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Robots coming to Halifax County this weekend

On Saturday robotic teams from area schools will converge on Halifax County High School for the second annual Southern Virginia VEX Robotics Competition to participate in the 2010-11 game entitled “Round Up.”

Event chairman Ricky Gordon explained VEX Round Up is played on a 12’x12’ square field. Two alliances – one “red” and one “blue”– composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a 20-second autonomous period followed by two minutes of driver controlled play.

“The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent alliance by scoring tubes upon goalposts, owning goalposts and by low hanging or high hanging from the ladder. A bonus is awarded to the alliance that has the most total points at the end of the autonomous period,” Gordon said.

“This year’s game will be a real challenge for the teams. Last year the opposing alliances were separated by a barrier wall and could score by pushing balls through a gap in the wall.

“This year, the teams can come into physical contact with each other. Also, in order to score, the robots must lift and place the rings on the goals or climb the ladder which will really cause the teams to come up with a more complicated design than before,” Gordon said.

“At least it will be a little easier for me as last year I had to drive to LaPlata, Maryland the night before the competition as the playing pieces did not arrive in time. This year I already have them on hand,” he added.

Last year two teams from the Halifax STEM Academy won the SVVRC in the last 10 seconds of the elimination rounds which qualified them to compete in the National Championship in Dallas, Texas.

However, the teams were unable to go due to finances, Gordon said.

“We missed going by $1,500. I’m hoping that if we can qualify this time that we will be able to attend.”

This year’s National Championship will be held in April at the new ESPN Center in Orlando, Florida.