With a place in the grand final in the US up for grabs, more than 1,000 primary and secondary schools will face off at the finals of the EMC VEX Robotics tournament.
The Cork robotics competition, taking place at the Nexus Hall at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) from 28 to 30 January, will see months of hard work from students of 50 primary and secondary schools put to the test.
In its fourth year, the EMC VEX Robotics initiative was started with the aim of promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to the next generation of entrepreneurs.
As part of the competition, a team of students are asked to plan, design and build programmed and remote-controlled robots capable of doing a number of assigned tasks, typically being able to manipulate objects, navigate obstacles and something akin to robotic shotput.
There are a number of awards up for grabs at the competition: for overall achievement, tournament and teamwork winners, the best programmers and designers, and others.
Global prize up for grabs
Whoever wins the Excellence Award, however, will get the added bonus of taking part in the global edition of the competition, Vex Worlds, due to take place in Louisville, Kentucky in the US from 20 to 23 April this year.
Speaking ahead of the competition, the manager at Lifetime Lab – one of the mentors for the competition – Mervyn Horgan, said: “The EMC VEX Robotics programme is a fantastic opportunity for Cork schoolchildren to experience hands-on STEM activities.
“We have witnessed first-hand how various elements, including robot design and building, STEM presentations and programming, succeed in not only capturing the imagination, but assist skills development in the areas of electronics, construction, engineering and ICT, priming children for further study in and a career in STEM.”
Child tinkering with robot image via Shutterstock