great time and a great atmosphere for everyone. I’ve heard firsthand how much the teams from the above countries are looking forward to coming to the World Championship in LA. They are so excited to meet and compete with the teams and students from the US.

37 days till the pit area opens at CSUN, hard to believe it’s that close.

What do you mean by an online community? It’ll be like an online competition?

That is kinda what it sounds like. Something like photograph and take video of your robot put it online and everyone votes for the winner kinda thing.

I’m curious: will this competition have team numbers or just names? I come from a die-hard FRC school and the number mentality has carried over into our vex program. One of my biggest disappointments with FTC is that their team numbers will shift from year to year.

That does sound really interesting. Hopefully we’re in an area that will have plenty of Vex or FTC events next year, but an online type of program and competition, especially if really low cost, would really help schools and students in areas without competitions participate. Sounds like a great idea. I’ll look forward to learning the details on May 3rd, sounds like it could be something really big.

IN THE LEFT CORNER, we have FIRST, For inspiration of Research, Science, and technology!!!

AND IN THE RIGHT CORNER, we have IFI, who sells robots!!!

Unfortunately due to funding issues we can no longer attend the IFI world tournament for this year T.T

However, we’re pretty sure we will be doing it next year, so hope to see you all in California next year!

Wow that sucks, I was hoping to see you guys there.

And although my team qualified for the championship and at one time had plans to attend, we will not be able to participate in the world championship either. We just have too many things and other committments on our plate right now that is stretching our resources to the limit.

Hopefully this will not shake out to be either-or as far as VEX and FTC goes for participating teams. For many teams it may end up that way, but I would not like to see the reason for this choice to be events on top of each other. Yes, each program has to take its own path, but I know that my team would love to do both. Unfortunately if the active seasons for both end up being coincident with each other then we may have to make that choice also.

Guess it’s perspective, what a bunch of us see is

IN THE LEFT CORNER - FIRST, which doesn’t seem to listen to the input of the teams and which seems to always be getting more and more expensive for schools and no longer offers a program for high schools for under $1,000.

IN THE RIGHT CORNER - Vex, which is a great option for schools, seems to really listen to what the teams say, seems to really care about keeping the costs down as much as possible for schools, and seems to have other partners supporting the new Vex events. If little groups like Autodesk, NASA and non profit foundations are supporting Vex, then I think it’s clear Vex provides all the great options for kids that FIRST events do.

By your logic, that means other companies who sell robots and stuff, like LEGO, DEKA and others don’t inspire kids or promote science and technology either.

I hope Vex is very succussful. I hope FTC is successful. I hope FRC is successful. I hope they are all successful and keep lowering the prices so more and more schools can play. I know I’m glad there are going to be more choices.

Looks to me like FIRST is getting into the robot-selling business with the new FTC kit. Actually, they’ve been selling robot kits to FRC teams for a long time. FIRST is a not-for-profit that sells robot parts promoting youth robotics and IFI is a for-profit that sells robot parts promoting youth robotics. It’s difficult for me to see all that much difference at this level. As I’ve said before, we will very likely continue to do FTC events and will add IFI next year.