VEX Game Elements
One of the more challenging aspects of the VEX Robotics Competition game is that a new game design is introduced for each competition season. This allows students to use their previous game experience to build upon as they tackle the new objects and goals of the game while giving both experienced and new teams an equal starting place. Click here to review this year's game for the VEX Robotics Competition.
Each year students will come across new game elements that their teams will have to maneuver and manipulate by moving, tossing, or flipping. These materials come in various shapes and sizes. That is why it is very important that teams design the most appropriate manipulator for their robots in order to succeed in the current game. The VEX Robotics Knowledge Base has an article about How to Decide on a Manipulator. Click on the title of the article to review the different types of manipulators and how to decide on the best one for your robot.
Teacher Tips - The Provided Links
The first provided link within the reading will take students to VEX's website where this year's game is explained and there are further links to the Game Manual and other resources. The second provided link within the reading will review different types of passive and active manipulators that could be used in the design of a competition robot.
Motivate Discussion - Consider the V5 Clawbot's Manipulators
The image on this page shows three successive VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) games: In the Zone, Turning Point, and Tower Takeover. The three fields are equal in size and so you can see that the sizes and shapes of game elements have varied greatly from year to year. You might want to display each game in a larger size so that students can fully appreciate the different game elements.
Q: Based on what you've read about manipulators, how many manipulators does the V5 Clawbot have?
A: Two: the arm and the claw.
Q: Are they active or passive? Why?
A: They are active because each is controlled by a motor.
Q: Are the V5 Clawbot's claw and arm the best manipulator to use for the three games shown? Why?
A: No, because the claw might not be large enough to move the cones and cubes. The claw and arm also are not used to throw objects so the flags in Turning Point would be a problem.
Q: It looks like game elements have to be lifted and placed as part of the In the Zone and Tower Takeover games but that game elements need to be launched or thrown in Turning Point. Would you design the same manipulator for In the Zone as you would for Tower Takeover? What about for Turning Point?
A: The manipulator(s) for each game should be designed to meet the needs particular to that game. It is unlikely that the best manipulator(s) for one game will be exactly the same as another. For example, the In the Zone's game elements can be stacked and then moved and placed whereas the cubes in Tower Takeover would not be stacked before being moved and placed. The robots for each game would need appropriate manipulators for carrying out those two similar but different tasks.