The Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation and VEX Robotics have provided opportunities for students to compete during the difficult times that the COVID-19 crisis has created. Many schools are in hybrid or remote learning and many have travel restrictions making in-person competitions impossible. However, there are still a number of options available for competition. These options are available for both the VEX Robotics Competition and the VEX IQ Challenge. The REC Foundation Season Restart Guide is a great reference to help navigate your challenges.

This article will cover the following:

  • Skills-Only Event: Remote, Live
  • Skills-Only Event: Remote, Pre-Recorded
  • Live Remote Tournaments
  • Skills Game Element setup
  • Remote Judging

Skills-Only Event: Remote, Live

Description:

The Skills-Only Event Remote, Live is a remote version of a Skills-Only Event. It is an event held exclusively via a live, online video platform organized by the Event Partner. The Event Partner will either allow teams to complete skills run on a first-come first-serve basis, or they may assign time slots for the teams to complete their runs.

Teams must have a robot which has passed inspection (inspection is completed at the Event), a competition field with a complete set of game elements, internet access, and capability to participate with the online video platform for the event. The camera (webcam, cell phone, or tablet) broadcasting the teams’ skills run must be placed so the entire competition field and participants are visible. The main camera or a secondary camera must be able to be moved around to view different parts of the field if the head referee requires to see a specific portion.

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Teams can register for these events at RobotEvents.com.

Helpful Resources:


Skills-Only Event: Remote, Pre-Recorded

Description:

This type of event is similar to a Live Remote Skills-Only Event. However, a “Remote, Pre-Recorded” Skills-Only Event is an event held exclusively via videos of Robot Skills Matches that are submitted to and scored by an Event Partner and/or Head Referee. The video must be uncut and recorded during the specified time frame provided by the Event Partner.

There are specific rules for the video which must be followed. These can be found within the VIQC Game Manual or VRC Appendix Section of the Game Manual.

Teams will need to upload their video on a publicly accessible platform like YouTube, Facebook Video, Google Classroom, SchoolTube, etc., and submit the URL to the Event Partner per the instructions on the event site.

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A “Remote, Pre-Recorded” Skills-Only Event is a great option if your internet connection may not be fast enough to support live video feed or your teams are not able to meet during Live Remote Skills-Only events.

Teams can register for these events at RobotEvents.com.

Helpful Resources:


Live Remote Tournaments

Description:

Live Remote Tournaments are the closest option to an in-person competition. These tournaments have alliances working together in real-time with a video connection. The real-time remote connection provided through RobotEvents.com allows alliances to simultaneously view each other's play at the different locations and work together to achieve the best score.

In addition to having a registered VEX robotics team, a full playing field, a set of game elements, a robot which has passed inspection (inspection is completed at the Event), and being registered for the Live Remote Tournament, there are also some equipment requirements. In order to participate in a Live Remote Tournament you will need a Windows or Macintosh computer with the Chrome browser and internet access. You will also need a USB webcam (720p or higher resolution) that can be set a minimum of 7ft (2.1m) high and 7ft (2.1m) back from the field.

There are minor rule changes to the game to accommodate the Live Remote Tournament format. These are described in the Live Remote Tournament sections in each game manual (VRC manual and VIQC manual).

Programs which have multiple teams will need to have a full competition field setup to accommodate any matches in which two or more of their team might be participating in the same match together. Programs with multiple VIQC teams will need 2 competition fields. Programs with multiple VRC teams will need one field per team up to a maximum of 4 fields. Even if the teams are at the same location, the Live Remote Tournament format needs to have each of these teams compete as if they were remote, which means teams may not share the same field during a match.

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Teams can register for these events at RobotEvents.com. You can find these events by selecting Live Remote Tournaments in the Event Type box.

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There is also a Live Remote practice option for teams. This can be accessed by registered teams at any time and it is recommended for teams to try prior to participating in an actual tournament.

Live Remote practice for VRC:

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Live Remote practice for VIQC:

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Helpful Resources:


Skills Game Element setup

It is Important to note that the Skills Game Element setup is different from the Tournament Game Element setup for both the VEX IQ Challenge, Rise Above game and the VEX Robotics Competition, Change Up game.

VEX IQ Challenge Skills field setup (Figure 19, VEX IQ Challenge Rise Above - Game Manual).

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VEX Robotics Competition Skills field setup (Figure 1, Appendix B Robot Skills Challenge)

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Remote Judging

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the REC Foundation developed an alternative approved judging model called Remote Judging for both in-person events and remote events.

Remote Event Judging can be used in circumstances where an REC Foundation sanctioned event is under restrictions due to COVID-19 that precludes standard event judging. These events may use pre-submission of a Digital Engineering Notebook and a remote team interview before or during the event.

Helpful Resources:

The Event Page will specify the type of judging

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Some overall recommendations to teams for all event types:

  • Carefully read the information on the Event Page to learn more about the event logistics since each event may have different implementation methods.
  • The event title provides clarification on the event type.

No matter which option you choose to compete with your robot this season, please be sure to observe all local/state Health Regulations and look at Support for VEX Teachers During the COVID-19 Outbreak, as well as the COVID Resources page from the VEX Robotics Knowledge Base.