The 2015 BattleBots season has been an exhilarating return of combat robotics to the public eye. Full of unique designs, complex strategies, and hard hits, the new season reignited the passions of many and attracted a new wave of fans. No strangers to the scene, VEX Robotics and parent company Innovation First International (IFI) have supported BattleBots since the early 2000's when their industry-leading motor speed controllers could be found in an estimated 80% of competing robots. "The Victor 885's have been my go-to motor controller for over a decade," said Paul Ventimiglia, captain of team Aptyx Designs and 2015 BattleBots champion. "Victor motor controllers just work. I don't have to worry about them, and they give me confidence."
Since then, VEX has expanded into a leading provider of educational and competitive robotics products to schools, universities, and robotics teams around the world. The 2015 season of BattleBots was no exception, where Victor motor controllers could be found on nearly every competing robot. Veteran team Inertia Labs even operated their 250 lb powerhouse, Bronco, using a modified VEXnet Joystick and control system - the same system used by over 10,000 middle- and high-school VEX Robotics Competition teams around the world.
In the later stages of competition, teams sponsored by VEX Robotics or IFI made up three of the four BattleBots semi-finalists: Tombstone (Hardcore Robotics), Bronco (Inertia Labs), and Bite Force (Aptyx Designs). In a tense final showdown between Bite Force and Tombstone, Bite Force's elegant design and superior driving sealed Tombstone's fate. For combat robotics legend Paul Ventimiglia and his partners on Aptyx Designs, their journey to the top was a difficult but rewarding one. "This season of Battlebots was the most challenging timeline I have dealt with in 15 years of building competition robots. Building a brand new robot from scratch in a few weeks required starting with as many off-the-shelf parts as possible. I am glad companies like VEX Robotics have expanded to offer more components every year."
Though the latest season of BattleBots has drawn to a close, the excitement generated by watching these engineering masterpieces will resonate with future designers for years to come. "I was inspired by BattleBots directly when I was 13 years old to create things and learn about real-world engineering," said Ventimiglia. "It is my hope to be able to inspire the next generation of engineers. Competing in Battlebots teaches you so much about engineering and life lessons." By standing at the crossroads of educational and recreational robotics, VEX is uniquely positioned to help students target this energy and provide them with the tools that they need to become the problem solvers of tomorrow.