VEX Robotics Announces Inaugural College Challenge Competition to be Introduced at the 2009 VEX Robotics World Championship

GREENVILLE, Texas, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Innovation First, Inc., a leader in educational and competitive robotics products, is proud to announce the pilot season for the VEX Robotics Competition College Challenge. The single tournament for the College Challenge will take place at the VEX Robotics World Championship at the Dallas Convention Center and Arena from April 30 to May 2, 2009.


"We're very excited to integrate our new College Challenge into the 2009 VEX Robotics World Championship," said Jason Morrella, senior director of education and competition for Innovation First. "Many colleges already use the VEX Robotics Design System in their academic programs and this provides a forum for students to test their engineering skills against their peers."

The cost of registration is $250 per team, a $500 reduction from the original fee, due to individual financial support from Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp. and Autodesk. Each company is committed to supporting STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) and has a long history of partnering with VEX Robotics.

"We are honored to partner with VEX and to have a presence at the VEX Robotics World Championship 2009. Giving students the opportunity to learn 3D CAD software such as SolidWorks, better prepares them to make a difference in a world where future success depends on innovative ideas and technology, which is something that Innovation First understands and supports," said Marie Planchard, director of worldwide education for SolidWorks.

"Autodesk has a long history of partnering with Innovation First and we're pleased to be a part of their latest commitment to robotics," said Paul Mailhot, Senior Director, Autodesk Worldwide Learning. "We believe that robotics is a highly engaging and effective way for students of all ages to learn the principles and practical application of engineering, science, technology, and mathematics, and to prepare them for future academic and career opportunities and success."

The Vex Robotics Competition: College Challenge

The College Challenge will be comprised of up to 36 school teams all vying to become the inaugural VEX Robotics Competition College Challenge World Champion. Registration is open and can be completed at All teams competing at the 2009 VEX Robotics World Championship, middle school through post secondary, will be playing the game Elevation. Some of the rules for the College Challenge Elevation tournaments will be modified to allow students to maximize their advanced level of engineering expertise. The specific rules for the College Challenge can be found on the VEX Elevation Competition page

The VEX Robotics World Championship is the final event in the 2008-2009 VEX Robotics Competition season and will include top teams from approximately 100 VEX Robotics Competition tournaments happening in cities around the world from October 2008 to April 2009. Winning teams from local and state VEX Robotics Competitions will have the opportunity to meet in Dallas and compete against other top-ranked teams. Teams can register for the 2008-2009 VEX Robotics Competition season at and can also view the full listing of all local events.

The Vex Robotics Competition: Online Challenge

In addition to preparing for the upcoming VEX Robotics World Championship, there are now additional opportunities for students to show off their abilities by entering into three categories of online challenges. The Promote Award will go to the best video entry that celebrates positive experiences during a VEX Robotics Competition season or creates an entertaining highlights movie about VEX Robots.

The Design a Game Animation Award will go to the best animated video entry that demonstrates a game being played, and explains all aspects of the game including rules, scoring and field objects. The Product Design Challenge is focused on choosing the entry that designs and builds the best VEX Robot equipped to perform household chores or activities. Submission opens on January 1, 2009 and the deadline is March 10, 2009. The details for each of the online challenges including prizes are available at

About Innovation First, Inc.

Innovation First, Inc., a privately held corporation, was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First, Inc. began producing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots, and is now an industry leader in the hobby, competition, education and toy markets. The company's award-winning VEX Robotics Design System, VEXplorer, HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures, and IFI Robotics span the education, consumer and business-to-business markets. Innovation First's staff are unmatched in their experience in supporting and running educational and competitive robotics competitions. Leveraging the company's core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center, and offices located together in a 13 acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit for additional information.

For more information about Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp. visit and to learn more about Autodesk go to

     Contact:  Claire Church, Cohn & Wolfe for Innovation First, Inc.
     Phone:    310-526-5530

     Contact:  Lindsey Carlin, Cohn & Wolfe for Innovation First, Inc.
     Phone:    310-526-5570

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