Leading Young Innovators Aim to Measure Up at VRC World Championship

Leading Young Innovators Aim to Measure Up at VEX Robotics Competition World Championship on April 22-24, 2010

Mythbusters Engineering Savant Grant Imahara Set to Emcee Final Day of International Robotics Competition

Greenville, Texas- April 20, 2010– More than 3,000 leading middle school, high school and university VEX robotics students and mentors representing 14 countries from around the world will unite at the Dallas Convention Center and Arena on April 22-24, 2010 for the highly anticipated VEX Robotics Competition World Championship. To match the growing popularity of the VEX Robotics Competition, having tripled in size since its inception in 2008, Grant Imahara, from The Discovery Channel’s hit series Mythbusters, is scheduled to kick-off the final day of competition as emcee on Saturday, April 24th.

The tournament was designed as a vehicle for students to develop critical life skills such as teamwork, leadership and project management, honed through building robots and competing with like-minded students from around the world in a fun, non-traditional environment. “The technological economy of the future depends on equipping today’s youth with the tools necessary to become tomorrow’s leading innovators,” said Paul Copioli, president of VEX Robotics. “The World Championship provides a global arena for us to support and celebrate the accomplishments of these young, diverse and enthusiastic minds.”

The VEX Robotics Competition World Championship is the pinnacle event for 400 of the most elite teams that qualified for a spot at the Dallas competition by excelling in one of the more than 200 VEX Robotics tournaments that took place from May 2009 to April 2010. Teams from around the world are tasked with programming and designing robots, using the industry’s leading VEX Robotics Design System, and forming strategic alliances as they challenge their toughest competitors playing the game Clean Sweep.

Clean Sweep is played on a 12’x12’ square field where two alliances composed of two teams compete against one another. Each match consists of a twenty-second autonomous operation where robots are controlled by onboard software, followed by two minutes of human-operated play. VEX Robotics offers students an exciting platform for learning about areas rich with career opportunities spanning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups.

The VEX Robotics Competition is being co-hosted by Innovation First International and the non-profit Robotics Education & Competition Foundation whose mission is to work with a variety of successful, technology-based programs that promote STEM education for students, including VEX, TSA and BEST Robotics Competitions. In total there are more than 2,600 VEX Robotics teams, making it the largest middle and high school robotics program in the world.

Presenting co-sponsors of the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship include Autodesk Inc., NASA, EMC Corporation and the FUTURE Foundation. Additional supporting partners include Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, Technology Students Association (TSA), Intelitek, Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University, ST Micro, MathWorks, ID Tech Camps, and Hyatt Regency Dallas. In conjunction with the middle and high school VEX robotics challenges, more than 30 university teams will be vying for world champion title in the VEX Robotics College Challenge. Meanwhile, VEX Robotics is also hosting 12 of the top BEST Robotics teams to compete at the Dallas Convention Center in its National Championship Competition. BEST Robotics Inc. is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization headquartered at Auburn University (AL).

About VEX Robotics, Inc. and Innovation First International:

VEX Robotics, Inc. is a subsidiary of Innovation First International, a privately held corporation, which was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began producing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.  The company’s three subsidiaries, VEX Robotics, Inc., Innovation First Labs, Inc. (makers of HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures), and RackSolutions, Inc. span the education, consumer and business-to- business markets. The VEX Robotics Competition was launched in 2007, designed to give a diverse group of students the chance to celebrate their accomplishments and share their passion for robotics with each other.

Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry- wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

In 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center and corporate office located together in a 13-acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

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