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Build your own robot with Vex Robotics

January 1, 2005

in All Articles,Robotics

Erector sets have gone electric: The Vex Robotics Starter Kit gives you over 500 pieces of robotic fun, including motors, gears, wheels and hardware. Throw in some batteries, turn on the radio transmitter, and take control.

Build your own robot

The Vex Robotics kit allows you to design and build robots from scratch. It’s for anyone interested in robotics, electronics, or just creating things with nothing more than imagination. Use the included instructions to build a simple “tank” robot, or strike out on your own with innovative, creative designs.

Working at the nuts-and-bolts level, your creations can span a wide range. And if 500 pieces isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of accessories. Use these to not only build bigger robots, but to expand your robot’s capabilities: Light sensors allow your robot to follow or detect light sources. Ultrasonic range finders allow your robot to measure distances and avoid collisions with other objects. For a true merger of computers and hardware, get the Vex Programming Kit. It gives you full control over telling the robot what to do and how to react to certain situations. Programmed robots can even function on their own, with no help from a remote control.

The kit itself is fairly easy to understand and build, but isn’t intended for the very young. You’ll be bolting many small parts into place, and working with electric connectors. Patience and a delicate touch is required. For the advanced builder, the Vex kit comes through with flying colors, as the kit allows for very complex designs and programming. Just make sure to get rechargeable batteries – You’ll need a total of 14 AA batteries to power the robot and radio transmitter!

Robot tournaments

High-school students should check out the “FIRST Vex Challenge“. This is a new, intermediate-level national robotics design competition. Sponsored by Radio Shack, it uses the Vex Robotics Design System as its template.

For something closer to home (assuming you live in my state), check out “Robofest“, a Michigan-based robotics competition.

One of the original intents of robots was to do jobs, to save humans from repetitive or dangerous work. The Vex Robotics Kit gives us that freedom, and more. Use the Vex kit to build a robot for a specific task. Compete in specialized robot design competitions. Learn more about robotics, electronics and computer programming. Build your creations, and you’ll realize the intent of the original robot was lost: It’s no longer “work”, but fun and educational.

See the full review, including pictures of the Vex Robotics Design Kit.

Vex Robotics kits are available at your local Radio Shack or online at The starter kit retails for $150.

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