It’s Robot Season!

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Shhh, we’re hunting wobots. At least hunting for an elegant way to build our robot for our first competition coming up in just over two weeks.

The first Dallas area VEX Robotics Competition of the season was the WOC VEX Round Up Invitational. My daughter had intended to compete, but schedules got ahead of us and we weren’t anywhere near having a robot ready. Instead we packed up the whole family and headed in to Dallas for a day of robot watching. We took a lot of notes, photographs and a few videos, looking for the designs that performed the best and more importantly which ones didn’t.

Our first competition of the season will be the UT Dallas-Fearless Engineering VEX Robotics Competition in a bit more than two weeks. We’re going to play it safe and recycle our drive-train from last year (pictured to the right) and replace the basket with a gripper that can pick up the new game elements and place them on the goal. After UT Dallas, there are 3 more Texas events we plan to attend, so we should have plenty of time to tweak the design and qualify for the 2011 World Championships in Orlando.

This year’s VEX Robotics Competition game is “Round Up.” The game is played on the standard 12×12 foot field with two teams of two robots going head to head. The object is to get as many rings onto the goals as possible. Extra points are awarded for “owning” the goal (your color on top) and for hanging from the ladder structure in the middle of the field.

The WOC competition is sponsored by the Women of Color STEM Conference, held each year in Dallas. The US Navy also provides equipment, volunteers, and grants to some of the schools in conjunction with this event.

Stay tuned for progress on our robot and news of upcoming competitions.

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