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The VEX IQ Robotics System is an affordable, snap-together tool-less system, which is designed for speed of assembly and versatility. Its brain, sensors, programming, controller, and building system puts the VEX IQ Robotics System into a class of its own when comparing it to other snap-together robotics systems.
These kits provide significant savings over purchasing the parts in individual packs and include many useful parts which might be overlooked.
The three kits will provide well over 2000 parts for integration into a classroom curriculum or starting up a robotics team. These kits are best purchased together. However, depending on funding or a specific need purchasing just the Super Kit or just the Super Kit and one of the add-on kits are viable options.
The original classroom intent of the VEX IQ system was for use in the elementary and middle school curricula. However, the system’s powerful brain, versatile sensors, available programming, speed of assembly, a wide array of parts, and ease of parts management has brought the system into many high school and college classrooms.
The VEX IQ Super Kit contains more than enough parts to build the Clawbot IQ. The Clawbot IQ pairs seamlessly with the VEX IQ standards-aligned STEM Labs for classroom use.
Each year at the Elementary/Middle School divisions of the VEX World Championship, the next year’s new VEX IQ Challenge game is released for robotic teams across the world. Shortly after the release of the game, VEX provides a Hero (starter) Robot build on their Robot Build page. The Hero Robot is designed to be assembled from the parts contained within the VEX IQ Super Kit. The intent of the VEX IQ Challenge is for teams to design, assemble and program their own custom robots. However, the Hero Robot build provides new teams with a starting point to learn about game analysis, game rules, assembly, and how to work cooperatively with their alliance partners.
The VEX IQ Super Kit contains key components from each of the VEX IQ Electronics, Structural and Motion product lines:
Robot Brain: The foundation of the VEX IQ Electronics is the Robot Brain. The Brain has a wide variety of onboard programming which can be selected on its LED Screen by using the four input buttons. The Brain can also be custom programmed with the scalable programming software suite available with VEXcode. The Brain has four slots to store four different custom programs for selection and use. There are also a number of other custom programming options available.
The Brain in addition to having a mini-USB programming port, Controller Tether port, and a slide-in slot for the 2000mAh NiMH rechargeable Robot Battery, has 12 Smart Ports which recognize and utilize the system’s Smart Motors and Sensors. The Brain has interchangeable Smart Radios which can use WiFi or Bluetooth wireless communication. The Super Kit contains the WiFi Super Radios. In addition, the Brain has an internal speaker to produce many fun sounds and produce auditory feedback.
VEX IQ Controller: One of the many features which set apart the VEX IQ system from other snap-together robotics systems is a hand-held VEX IQ Controller for user control of the robot. This controller has a video game controller feel with four front finger buttons, four topside thumb buttons, and two variable control joysticks. The controller has a mini-USB port to recharge its onboard Li-Ion battery. It can use either version of the Smart Radios for wireless communication with the Brain and has a Tether port for a wired connection.
Smart Motors: The VEX IQ Starter kit comes with four Smart Motors. These motors are truly smart because they not only drive a square hub which provides a physical connection to spin the system’s square shafts to move robot assemblies, they have internal sensors to measure shaft rotation, rotational speed, and current draw.
VEX IQ Controller
Sensors: Another feature of the VEX IQ System which makes it such a powerful robotics system is its quality and varied sensors. Each of the sensors include convenient mounting holes so they can be easily integrated into the robot design. These sensors include:
The Gyro Sensor can measure if the robot has changed its rotational orientation and the rate it is changing. This is useful in order to execute accurate turns, detecting when the robot is tilting, or as a feedback system to assure the robot is driving straight.
The Bumper Switch is a single digital switch with a spring-loaded bumper which can be pushed in to change the state of the switch. The bumper has mounting holes on it so addition assemblies can be added to it. This sensor can be used for a number of applications such as changing the motion of the robot. For example, an arm could press the bumper with its downward motion and signal the arm motor to stop.
The Touch LED Sensor can produce 14 different colors in varying intensity to produce a rainbow of light options to provide visual feedback or a fun visual display. Its touch sensor can allow user input to start robot actions.
The Distance Sensor uses ultrasonic sound for echolocation to measure distances between the sensor and a flat-surfaced object. Optimally, this would be a distance from 2” to 18” ( 50mm-450mm), although under ideal conditions it can measure up to 39” (1,000mm). This sensor can be used for things like stopping a robot at the perfect distance to pick it up a game piece.
The Color Sensor measures red, blue, and green light up to 256 hues and can measure the ambient light level. This sensor can perform vision functions such as distinguishing the color of a game object or controlling the drivetrain so it will follow a line on the floor/game field.
The Structure parts contained within VEX IQ Super Kit provide a versatile building system designed to be assembled in any direction and still be able to connect back upon itself. This provides for countless creative and functional designs. These parts provide the fasteners and structural components for the VEX IQ robot.
The motion parts found within the VEX IQ Super kit include Wheels, Gears, Pulleys, and Shafts.
Wheels:The Wheels contained within the Super Kit are four of the standard 200mm travel and two 100mm Travel Rubber Tire which can slip over the 20mm Diameter Pulley. These can be assembled into small wheels which can be used as support wheels or roller intakes.
