Event director Neil Wenger said the competition has grown immensely since he started it four years ago.
“The first year was a real challenge. But my volunteers keep coming back, our event keeps getting bigger, it’s really exciting,” he said.
Images from the competition
More than 200 students from 35 schools participated Sunday and 40 volunteers helped run the event.
Wenger said the idea behind the VEX championship is to encourage young people to think about automation and robotics, which could lead to a career in engineering technologies.
“It’s just a matter of giving them access, and they’ll learn programming skills and mechanical engineering technology skills. All of those engineering technologies that we have here at NAIT are all potential career paths for these students,” he said.
Students worked day and night in robot clubs at their respective high schools.
“I hear from a lot of schools that the kids just love it. They’ll do it around the clock if you let them,” Wenger said.
Molly French, who was part of McNally high school’s team, said she got involved with robotics because she is interested in computer programming and computer science.
She said the months-long robot building process was fun, but a lot of hard work.
“Programming our robot, we had to go through many different steps … a lot of trial and error,” she said.
“We had to change our design quite a few times to actually get it to work.”
Her teammate Kyla Wong said the Vex software was tricky to learn and there is more to the robots than meets the eye.
“If you look at a lot of the robots, some of them are big and they look impressive but they’re just so complicated,” she said.
The VEX system consists of motors, sensors, structural components and a programmable controller.