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Cal U Robotics student assembles robot. Cal U Robotics student assembles robot.


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Posted on November 4, 2011

Custom-designed robots will be playing games when California University of Pennsylvania hosts a pair of VEX Robotics competitions from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 18 and 19 in the Performance Center, inside the Natali Student Center.

Four collegiate teams will compete on Friday, and 19 teams from 10 regional high schools will participate in a world championship-qualifying event on Saturday.

VEX Robotics competitions are the largest and fastest-growing robotics programs in the world, with schools in more than 20 countries participating in some 200 tournaments around the globe.

Friday’s competition at Cal U is one of just three VEX Robotics collegiate contests in the United States.

On Saturday, the two high school teams scoring the most points in competition will qualify for the 2012 VEX Robotics World Championship, scheduled for April 18-21 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Last year, a high school team from Connellsville, Pa., designed a robot that qualified at the Cal U event and went on to place fourth at the world championship. 

In contrast to gladiator-style “battle bots” contests, VEX Robotics competitions are game-based. The rules of the game are changed each year, challenging students to create original robotic designs.

In this year’s game, VEX Gateway, teams of robots score points by moving objects of various sizes across the playing field and through goals. The game was developed by Innovation First Inc., a leader in educational and competitive robotics products.

“Robotics competitions give students a chance to apply STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in a fun way, and they provide teachers with a focal point for their robotics education programs,” says Mike Amrhein, director for the Office of Outreach and Integration of T.E.A.M.S. (Technology, Engineering, Art, Math and Science) at Cal U.

“In these competitions, students must also apply leadership, teamwork, problem solving and gracious professionalism.”

Watch the video below to learn more about VEX Gateway.