VEX Robotics

Used in RISE UP/GEAR UP schools as a STEM-focused after school activity, the VEX Robotics Design System offers students an exciting, hands-on platform for learning about subjects rich with career opportunities spanning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This year, high school and middle school mentors are working with elementary students and VEX IQ.

At a glance

  • Encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups
  • Allows educators to easily customize projects to meet the level of students’ abilities
  • Expanding rapidly in middle schools, high schools, and university labs around the world
  • Engaging for an entire classroom working in small team groups
  • Accessible to girls who can be natural communicators, collaborators, and meticulous in their work

“Reaffirming and strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation is essential to meeting the challenges of this century. That’s why I am committed to making the improvement of STEM education over the next decade a national priority.”

                                                                          – President Barack Obama

How does it work?

One VEX Robotics kit costs approximately $1,300. VEX teams usually receive their robots in January, and have approximately two months to design, program, and build the robot for local and regional competitions. In competition, the robot must perform certain tasks within a defined space and under certain time constraints.

Video from the first day of the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championships:

A Swarm of Flying Robots: Agile Aerial Robots

In his lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams — for construction, surveying disasters and far more.

My Seven Species of Robot:  NASA’s Dennis Hong

Dennis Hong is the founder and director of RoMeLa — a Virginia Tech robotics lab that has pioneered several breakthroughs in robot design and engineering.

At TEDxNASA, Dennis Hong introduces seven award-winning, all-terrain robots — like the humanoid, soccer-playing DARwIn and the cliff-gripping CLIMBeR — all built by his team at RoMeLa, Virginia Tech. Watch to the end to hear the five creative secrets to his lab’s incredible technical success.