Dec 10, 2008

Second Annual VEX Robotics World Championship Competition to be Held at Dallas Convention Center and Arena

New Location for Growing VEX Robotics World Championship to Accommodate Middle School, High School and New College Challenge Pilot at the Educational Robotics Competition

GREENVILLE, Texas : Building upon the success of the inaugural VEX Robotics World Championship in 2008, the 2009 tournament will move to a larger venue to accommodate the growing popularity of the VEX Robotics Competition. The second annual VEX Robotics World Championship will take place April 30- May 2, 2009 at the Dallas Convention Center and Arena, located downtown at the center of the widely known Dallas Arts District in Texas. The World Championship is the culmination of over 1,000 teams competing in 100 regional robotics competitions across the globe that use the VEX Robotics Design System. Focused on stimulating education in science, technology, engineering and math, the competition draws students ranging from middle schools and high schools, and for the first year, a college challenge pilot program is being incorporated.

More than 90 teams and about 1,000 students attended the inaugural VEX Robotics World Championship in May 2008 at California State University Northridge. The competition was fierce as high school and middle school teams battled to become the first winners of the highly anticipated championship. This year's competition at the Dallas Convention Center will allow for even more contestants and fans to come together to watch students battle their VEX robots for the chance to be the world champion. The Center will feature a 9,816-seat arena and Exhibition Hall that covers more than one million square feet, conveniently located close to entertainment, culture, sports and shopping.

The second annual VEX Robotics World Championship is expected to draw more than 2,000 students to the Dallas Convention Center, with up to 200 teams from 13 different countries in the competition. Ten of those teams advanced from the recent Inaugural VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship. The Pan-Pacific Championship took place December 4-6 at the Hawaii Convention Center where Governor Linda Lingle was present to welcome the crowd. Around the world, almost 100 teams have already advanced to the 2009 VRC World Championship from Brazil, Canada, China, England, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, and throughout the United States. Other teams competing in the World Championship will come from additional tournaments scheduled in the coming months across the U.S., from the Asian Robotics League and other countries such as Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and New Zealand.

"We are very pleased to host the VEX World Championship at the Dallas Convention Center in 2009. We believe the expertise and benefits of robotics impacts nations," said Frank Poe, director of the Dallas Convention Center. "We certainly consider it an honor to host the future technology leaders of the world in our venue."

Partnering with Innovation First as presenting co-sponsors of the second annual competition are returning supporters Autodesk Inc., NASA and FUTURE Foundation, as well as first-time supporters EMC and SolidWorks. Last year, NASA broadcasted the inaugural championship live online, while Autodesk Inc., a leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building and construction markets, offered all participating teams a grant to reduce the event registration fee. This year additional support also comes from Intelitek, Hyatt, ID Tech Camps and Six Flags.

"The World Championship gives a diverse group of students the chance to celebrate their accomplishments and share their passion for robotics with each other," said Tony Norman, president and chief executive officer of Innovation First. "Dallas is a richly diverse city that represents the same creative qualities and commitment to education that Innovation First aims to incorporate into all its competitions. After months of planning, we're convinced that the Convention Center and Arena will make a spectacular venue for the World Championship."

Exciting enhancements and additional game play activities are planned for the upcoming season. This year's competing teams will be playing the new game Elevation. In addition to the traditional team alliance match play, there will be full fields dedicated to the Elevation Programming Skills and Robot Skills challenges, which will also each crown a 2009 World Champion. The specific rules for the game Elevation, as well as the College Challenge, can be found on the VEX Elevation Competition page www.vexrobotics.com/vex-elevation.shtml. This season will also include prizes for online challenges. Students can show off their robot and computer skills prior to the World Championship by entering into three categories of new online challenges. Details are available at http://forum.robotevents.com/design.

The 2009 VEX Robotics World Championship is the final event in the 2008-2009 VEX Competition season. Winning teams from local and state VEX Robotics Competitions will have the opportunity to meet in Dallas and compete against other top-ranked teams from around the world. Giving students the opportunity to work with the VEX robotics systems promotes education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and teaches critical life skills such as teamwork, project management and problem solving.

Participating teams work prior to the competitions with educators, mentors and coaches to build and design a robot using the VEX Robotics Design system and other VEX accessories. The goal is to build a robot that can solve competition challenges quickly and efficiently. The competition engages students in strategic thinking, engineering and programming and tests the skill of the robot drivers. VEX Robotics competitions provide students with hands on learning experiences allowing them to interact with peers on regional, national and international levels.