Archive for June, 2010

BEST Robotics Competition Powers Up with the VEX Robotics Control System

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Powerful new VEXnet control system enhances capabilities and fuels growth of robotics competition


Auburn, Alabama – June 30, 2010 – BEST (“Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology”) Robotics, Inc., a non-profit robotics competition with national headquarters at Auburn University, has announced a multi-year partnership with VEX Robotics, Inc. BEST will adopt the company’s powerful new wireless VEXnet control system, which includes the VEX Cortex microcontroller, VEXnet joystick and compatible programming software. BEST will continue to utilize the company sponsored RobotEvents.com web portal to promote competition events and handle online team registration.

“Integrating the state-of-the-art VEXnet control system into our competition will allow BEST students across the U.S. to expand their technological skills, which will increase their interest in pursuing high-tech, well-paying careers in engineering, science, and technology,” said Dr. George Blanks, Executive Director of BEST and Director of K-12 Outreach in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. “The VEX control system and event registration portal lift a burden off of our all-volunteer organization. The partnership allows us to focus our resources on growing the competition across the U.S. to better serve the needs of students, schools, and industry.”

VEX Robotics also brings its robot programming software partners into the agreement. Intelitek, developer of easyC, and The Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University, developer of ROBOTC, will donate licenses of their software to every BEST team.

BEST is an equal opportunity program in which any public, private, or home school may participate with no entry fees or kit costs. Schools are only required to fund their travel costs, team tee shirts, and other team enhancements. The partnership with VEX Robotics, Inc. a subsidiary of Innovation First International, allows BEST teams and hubs to sell the parent company’s popular HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures for fundraising at a profit to offset these incidental expenses.

“VEX Robotics is very proud to support the growth of the BEST Robotics Competition. This is in line with our objectives and clearly establishes VEX as the dominant platform supplier for educational robotics in both the classroom and after-school competitions across multiple academic disciplines,” said Paul Copioli, president of VEX Robotics, Inc. “VEX allows BEST to continually offer the latest in educational robotics technology while encouraging the current installed base of VEX schools to begin participating in the unique BEST competition.”

About BEST Robotics, Inc.

BEST Robotics is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to engage, excite, and inspire middle and high school students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers through participation in a sports-like robotics competition. Started in 1993 as a competition for 14 area schools in rural Sherman, Texas, BEST has become the largest school-based robotics competition in the U.S.—and the only one free to schools—with with over 850 schools, 12,000 students, and 4000 volunteers participating at 41 licensed competition sites in 15 states. BEST licenses its program to organizations, colleges and universities, or groups of individuals.

The program recently held its first ever national championship in conjunction with the VEX Robotics World Championship held at the Dallas Convention Center in April 2010. For more information about BEST Robotics, visit http://best.eng.auburn.edu or RobotEvents.com.

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 International 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 major 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 company has over 250 man years of experience supporting educational robotics programs and extensive engineering resources on two continents dedicated to the VEX Robotics platform.

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 the 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.

Click here to download this release in PDF format.

REC Foundation Names Jason Morrella as President

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

REC Foundation Names Jason Morrella as President

Robotics Education & Competition Veteran to Lead Non-Profit

Sterling Heights, Mich. – June 16, 2010 – The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, looking to continue as a leader in promoting science, technology, education and math (STEM) based initiatives in both the classroom and extracurricular activities, has named Jason Morrella as president.

Morrella brings more than 15 years of experience in education, robotics competition development and event management and is a distinguished leader among the educational and competitive robotics communities. He joins the REC Foundation after having served as Senior Director of Education and Competition for Innovation First, Inc., where he led the development of the VEX Robotics Competition program and oversaw its explosive growth in becoming the largest middle and high school robotics competition in the world. Before IFI, Jason spent eight years as a Regional Director for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), where he helped to aggressively grow the program throughout the western United States, build a sustainable base of supported events and was a member of the FRC Game Design Committee. Prior to FIRST, Jason was an award-winning educator in California, and received the 1998-1999 San Jose Unified School District Teacher of the Year Award.

