Worlds Experience

What a competition!!!

I am truly speechless with some of the things I saw this week from every single level VEX!

As some of you may know this was actually my first VEX competition and I’ll be honest here I was a little skeptical of what to expect from VEX having come from FTC. Turns out, the competition was GREAT!!! I really enjoyed talking to the teams as I myself have never been on the spectator of the competition, It was truly an amazing time.

I would like to thank KTOR for allowing Cody, Mehdi, and I to become honorary members of their team this week (even if we never got to do coaching for a match, we always seemed to be busy doing something!) The people on KTOR are awesome and if you ever get a chance to meet them definitely stop by their pits and talk to them!

The finals matches were IMPRESSIVE, probably some of the most nerve racking matches I have seen, Congrats to all the teams who got this level it definitely isn’t easy.

Off the top of my head there are a few teams I would like to mention…

Team 44 Green Eggs Robotics -
I forget the rest of your alliance numbers so this will be my congrats to your alliance! :stuck_out_tongue: These guys were a lot of fun to talk to (even if it seemed like they were always away from their pit :p) They truly amazed me with their robot and some of the other things they were working on!

Team 1103 -
Your robot was simply stunning! Everything was perfectly implemented and you clearly put a lot of work into it! I think when Cody and I saw your driver skills challenge our mouths dropped (along with many others) at the sheer perfection your is amazing!

Team 254 -
WOW! Between FRC and VEX you clearly are a powerhouse! Team 254a impressed me with how deadly a tiny little robot really could be! Through FRC and VEX I see 254 as one of the teams that inspire me the most, and are truly deserving of the Excellence Award (thats what it was right?)

I know I am missing a bunch of teams but my mind is running on high gear due to this awesome new game! Which reminds me…

Thank you to the umm… RECF? (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m new at this) Gateway looks to be an absolutely AMAZING game! Thanks to Karthik, JVN, Paul and many others who helped make this game! We at Aperture Robotics are excited and remember We do what we must… Because we can!

I believe thats all for now, Thank you to the VEX community for making my first VEX competition one I wont soon forget!

  • Andrew

I would also like to add my thanks to all the RECF, VEX, and IFI staff (and all the great volunteers :)) for the great tournament. I had a great time!

Can’t wait until next year!


You guys were awesome to have around, you take out of the box thinking to a whole new level in VRC and that really inspired KTOR members, myself included. Sorry for not being able to get you behind the glass, we had a long list of guest coaches already, which you all will be on the top of for our next event. Can’t wait to see what you guys bring to the field next season!

P.s. Welcome to the STEMRobotics family!

Ya, i have to really give it up to 254. Though we were going for the worlds excellence award too, i have to admit that if there was any team that i would be cool with winning it over us, it would be 254. The poofs are just a great team to play with, and just an overall epic win. It really cool to have them with us at regional competitions, and i think that without team and their skill of competing, we would not be as good as we are today. Poofs rock.:cool:

Not to mention their awesome 10-barrel cannon, Shockwave :smiley:

Team 254 would like to thank everyone for their support. Personally, being on the field and receiving cheers from people and teams I unfortunately never met in addition to those I have met, is extremely gratifying. It is also satisfying and important to us to hear from you, Andrew and others, that we have gained the respect of not only the judges, but also our peers.

On a different note, working on our robot for most of the tournament didn’t allow me to go around and see other teams as much as I would have liked to. However, some teams stuck out to me:

1103: From the start, seeing videos of 1103 and observing the dedication that Joshua and his family put into this team is astonishing. Not only was this team a great alliance partner in the playoffs, but 1103 managed to reach a high score in the driver skills challenge with the pressure of so many people watching. I also think he proved to be the best programmer in VEX Robotics. This brilliance is exemplified by the team’s world winning Programming Skills score that even exceeded many driver skill’s scores.

44: Obviously a powerhouse not only this year, but every year. It is hard to say whether or not Green Eggs came up with the weeble-dumping robot idea first, but I definitely think they did it the best. Being able to pick them up, score on them, dump them in the ladder and to do this while being mobile made them deserving of being the best competition team of the year.

