360 Sends Robotics Teams to California

The 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, led by Bemidji State University, helped send high school robotics teams to compete in the VEX Robotics World Championship in Anaheim, California in April. This is the first time Minnesota teams have competed in the world tournament.

“Participating in this year’s world tournament has given our Minnesota teams insight into game strategies, technology and programming skills, and it has really got them excited about VEX robotics and STEM education,” Andrew Dahlen explained, faculty member at Northland Community and Technical College and volunteer judge at the VEX World Championship.

The Boss Botz of Cold Spring, Minn., Civil Air Patrol A.I. from Bemidji, Minn. and Fosston 2 of Fosston, Minn. all qualified for the world competition at the 360 VEX Robotics Competitions held in Thief River Falls and St. Cloud, Minn. in February. Nearly 400 teams participated in the high school portion of the World VEX Championships in California.

The teams have been prepping for the trip for the last seven weeks by re-engineering parts of the robot to make it more effective, going over winning game strategies, and studying what the best team practices would be at the world tournament.

“I felt like I was in a room full of professional engineers when these up-and-coming engineers use vocabulary like PID loops, low pass filters, quadrature encoders, and programming variables,” Dahlen said. “They really knew what they were talking about.”

The 360 VEX Robotics Competitions were part of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions that took place internationally throughout the year. VEX Robotics is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools, and colleges around the world, with more than 4,000 teams from 20 countries that participate in more than 250 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide.

“You couldn’t go away from this event without being excited,” explained Robin Helgager, previous unit commander for the Bemidji Civil Air Patrol.

The VEX Robotics Competitions serve as a vehicle for students to develop critical life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and project management honed through building robots and competing with like-minded students from the community in a pulse-pounding, exciting, non-traditional environment.

For more information about VEX Robotics contact Karen White, director of the 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, at (218) 755-2208.

All teams are randomly divided into divisions at the world tournament. Minnesota’s ranks among their divisions are listed below.

The Boss Botz – Engineering Division rank – 42

Fosston 2 – Math Division rank 65

Civil Air Patrol A.I. – Science Division rank 33