How did you guys get into Vex?
I first became interested in robotics during 8th grade when a senior, who would later be competing in the VEX Robotics World Competition, showed me his team’s robot. The complexity, ingenuity, and and fluidity of the machine baffled me. When he said I could do the same thing the next year, I was hooked.
(You can’t prove that’s C/P’d from a scholarship essay)
I did MESA (Different competition) in middle school where we built crafty things out of wood and foam (Cha boi made a hovercraft and won our State tournament). When I got to high school, I wanted to do MESA again because that’s where I met my closest friends and it was fun and it was listed on the club list. when I went to the coordinator, he said that they forgot to take MESA off the list, so there’s no MESA club. I always do a club, so I was looking for a new club.
I then saw robotics on the club list. The description said that they were looking for builders and programmers. In MESA in 8th grade, I dabbled with ARDUINO coding. I am in the programming magnet, and, due to MESA, I like to build, so I thought “This is a nice substitute. I can use this to practice coding”. Fast forward a year and a half and I’m here.
8th grade was my first year, I just moved up from FLL, my brother decided to join the local robotics team. Me, being the annoying brother, decided to join him. Our first year, we did pretty well at State. That was last year
The mentor signed me up when our school got their first robotics kit, so I felt obligated to go :P.
Our Boy Scout Adult leader made a second robotics team for our troop during the toss-up season, and I decided to join.
During 9th grade Cameron introduced me to VEX when the school was doing FTC. His Skyrise auton was astonishing when I first saw it. For memory’s sake I attached the only photo I have of the first VEX competition I visited with Cam. It shows Harrison, Cam, and Cam’s friend where Harrison didn’t load the Skyrise tube properly and messed up his autonomous. #YouHadOneJob
I had done a little bit of work with Lego Mindstorms in 4th grade, and later in 8th grade, and I fell in love with robotics. So when it came time for me to look at high schools, I knew I wanted to join my high school’s robotics team in whichever competitions they did. The school I ended up picking had a Vex team, so that’s the team I joined. That was three years ago. I’m now a junior, a team captain, and the club president.
I drove my car up to the school to pick up my sixthgrader after his robotics meeting. The beaming child jumped into the backseat and a large bin full of clanky metal parts seemed to follow in after him. A teacher’s head then appeared in my window, grinning. “The better teams take the stuff home and work on it over the weekends.”
At home, I saw shafts without bearings, witnessed wheels without collars, detected screws without nuts. “Do you mind it,” I said to him, “if I offer a couple suggestions?”
My STEM 2 class last year had a VEX class project. I instantly became hooked with it, competed in a classroom NBN competition for my semester exam, and came out trumps. That turned into an appearance at the January competition in my school, where I took the opportunity to observe other robots and make a flywheel robot of my own, which got qualified for state at the February competition, only a week before the state championship itself. At state, I was part of the winning alliance, and qualified for VEX Worlds, which happened to be over my 18th birthday. Funny how a class project can turn into an appearance at VEX Worlds.
Joined the team as a freshman (during Skyrise) the first year the team competed because robotics sounded cool, was a parts monkey until January, our first competition. Due to scheduling conflicts, I was the only one who could make it. We had a scissor lift, 2 motor tank drive, and a claw, but none of it was working until after lunch, and I only got the drive working. I knew a little bit of code, so I wrote a 2 line autonomous program to drive forward.
In programming skills, the robot drove forward, caught on a cube, sun around and brought it back. That ended up being second place programming skills. The team that was first place ( @JustinM ) ended up winning the tournament, so we went to state because of two lines of code.
Our team captain was a senior, and left for an internship early February. I was team captain after that.
At an end-of-the-year school assembly in my 8th grade year, my school had our robotics club play a couple of matches (at the time, the VEX game was Toss-Up). The idea that regular students created robots completely by themselves baffled me, and building them to compete effectively grew my interest. So during my freshman year of high school, I joined a competitive team (which probably wasn’t ideal since I had zero experience) but fast forward two years and my interest in robotics and engineering keeps growing!
Nice job @Harrison2
I cant believe you still remember that, Skyrise is all a blur to me now
But back to the original question… I was introduced in Toss Up while other teams at my school were competing, and at Toss Up States, another mentor donated a Vex kit to our school, which was then given to my team and from there we went.
This is like 90% my fault, and 10% the field tolerance’s fault.
Skyrise Game Manual:
<G14> Field tolerances may vary by as much as ±1”, except where otherwise noted, so teams must
design Robots accordingly. Please make sure to check Appendix A for more specific tolerances.
I got into VEX in Grade 11 after being at an inbetween of two FRC teams - definitely a good choice, and even though I am once again involved in FRC, VEX has helped to strengthen many standard skills.
I loved robotics ever since 3rd grade and I joined a mini after school club my school had. Ever since then, I haven’t stopped building.
In approximately, 2003, a company out of Greenville, Texas (Innovation First, Inc. or IFI) had produced a robotics kit as a trainer for teams that competed in the FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) like Appleton East – now Tesla School of Engineering. Several area schools competed in a local league using this “training” kit. In 2004-2005, this league was the world pilot program for the use of this platform in competition.
After the first two seasons, Radio Shack got involved and purchased the rights to market the platform from IFI and called it the VEX Robotics System. They donated kits to all of the schools competing in the third season. They also attempted to sell the kits in their stores, which ended up a less than profitable venture so they ended up pulling the platform from their stores.
For the fifth season (2006-2007), FIRST upgraded our pilot program (now known are the FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC)) to a national level with regional competitions followed by a national competition held in conjunction with the national competitions for FRC and FLL. This season also saw the end of the local league concept as FIRST saw the focus as preparing for the regional competition. Then in the 2007-2008 season, FIRST called the program The FIRST Tech Challenge using VEX.
For the next season (2008-2009), FIRST announced that they were going to go to a different platform so IFI decided to take over running the Vex Robotics Challenge. IFI decided to run a competition program using the VEX kits as many teams across the country had them and a fair amount of money tied into them. Xavier hosted the FTC in February of 2009, but did not compete as we decided to stay with the VEX platform. SMC then hosted the first VEX Robotics Challenge in March of 2009.
We have competed in the VEX Robotics Competitions since then.
Awesome history lesson. I never knew that Radio Shack was involved in Vex Robotics!
I got involved (coach) because my daughter was on the middle school team. At their two competitions, all they could muster was a push bot. My husband called from the competition and said he had bad news and good news. The bad news was that our daughter’s team was not doing well. The good news was that the Vex program was awesome. He went on to describe the fact that it was more than STEM because the kids had to market themselves (alliance selection), communicate with their random alliance partners, and other things. He fell in love with the program at that first competition. By the end of the conversation, I was sold (did I say he’s a salesman…). After his pitch I uttered the words I’ve (jokingly said) that I regret: “we should start our own team!” The rest is history.