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Discobot Students Take Home Top Honors at the Army All-American Bowl VEX Robotics Competition

Local Team Aims to Contend for a Spot at the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship

Houston, TX – January 10, 2013 – Robot-bearing students from VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) team DiscoBots, secured top honors with the overall Excellence Award and Tournament Champions at the Army All-American Bowl VEX Robotics Competition in San Antonio this past weekend.  The students competed with and against 44 teams from Texas and Oklahoma.  The action-packed day required middle and high school students to execute VRC Sack Attack, a game that is played on a 12’x12’ square field. Two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a twenty-second autonomous period followed by two minutes of driver-controlled play. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent alliance by scoring barrels and balls in goals, earning bonus points and doubling or negating goals. As tournament finalists, the team has qualified for the chance to compete in the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship in April against top teams from over 20 countries worldwide.

VRC team DiscoBots is comprised of Peter Dulworth, age 14; Nicolas Xiong, age 13; Cedric Shy, age 14; and Cyrus Shy, age 13.To prepare for the competition, the group worked together to design and build a robot using the VEX Robotics Design System, that could quickly and efficiently solve specific obstacles and challenges that come with playing the game VEX Sack Attack.

Each week, students apply what they’ve learned about science, technology, engineering and math in order to build the semiautonomous machines. An equally important set of skills is learned through the competition – design, communication, project management, and the importance of composure, because students have to learn how to lose as much as they have to learn how to win.

Andrew Lynch, the team’s advisor said, “The team has progressed tremendously in programming and design since their first event on October 6th. The team members have learned the details of using pneumatics and writing complex autonomous programs to remain competitive.”

DiscoBots VRC team meets after school and on weekends. The students learn about electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation, 3DCAD, computer-aided machining, web design, and materials fabrication.

The DiscoBots have focused on incremental improvement and constantly tested performance. For example, Mr. Lynch explains, “When working on their collector, they make one change and test it for a few hours to see how it affected their overall performance.”

While DiscoBots won the event overall, many other teams received esteemed awards.  Award winners included:

Excellence Award: 2587Z DiscoBots

Tournament Champions: 2587Z DiscoBots; 231C & 231D Pasadena ISD Robotics

Design Award: 4252A Cedar Park High School

Judges Award: 2158M ausTIN CANs

Sportsmanship: 4080A The Church Street Academy

The global robotics education and competition program has taken off in recent years. The VEX Robotics Design System is experiencing rapid growth and adoption.  VEX is currently used in more than 4,000 classrooms in the United States alone, and will be in 7,000 classrooms next year. Jason Morrella, president of the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, said, “It was great to be a part of a competition where kids get as excited as they do at a sports event.  All of the contestants exhibited high levels of enthusiasm, teamwork, and a true passion for learning through robotics.”  The REC Foundation runs the VEX Robotics Competition program that thousands of schools participate in around the world.

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl VEX Robotics Competition is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year.  VEX Robotics is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 7,000 teams from 20+ countries that participate in more than 350 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide.  The competition season culminates each Spring, with the distinctive VEX Robotics World Championship event, uniting top qualifying teams from local, state and international VEX Robotics Competitions.

More information about The REC Foundation and VEX Robotics Competitions is available at www.roboticseducation.org and RobotEvents.com.

About the REC Foundation

The Robotics Education & Competition 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 operating and supporting competitions for some of the world’s leading robotics platforms and organizations including VEX, TSA and BEST Robotics Competitions, theFfoundation 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.