Gears: Within the VEX IQ Super Kit there are numerous 12 Tooth, 36 Tooth. And 60 Tooth gears. These spur gears allow for seven different simple gear ratios to be assembled into a gear train. There are also two 36 Tooth Crown Gears in the Kit which will allow for gear ratios to be transferred with a 90o translation.
Pulleys: There are pairs of 10mm, 20mm, 30mm, and 40mm Diameter Pulleys, as well as pairs of 30mm, 40mm, 50mm, and 60mm rubber belts within the VEX IQ Super Kit. These Pulley and Belt combinations can be used for power transfer from a Smart Motor or to change the input/output ratio of a motion system.
Shafts: There are numerous varied length shafts contained in the Kit along with Rubber Shaft Collars and Shaft Spacers. These shafts provide the drive elements for the motion products used to assemble drivetrains and other moving assemblies on the robot.
The Foundation Add-On Kit provides over 1,000 additional Structure and Motion parts to supplement the VEX IQ Super Kit.
Structure: The Foundation Add-On Kit provides many more of the 1x Beams, 2x Beams, 1x Speciality Beams, and Plates which are found in the Super Kit. In addition, there are a few additional pieces included which do not come with the VEX IQ Super Kit, such as four 4x6 Plates and four 4x8 Plates.
Fasteners: Within the Foundation Add-On Kit there are hundreds of extra Pins, Corner Connectors, and Standoffs.
Motion: There are over 50 additional metal and plastic Shafts of different lengths and in all four types (along with their accessories) included within the Foundation Add-on Kit. There are also numerous additional Pulleys and Pulley belts, plus two additional 100mm Travel Tires included. In addition to supplementing the parts which are also found in the VEX IQ Super Kit, the Foundation Add-On Kit has the parts necessary for assembling turntable bearings to provide another type of rotational motion for assemblies.
The Foundation Add-On Kit also comes with a Storage Bin and Tray plus a Contents Poster. The Storage Bin has adequate space to store all the parts provided if the Competition Add-On Kit is paired with the Foundation Add-On Kit.
The Foundation Add-On Kit will provide ample parts for any robotics team or classroom group to assemble an elaborate robot and still have plenty of parts to build additional prototypes and design new iterations for the robot.
Competition Add-On Kit
The Competition Add-On Kit provides an expansive bundle for competitive teams to add the advanced motion components needed to gain a competitive edge. This kit contains two Smart Motors and two 200mm Travel Omni-Directional Wheels. It also includes the specialty motion kits of the Chain & Sprocket Kit, the Tank Tread & Intake Kit, and the Wheel Add-On Kit.
The two Smart Motors within the Competition Add-On Kit combined with the four Smart Motors from the VEX IQ Super Kit will provide the maximum amount of six motors for a competition robot (This rule is stated in the current VEX IQ Challenge game rules).
The 200mm Travel Omni-Directional Wheels are special wheels which have a series of double-set rollers aligned around the circumference of the wheel. This feature allows the wheels to roll forward and backward, plus roll from side to side. The rollers on the Omni-Directional Wheels allow a robot to turn much easier than using the rubber tires.
Chain & Sprocket Kit: The Chain & Sprocket Kit provides numerous 8 Tooth, 16 Tooth, 24 Tooth, 32 Tooth, and 40 Tooth Sprockets. These sprockets can be placed on shafts without concern for the distances separating them as would be the case with gears. The sprockets can be connected together with snap-together chain links. This provides power transfer with a number of different input/output ratios between the Smart motors and the other motion components or assemblies.
Tank Tread & Intake Kit: Track drivetrains can be assembled using the Tread/Attachment Links, Traction links, and 24 Tooth Sprockets which are included in the Competition Add-On Kit. Game piece conveyor systems and roller intakes can also be assembled from the Tread/Attachment links and the Short, Medium, or Long Intake Flaps contained in the Kit.
Wheel Add-On Kit: The Wheel Add-On Kit contained within the Competition Add-On Kit will provide every possible combination of traction wheels for a robot. There are multiples of:
The 20mm Pulleys which can be combined with the 100mm Travel Tires.
The Small Wheel Hubs which can be combined with the 160mm Travel Tires or the 200mm Travel Tires.
The Large Wheel Hubs which can be combined with the 250mm Travel Tires.
All Three Kits
As previously discussed, the best option is to purchase all three of these kits together. This combination will certainly provide everything necessary to utilize the VEX STEM Labs in a classroom or after school program.
These three kits will provide ample supplies to fulfill the equipment needs of other available VEX IQ curricula.
They will also allow for the development of a custom educator-designed curriculum or for integration into an existing STEM curriculum. In addition, the three kits will make an excellent set to introduce robotics within an educational makerspace.
The VEX IQ Super Kit, the Foundation Add-On Kit, and the Competition Add-On Kit will provide thousands of parts to allow a robotics team to design, assemble, and program a competitive robot. A robot which will frequently produce the top Robot Skills scores, be in with the top ten teams for the elimination rounds, and bring home the awards!
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