Friday, November 11, 2011

See robots compete Saturday

High school team hosts first-ever VEX meet in Idaho

Express Staff Writer

Wood River High School's VEX Robotics Competition Team is hosting the first-ever VEX-sanctioned event in Idaho this Saturday at Wood River Middle School in Hailey.

The event is free and open to the public. It is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the middle school gymnasium.

Kevin Lupton, an instructor at the high school's Architectural and Mechanical Design Academy and VEX team advisor, said 13 teams from Idaho and Utah have registered to compete in the event. The four top teams will qualify for a regional VEX robotics competition in Logan, Utah, in February, while the top finisher will qualify for a worldwide VEX competition in Anaheim, Calif., in April.

Lupton's team won the regional competition earlier this year and in 2010, and competed both years in the worldwide event.

The competition, which tests robotic skills of machines built by students, is sponsored by VEX Robotics Design System, a company that designs and builds components for robots.

"The game changes every year," Lupton said. "This year we have these cans and balls we have to place in goals at varying heights."

Previous competitions have involved robots placing donut-shaped plastic rings on poles or throwing or launching Nerf-type balls over walls. Teams are allowed to undo the work of opponents, but can be penalized if their robots are overly aggressive.

Staring at noon at Saturday's event, elementary school students from Blaine County schools will demonstrate robotic skills of robots built from Lego blocks.

Terry Smith:

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