The 2012 VEX Robotics World Championship is over and I've returned with hundreds of photos. This year's championship was held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. Last year, VEX cohosted several other events including BEST competitions, a Coast Guard robot contest, and a Boy Scount merit badge event. This year it was all VEX, all the time. The special guests were Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr. Douglas D. Osheroff, Dave Lavery of NASA, and Miral Kotb's dance troupe iLuminate. Read on for more photos and coverage of the event.
The opening ceremonies included the annoucement of a new VEX Hall of Fame and some initial inductees were brought out on stage. There was also the usual parade of teams from all over the world. This year's championship included over 10,000 participants. 600 teams from 20 countries qualified for the finals. That's nearly 100 more teams than last year's championship. The Anaheim Convention Center proved large enough to handle the crowds without the need for the additional temporary buildings used at the 2011 championship. Expect to see the 2013 VEX Championship held here again.
The entertainment during finals was provided by iLuminate, a dance troupe founded by Miral Kotb. The group performs in complete darkness wearing suits covered in EL Wire and LEDs. You may have seen them perform on the reality television show America's Got Talent. This was also the year of pyrotechnics. The VEX Dome was constantly exploding in sparks, flames, and smoke. Almost any time someone walked on stage or won a match there were explosions. And there were so many stage hands moving portable pyro kits around, it was hard to get photographs of the action without backing into a fire zone!
As always, there were plenty of awards to spread around. Despire attending several VEX Championships, I have to admit that I still only have a vague grasp of how all the alliances and awards work, so I won't even attempt to describe who won. If you'd like to see the full breakdown of who won which awards, check out the official VEX news release. It includes a list of winners and more details about the event.
A few other observations: the last two years, mohawks and blue hair were all the rage but this year it was all about hats; big hats, strange hats, and multiple hats. Mascots continue to turn up here and there, several were actually robots. Once again there were more all-girl teams than the previous year and there were more girls on all teams. It almost unusual to see an all boy team these days. It's really nice to see this kind of change happening in just the few years I've been going to the VEX Championships.
For more, see our photo gallery of the 2012 VEX Robotics World Championship covering every aspect of the event. There's also a smaller gallery of Miral Kotb and iLuminate's performance at the VEX Championship. The Robot Events site also has a video summary of the championship.