Hundreds of robotics lovers from across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland were in Comox on Jan. 20 for the 2018 Mid Island Challenge VEX robotics competition.
Hosted at Highland Secondary School on Saturday, the competition pits high school robotics clubs from across B.C. against one another.
Event organizer Steve Claassen, who also teaches at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School, said the competition gives students interested in science and mechanics the chance to design, create and engineer something mechanical.
“There’s programming in there as well, there’s driving skills. There’s a whole team effort,” he said. “To make a successful robot, what you really need is a driver, someone who can program, someone who can build, and someone who can oversee it all and put it together.
“When you look that from an engineering point of view, that’s how everything is built around this world.”
Forty-five teams came from across Vancouver Island and mainland B.C. to compete.
The Comox Valley was also represented, with teams from Highland, Mark R. Isfeld, and G.P Vanier secondary schools taking part, as well as a team from the Navigate North Island Distance Education School (NIDES).
In this year’s competition, teams had to control their robots to grab yellow cones spaced throughout a boxed-in arena, stack them onto mobile goals and put them into their respective corners.
“Depending on where they put the corners, they’re worth more points. The team with the most goals and cones in the corners are the winners in the end,” explained Claassen.
The winning teams and runners-up of the B.C. Mid Island Challenge go on to compete at B.C. provincials. This year, teams from Navigate/NIDES and Mark R. Isfeld qualified.
Provincials will be held March 2–3 at Seaquam Secondary School in Delta. According to Claassen, the winners of that competition will then qualify for the 2018 VEX world championships (high school division) in Louisville, Kentucky, which take place in late April.