1114: In FRC, these guys are definitely popular, but I feel as though they don’t get the deserved publicity in VEX. The major reason I feel this way, is because all of the robots that come from this team are well built. I will always feel safe being alongside a robot from this team because I know they will always be consistent.

2205A: I watched these guys when we were at Orlando last time. They had a small robot with a simple design and 7 motors. They came back to Orlando and I saw a fairly similar robot with the addition of 2 more motors. I definitely looked at them as an underdog, but boy was I wrong. This team knows how to get it done and earned the second place spot in the world.

Overall, being at World’s never disappoints. Hopefully I can make to next year’s.

We were watching the webcast on Saturday during our robotics workshop and everytime a 254 team came up, the whole room practically froze. I found it really cool because there were only about four of us who had already known what VEX was, yet people already knew about 254. That just shows the impact they have on the Bay Area in general.
Good job 254!!

Hey everyone,

Does anyone have a video of 254A?



We were wondering that too… It seems that no one on our team has a video of 254A playing in a match. But if you just want a video of 254A driving, hanging, or scoring we could probably make one and post it.

Here is the only video I’ve found on YouTube with 254A in it.


Though you guys lost this match you still really got close to winning it. I liked how you guys could score and descore in the ladder. It was pretty epic when 1337 put a bases in the ladder that had no tubes on it, and everyone was confused. Then you guys scored on it and people were losing their minds. Also i didn’t see it in the finals and i was in engineering the entire time so idk if your robot can hang? My team mate and i though if their robot is that small and light its got to hang. Idk. See you guys next year, and ill try to get my team to go to the Bellarmine competition next year. :smiley:

Yes, we can hang, but we never did during the qual matches due to a combination of software issues (happened twice), failing to properly align and/or there being something in our way (also happened twice), there being Weebles under the ladder (once), or it just not being part of our strategy.

We can actually hang on the inside of the ladder and on the sides (we only low hang on the faces) in under 7 seconds.

We never hung in the elim matches because we burned out a spool motor when we tried, which took us ~10 minutes to replace and involved taking apart a significant amount of our robot. We decided not to hang after that because we didn’t want to risk breaking another motor, although I’m pretty sure that we could have hung if we actually tried.

cool, i guess you have already seen our hang, but if you haven’t here a new video of it and our team. It was for a tv company Hub that wanted a “transforming robot” because of the show on the channel “transformers”. So some how they got a hold of our mentor. Here it is,
you might need to download adobe flash player 10.2. I really thought your robot was one of the best even though it was small. Hope to see you robot for Gateway next year.

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Orlando, FL for the 2011 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship. This year’s event was held in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort. It was VERY cool.

I had previously attended a VEX competition at this venue two years ago. “They” had me go down there to be the MC / Announcer for the inaugural VEX All-Star Challenge. This did not prepare me for the scale of this year’s World Championship… AT ALL. I was totally blown away. Walking around the event was surreal for me – it really hit home how huge the VRC is getting and the impact that VEX is having.

The event was great for me – very low stress, lots of fun. I got to spend a lot of time talking with teams, and VEX partners. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. The VEX new product unveiling was at lunch on Friday, and the 2011-2012 Game Unveiling was on Friday evening, on top of that I was given the honor of presenting this year’s Mentor(s) of the Year Award.

Everything flew by. I was on a plane back to Dallas before I knew it.

Some random thoughts and reflections from my week at the VEX World Championship:
I always feel like a blubbering idiot when I’m on camera or doing an interview. They seem to turn out okay. Thank goodness for talented and kind editors.

When I went up on stage to give a speech during the opening ceremony on Friday morning, I was blown away. I can’t tell you what it was like to be up there staring at a baseball stadium filled with VEX competitors. UN-real.

