Greenville-based REC Foundation is Taking the World’s Largest Robotics Competition Virtual

The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation is turning its annual VEX Robotics World Championship into a two-part virtual event on YouTube: the first-ever Fantasy Robotics Tournament and subsequent VEX Robotics Virtual World Celebration.

The annual VEX Robotics World Championship—recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest robotics competition in the world—is going virtual for the first time ever.

Hosted by the Greenville-based Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, the VEX Robotics Virtual World Celebration and the Fantasy Robotics Tournament will now be a virtual experience this Saturday, April 25. Viewers can tune in to the VEX Robotics YouTube channel at 10 a.m. for the VEX Robotics Competition Group (middle and high school) and 11:30 a.m for the VEX IQ Challenge Group (elementary and middle school).

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis and national quarantine, the REC Foundation was forced to cancel this year’s in-person event. Each year, the VEX Robotics World Championship is a week-long celebration of hands-on STEM learning that showcases students’ technical skills. For the tournament, top global teams use robotics to go head-to-head in creative design thinking and problem solving.

Now, all teams that qualified for the championship will be included in the simulated Fantasy Robotics Tournament (a first for the event). Winners of the tournament will then be recognized during the VEX Virtual Worlds Celebration.

Dan Mantz, CEO of the REC Foundation, said he and his team wanted to still bring the intensity of the championship to the robotics community. The REC Foundation aims to increase student involvement in STEM through robotics and engineering programs. It also promotes teamwork, collaboration, and diversity through various initiatives like Girl Powered, which works to improve female involvement in STEM.

“The nearly one million students worldwide who participate in our competitions have worked hard this past season, and we’re excited to highlight their extraordinary achievements,” Mantz said. “We also can’t wait to unveil our new 2020/2021 VEX IQ Challenge and VEX Robotics competition game.”

The VEX Robotics World Championship attracts more than 25,000 attendees each year.

Last year, we told you about the competition returning to Dallas for the first time in a decade when the REC Foundation and the Dallas Sports Commission announced that it would be held here from 2021 through 2024. It was previously held in Dallas in 2009-2010, but the REC Foundation decided Dallas’ growing status as a “hotbed for STEM jobs” made it a perfect fit.

“After a comprehensive search for cities to host the World’s Largest Robotics Competition, we couldn’t be happier to bring this event back to Dallas in 2021,” Mantz said at the time. “Our home office is based in Texas just outside of Dallas, so we know first-hand how committed the city is to innovation, STEM education, and the future workforce.”

READ NEXT The Largest Robotics Competition in the World is Returning to Dallas

The Dallas version of the event will be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and is predicted to garner more than 35,000 attendees. That event is still on for now.

The REC Foundation’s virtual events are presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation. Other sponsors include: Autodesk, Dell, Google, HEXBUG, IFI NASA, Rack Solutions, Robomatter, Tesla, Texas Instruments, Toyota, TVA, VEX Robotics, MathWorks, Microchip, UPS, and Nordson.

Qualifying match schedules will be listed here.

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