“The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation’s mission is to identify, support and work with successful, high quality, technology-based programs that promote STEM education for students,” said Morrella, president of the REC Foundation. “I look forward to collaborating with members from technology education and robotics organizations to ensure that high-quality robotics and technology programs are accessible to every student at every school.”

The REC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, supports robotics and technology events and programs that aim to inspire and motivate students to advance in STEM education. In addition to supporting competitions for some of the world’s leading robotics platforms and organizations including VEX, TSA, BOTBALL and BEST Robotics Competitions, the foundation also provides program support and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators – including the RobotEvents.com community portal website which helps promote multiple high quality programs and provides online registration and event pages for hundreds of events around the world.

Please visit RobotEvents.com to learn more about the high quality programs supported by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation.

Information Contact: info@RobotEvents.com

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US Ambassador to New Zealand Congratulates Kiwibots

Friday, June 11th, 2010

In late May the Ambassador met many of the successful Kiwi competitors returning from the 2010 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship in Dallas, Texas, at a celebration held at Auckland’s Sky City.

The various schools competed as individual teams, under the banner of Kiwibots New Zealand. Kiwibots was supported by the U.S. Embassy in Wellington with a recent US $1500 grant to help them make it to the World Champs. This year’s championship event included approximately 400 teams from 14 countries around the world.

The Ambassador met Chris Hamling, National Manager of the NZ Robotics Charitable Trust/Kiwbots, plus all the main Kiwi winners: two of this year’s three Grand Champions in the secondary school division are from the Home School in Albany and from Kristin School on Auckland’s North Shore. Another New Zealand team, from Rangitoto College on the North Shore, took the prestigious Computer Aided Design Championship trophy, as well as an award for extraordinary teamwork. Yet another New Zealand team, Glenfield College of Auckland, received the Build Award for the craftsmanship and construction of its robot.

Read more on Ambassador Huebner’s blog.

Full post on the Embassy’s Web site.

Baltimore Teen uses VEX to Win Big at International Science and Engineering Fair

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Congratulations to Eon Duzant for winning a special award for his VEX-based project at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair last month.

Duzant’s project, “The VEX Robotics Challenge for Engineering and Mechanical Design for Applied Robotics Technology,” focuses on the center of gravity of robots equipped with mechanical arms. Duzant hopes that his work can carry over to preventing automobiles from tipping over and planes and helicopters from spiraling out of control.

The prize associated with Duzant’s award is a renewable, annual scholarship to the Florida Institute of Technology.

Congratulations!

Read the full article on Duzant from the Baltimore Sun.

More information on the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

REC Foundation Partners with VEX Robotics, Inc. to Manage VEX Robotics Competitions

Friday, June 4th, 2010

REC Foundation Partners with VEX Robotics, Inc. to Manage VEX Robotics Competitions

Non-profit assumes management of world’s largest middle and high school robotics competition

Sterling Heights, Mich. – June 4, 2010 – Underscoring its commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, the non-profit Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, has teamed-up with VEX Robotics, Inc., a leader in educational and competitive robotics products, to organize and operate the VEX Robotics Competition worldwide.

More than 2,600 teams representing 20 countries competed in over 200 events in the 2009-2010 VEX Robotics Competition season. The REC Foundation will actively support existing teams and events while driving the expansion of the rapidly growing program.

“The VEX Robotics Competition is in good hands with the REC Foundation,” said Paul Copioli, president of VEX Robotics, Inc. “Their commitment to science, technology, engineering and math aligns perfectly to the goals of the VEX Robotics Competition and we look forward to the continued growth and success of the competition globally.”

The REC Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, supports robotics and technology events and programs that aim to inspire and motivate students to advance in STEM education. In addition to supporting competitions for some of the world’s leading robotics platforms and organizations including VEX, TSA, BOTBALL, BEST, and FIRST Robotics Competitions, the foundation also provides program support and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators – including the RobotEvents.com community portal website which helps promote multiple high quality programs and provides online registration and event pages for hundreds of events around the world.

Please visit RobotEvents.com to learn more about the high quality programs supported by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation.

Information Contact: info@RobotEvents.com

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Click here to download the full press release.