Hawaii may not be the first thing you think of when someone says “robots,” but there is actually a connection between the two: 23 middle-school and high school students from Hawaii have been accepted to participate in the VEX World Championships.
The VEX World Championships is an event held in California in April, during which the top student-run robotics teams in the world gather to celebrate their accomplishments in the field, and to compete in the VEX Sack Attack game.
This is the way it works: two teams make up the “red” alliance, and two opposing teams make up the “blue” alliance. The two colors compete in several matches, which consist of a 15-second autonomous period, followed by a driver-controlled play period of one minute and 45 seconds.
The objective is to have the robot sink a Sack or Bonus Sack in the Goal, earning points and additional Bonus Points by having the robots parked in place at the end of the match.
The road to get to the World Championships is a tough one, so the fact that 23 Hawaiian teams have secured their spot is an impressive feat.
To qualify for the VEX Robotics World Championships, 104 teams from Hawaii, China and Taiwan competed in a pre-competition known as the VEX Pan-Pacific Championships. This event was held at the Hawaii Convention Center last Saturday, and the winners were selected from this and previous competitions.
Saturday’s winners included the Waiakea High School robotics team, the Hilo High School team, and the Mililani High School team.
Several awards were issued at Pan-Pacific, including one “Volunteer of the Year Award” that went to Tim Pregana, for his dedication to the growth of robotics operations and research in Hawaii. As Hawaiian students do not always receive the best funding for such ventures, Pregana has worked tirelessly to ensure students spanning the mainland to every single Hawaiian island have the ability to work with robotics.
Additional Hawaiian winners selected to participate in the VEX World Championships are the Waianae High school, McKinley High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School, Highlands Intermediate School, Kealakehe High School, Kohala High School, Pearl City High School, Punahou School, Iolani School, Kaiser High School, as well as a home-schooled team.
Some of the schools are actually sending multiple teams to the event, marking a very high participation from Hawaii in this year’s competition.
Edited by Brooke Neuman