I love BEST Robotics teams. I can’t get enough of their spirit. During the opening ceremonies they were cheering whenever someone said “BEST”. We started joking that it was “the B-word.” Whenever someone said the B-word, we knew what was coming…
Joe Astroth from Autodesk was around quite a bit, and it was great to hear his thoughts on the future of STEM education. During the closing ceremony I asked him if he was ready to go up on stage and he replied: “Put me in coach!” After returning from VEX Worlds he wrote a great article which I thought was right on the money.
Since the turntable bearing is out, does that mean Foster will finally stop asking me for it?
I received a lot of compliments on the new products we unveiled, especially the turntable bearing kit. I was proud to tell people “Yeah… that one was designed by a high school intern.” I love my interns, and am totally blown away by some of the work they’re doing.

I was very proud of VEX intern Parker Francis – he had a lot of responsibility this weekend and handled himself very well (even when confronted by people much older than him).

Every time I walked by the VEX “countries” signpost I saw the Sweden sign. Every time (every single time) I started doing an impression of the Swedish Chef impression talking about VEX. My girlfriend was not amused.
Signing autographs is weird.
We did a few “social media” giveaways. I would post a tweet saying where I was, and the first person who found me and mention the tweet would get a prize. I was amazed at how quickly this happened. The power of new media!

“Text Message Queuing? Really? THAT IS SO COOL! I didn’t know we were going to have that!”
Sometimes people joke about the VEX engineers building a robot to compete against the high school or college teams. I don’t think this is funny. We’d probably get our butts kicked. There are a number of VERY impressive teams out there, and it is clear they’re spending way more time iterating and competing than we could spend. It would be bad.
20-foot inflatable Protobot? Yes, Please!

The volunteers at this event were fantastic. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend working with them. We’re fortunate to have a community with so many people committed to the same goals and values that we are. At VEX Worlds I felt like it truly was “all about the kids” and this was in large part because of the great, passionate volunteers we had helping out.

The scoring system we have (provided by the fine folks at DWAB Technology) consistently impresses me. It functions like good software should. It is visually striking, and provides all the necessary information to the audience, but most importantly it is so intuitive to use. Every time I play with it I’m thrilled with the “it just does what I want without making me jump through weird hoops” nature of the software. We’re lucky to have DWAB supporting VEX because they make some great software (ohh… and the guys from DWAB are pretty cool too, I guess.)

Did you know that looking down from above, Brandon, Sean, and I look very similar?
My father (John “regular” Neun) came down to the event and got the chance to judge (this was his 2nd year). I was very happy he got a chance to see this event, because I’m proud of all the work our company is doing and I think this event really showcased it. I won’t lie, it added some pressure to the moment knowing he was sitting in the stands watching my speech Friday morning…
The volunteer check-in people were very confused “why John has two nametags” until someone explained my father and I have similar names.
I thought it was pretty neat to setup the field for the VEX Gateway unveiling right in the middle of a busy competition arena. We had a 20-foot high curtain and a crew of Disney security to keep things hidden. I felt like this only added to the power of the unveiling. Very cool.

I was serious when I said this – the groan of the crowd when we unveiled the “negation barrel” made all the months of game design hard work TOTALLY worth it.

“Okay, so we’re going to announce the 2012 Championship, do the Excellence Award, play the final matches… and then the entire place is going to explode!!!” – “Don’t worry, we’ll tell you where to stand.”
I got to work with Kari Byron during the closing ceremony, and it was a lot of fun. She was such a good sport about the whole thing, and very cool to talk to. I think she really enjoyed getting to see the VRC at its best.

I received lots of feedback from VEX customers. Most of it was pretty good, but some of it was about things we need to do better. I’ve got a list going. The day we got back Paul Copioli (President of VEX Robotics, Inc.) and I sat down and made a list of items we wanted to improve. I’m not sure how much of it we’ll be able to get done, and I’m not sure how fast… but please rest assured, we’re listening.

So yes… a great event. I’m excited for next year in Anaheim, and of course – excited about the future of VEX. I still feel like the work we’re doing could change the world. After a weekend surrounded by VEX students it was hard not to feel reinvigorated and ready to double our efforts (after a long nap, of course).

Thanks to everyone who took a minute to say “hi” or talk to me about VEX. I appreciate your time!

Also big congratulations to everyone who made this event as awesome as it was.