This year, I once again volunteered at VEX Worlds, the world championship of robotic competition, held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
The REC Foundation (Robotics Education & Competition) organizes robotic competitions around the world, all year long. These focus on high school students, and also have event brackets for middle school and college.
The VEX Worlds championship moved to the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in 2015, where it uses all four wings and the Freedom Hall arena.
The 2016 event set the Guinness World Record for the largest robotic competition, with 16,000 worldwide teams only sending their winning 1,100 teams to the USA.
You can watch ESPN for championship highlights on July 20.
Students came from all around the world for the championship. Over 30 countries competed, including a team of Syrian refugees (who named their robot Robogee).
You can watch the parade of nations at opening ceremonies here.
My photos here include teams from Australia, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, and Syria.
The kids enjoy dressing up. I can totally relate.
Dozens of companies from around the country attend to meet the fans and showcase the cool stuff they’ve got cooking.
This year, all four days of my volunteering were at the TALK (Technology Association of Louisville Kentucky) booth, where we joined forces with Sullivan University, Boice (now a part of Data Strategy), and Marwood Veneer. One of the big draws to our booth was the Rad Science Skateboard Build, the STEAM curriculum codeveloped by Marwood and TALK. Our buddies at the MakerMobile were giving tours and making stuff.
NASA — my old company –was there, too, giving rides in their MRV (Modular Robotic Vehicle).
The VIP lunch, and volunteer dinner gathered hundreds of great people.
The speaker for lunch was Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton, who has a degree in Industrial Engineering. I didn’t even realize that.
The championship will keep coming back to Louisville until at least 2019. They’re always looking for volunteers. If you’d like to get involved, get in touch at the REC Foundation Volunteer page.