Innovation First, Inc. Announces New Vex Robotics Products for 2008

Download Press Release

Does this mean FIRST will be keeping the VEX platform now that there will no longer be crystal interference and more teams can participate at the same time?

Great products! The wifi control system sounds like an amazing solution to all of these radio problems that people have had before, and the possibility of robot-robot communications will make for some very awesome autonomous creations.

I love the price on the vex mini, too! I will definately have to get me one when they come out.

Also figure that the number of newbies will double or triple over the number seen buying the Vexplore, we will have lots of new questions to answer…

Yep! I want to thank IFI for doing a good job of refreshing their product line while maintaining compatibility with older products.

Vexplorer hardware and accessory bits work fine with Vex Classic, and the new “Vex Mini” has a compatible quarter inch hole pitch. This kind of reminds me how Lego Duplo parts interlock with regular Lego parts that are much smaller. Now they just need “Vex Mega” with bigger axles and motors :rolleyes:

Also, the mention of an August '08 Wifi upgrade for existing 75MHz radio systems is a nice nod to those of us with significant investment in Vex Classic.

Lastly, I want to thank IFI for including Mac compatibility for the Wifi controller. It may just be a browser plugin for all I know, but the fact that Mac support was specifically called out in the announcement was nice to see. Us Mac users are watching, and this kind of inclusion definitely helps to cement our loyalty.

Thanks guys!

  • Dean

OMG!!! this is going to be awesome, im going to get the vex mini kit the moment it comes out, whether FIRST ditches or not! one question though, its sometimes hard enough to get screws into the corners of the metal bumpers and angles, is there revits for this thing or something because i can imagine the frustration!

more great products from vexlabs!

Fred - What makes you think that the current Vex Tx/Rx control system is FIRST’s reason for saying that FTC will probably stop using the Vex platform? - This is not a rhetorical question - I am seriously interested in your reason(s) for thinking that - Blake

You know I think thats great. I love helping people figure out what to do and I think that this forum is already a great place for people to come for help.

I noticed a post on one of the forums (CD or VEXlabs) speculating that one of the reasons FIRST is dropping VEX is due to several crystal errors in Atlanta as well as other regionals.

Also, I speculated that one of the reasons FIRST may be dropping VEX is because of the crystals limiting the number of teams and matches. With the new control system, several hundred teams could compete in several divisions in Atlanta, much like FRC.

Of course, this is completely guessing. I can’t see why FIRST would drop VEX due to its quality, ease of use, and general excellence.

It’s not that FIRST is dropping VEX it’s that FIRST is dropping IFI, maybe the other way around. The point being IFI and FIRST are ending their relationship. No one knows why and the people who do aren’t saying anything. All we have is speculation which can be very dangerous…

But back on topic, does this mean we can download code via wireless?

WIFI ! Very cool!It will be awesome to program wirelessly. I wonder if this means we can get feedback from the RC?

Vex Mini looks neat. I assume it is not going to be programmable to keep the cost so low.

im pretty sure it can, remember in the press release it said something about programming from a windows, linux, or mac over the wi-fi


There had be a great recovery mode… What happens if there is interference in the middle of your Code Download??? Your bot is “stuck in limbo”.

Pull Quote:
“The Wi-Fi controller will let users program their VEX robot wirelessly through any computer, including OLPC, running Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. The system also facilitates new features like robot to robot communication and even allows operators to drive robots remotely via the Internet.”

Vex mini is not programable. It said that the new wi-fi control for classical vex systems will allow wireless programing, being controlled wirelessly by a computer, and wireless communications between robots.

I was thinking that perhaps Vex Mini uses the Vexplorer radio. If you look closely at the picture, you can kind of tell that the antenna wire is gray, just like Vexplorer, and the brick appears to be approximately the right size. But the motor on the gripper looks more like a Vex motor (or servo) than a Vexplorer motor.

There is no telling how final the kit in the picture is, so I guess we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from it. Of course, it is always fun to speculate :wink:


  • Dean

I would suspect that the Vex Mini uses something like the Vex Signal Splitter.
Maybe based on the Vexplorer Transmitter/Receiver pair.

Based on the price of the VEX mini I think the signal splitter is a likely bet. However it would be nice if it was more of a Mini VEX red, still programmable etc. Although then you might start to compete with the Lego NXT.

Well a non-programmable Vex mini possibly utilizing the splitter would lend itself very well to use in the elementary school as a starting platform. However its use as a competitor to the Lego platform is less likely. Keep in mind that the lego NXT is programmable.

programmable for free too no programming kit and one cool thing, its based on matlab

BTW has any one realized that the ball the vex mini is gripping kind of looks photoshopped or digitally added?

If you save it to your computer and zoom in tho where the ball is you can see a reflection of the ball on the nuts holding the rubber things in place. So, I dont think it is photoshopped or digitally added.