Get a free robotics kit, build a cool robot, and get a college scholarship. What's not to like? Robot Magazine, VEX manufacturer Innovation First, and SolidWorks Corporation teamed up with Revell (known -- until now -- mainly for their plastic models) to offer a contest.
Online participants submitted an idea for a robot, and free VEXplorer Robotics Systems were sent to the 25 most creative inventors. The contest website listed some semi-finalists' ideas: "Protecting koi fish from a curious crane, launching cigarette butts back at their polluting perpetrators, playing fetch with a pet dog [and] dealing cards at the next poker night."
Contestants have until June 1st to design, build and videotape their robots. Judged by Mythbuster and robotics guru Grant Imahara, bots will rated on creativity both in engineering and cinematography, as well as usage of all the kit components. The winner gets a $5,000 college scholarship, the second-place contestant receives a $2,000 scholarship, and the ten third prize recipients get $200 VEX gift certificates.
The VEXplorer system is a offshoot of VEX, a building set slash robotics system meant for the educational market. VEXplorer provides a more structured experience, with a claw, a wireless video camera and all-terrain wheels.