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VEX Robotics Championship
Hawaii's first international scholastic robotics competition will be held this week at the Hawaii Convention Center. The Pan Pacific VEX Championship Tournament is bringing 84 middle and high school teams from Hawaii, California, and China to compete on Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6.
The teams will be separated into two alliances that will compete in this year's VEX challenge, "Elevation." The robots -- which are built using the VEX robotics system and can measure no larger than an 18-inch cube when packed -- will have to manipulate blocks within an enclosed field... first autonomously, then remotely controlled by the students.
Ten teams will move on to the VEX Robotics World Championship, which will take place in Dallas, Texas in April.
The event is open to the public, so check it out and cheer on your favorite teams. Word on the street is that the Chinese students are bringing some particularly fancy machinery, but Hawaii's teams are more than up to the challenge. Parking is available at the Convention Center for $5, and there will be a food concession open on both days.
I attended a scholastic robotics event in March (the FIRST regionals), and was blown away by what these students had accomplished, and by the level of energy and excitement among their families and fans. While VEX competitions are for younger students and use smaller robots, I have no doubt the talent and enthusiasm will be no less impressive.
Here's a video I made of the FIRST in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition: