Thousands of Students Power Up for the Ultimate Showdown at the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship on April 19-21, 2012

Brains and Robotic Brawn Descend Upon Anaheim, CA to Go Head to Head in World's Fastest Growing Robotics Movement

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich.--More than 10,000 participants comprised of the world's brightest middle school, high school and university students, educators and mentors, from nearly 20 countries around the globe, will compete in the intense 2012 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship, to be held with free admission to the general public at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 19-21, 2012. Families and local community members who attend will have the chance to meet Nobel Prize Award Winner and Stanford University Professor Emeritus of Physics, Dr. Douglas D. Osheroff, and will get a rare glimpse at replicas of NASA's Curiosity and Opportunity Mars Exploration Rovers.

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation, appeals to today's intensely competitive generation of students and represents the perfect storm of applied physics, mathematics, computer programming, digital prototyping, integrated problem solving, teamwork and leadership. The 2012 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship serves as the pinnacle event of the season for the fastest growing educational and competitive robotics program in the world. This year, 600 out of the nearly 5,000 VEX Robotics Competition teams have earned the right to bring their robotic creations to "The Golden State" and face off in the robot ring with their toughest competitors playing the 2011-2012 season game VEX Gateway.

"The VEX Robotics Competition, now in its fifth year, continues to inspire, motivate and prepare kids for a future in advanced STEM education and related professions," said Jason Morrella, president of the REC Foundation. "We are grateful for the support of our sponsors, led by Autodesk, NASA, EMC and Northrop Grumman, who are dedicated to helping prepare these students to become the qualified and talented employees they seek to hire. We are collectively encouraged by watching these powerful young minds working together, competing on the international stage and having this much fun with robotics."

Attending teams qualified for the tournament after dedicating countless hours designing, building, programming and honing their strategy skills to outperform others throughout the year at more than 300 local, regional and national VEX Robotics Competition events. The teams build their customized robots using the VEX Robotics Design System to compete against the best of the best playing Gateway, a game that takes place on a 12'x12' square field where two alliances composed of two teams each compete against one another. Each match consists of a twenty-second autonomous period where robots are controlled by onboard software programmed by the students, followed by two minutes of human-operated play. The object of the Gateway game is to attain a higher score than your opponent by directing your robot to pick up colored balls and barrels and placing them in circular goals of varying heights.

In addition to the middle and high school divisions of the VEX Robotics Competition, the 2012 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship will put nearly 50 university teams in the spotlight as they strive for the VEX Robotics College Challenge World Champion title.

Students and adults alike will be inspired by replicas of NASA's famous Mars Exploration Rovers Curiosity and Opportunity, which will be on display during all three days of the competition. Curiosity is slated to land on the red planet on Aug. 6, 2012, and Opportunity recently began its ninth year of Mars missions. Additionally, FutureLab: The Innovation Expo will also be present to give young students hands on learning experiences to encourage them to consider studying scientific and technological ideas and processes involved with nanotechnology, deep space exploration, robotics, alternate energy, virtual reality and human genomics.

iLuminate, the awe-inspiring dance-in-the-dark sensation that took audiences by storm last summer on the hit television series "America's Got Talent," will cheer on the young engineers with an explosive performance at the final competition on Saturday evening. iLuminate founder and software engineer, Miral Kotb, who developed the patent-pending wireless lighting technology, will also serve as the master of ceremonies at the final award ceremony.

Partners and sponsors of the 2012 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship include Autodesk, NASA, EMC Corporation, the Northrop Grumman Foundation, Microchip Technology, intelitek, Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University, Innovation First International, iD Tech Camps, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the Technology Student Association, the CREATE Foundation and the FUTURE Foundation. In addition, VEX Robotics continues to reach students in the classroom through key partnerships with notable education-based organizations such as Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and Technology Students Association (TSA).

Fans can follow the competition and sign up for real-time competition news and results via live streamcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube updates. Real time tournament results are also available through VEX via an iPhone and Android compatible app, which provides match schedules, rankings and scores. For more information visit

About REC Foundation

The REC Foundation, standing for Robotics Education and Competition, is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, supports robotics and technology events and programs that aim to inspire and motivate students to advance in STEM education. In addition to supporting competitions for some of the world's leading robotics platforms and organizations including VEX, TSA, BOTBALL and BEST, the foundation also provides program support and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators - including the community portal website which helps promote multiple high quality programs and provides online registration and event pages for hundreds of events around the world.

About VEX Robotics

VEX Robotics, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Innovation First International, is a leading provider of educational robotics products to middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world. The VEX Robotics Design System, winner of the 2006 Best of Innovations Award at CES, was built from the ground up and designed to be an affordable, accessible and scalable platform used to teach science, technology, engineering and math education worldwide. The company has over 250 man years of experience supporting educational robotics programs and extensive engineering resources on two continents dedicated to the VEX Robotics platform. For more information on the VEX Robotics Design System, visit

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