VEX Robotics, a company that builds robot components for educational purposes, maximizes the use of their products in a competition series for students in elementary school through college. The competitions include a new challenge every year for participants to design and build robots that duke it out for the top spot and to earn additional awards.

Arizona State University’s VEX team, PYRO, is part of the Rossum Rumblers student robotics club on the Polytechnic campus and takes part in VEX U collegiate competitions. The organization hosts meetings and events at ASU’s Polytechnic campus for any ASU students interested in experimenting with robotics, including PYRO and groups interested in small combat robots, industrial robots and more.

“Our overall goal is to provide students with a way to apply the skills they learn from their classes in a more relaxed environment, which earns them experience for their professional careers,” says Kenneth Hodson, the Rossum Rumblers president and a robotics and autonomous systems graduate student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU.

Rossum Rumblers’ PYRO team provides a competitive outlet for club members looking to achieve robotics engineering superiority against more than 300 VEX U teams from around the world. PYRO has participated in the competition series since 2014 and has earned numerous awards during the 2022–23 season for the team’s innovative designs.

PYRO’s 2022–23 VEX U awards include the Design Award, which recognizes organization and engineering skills; the CAD Engineering Challenge award, which rewards the creation of a new part for VEX robots using computer-aided design; and the Build Award, which rewards attention to detail in safety and design.

The CAD Engineering Challenge award honors PYRO’s custom-built mecanum wheels, a type of wheel enabling vehicles using them to move in any direction. The team won the Design Award for its well-documented building process and previous solidly constructed robot designs used during the season.

The Build Award was bestowed on PYRO for the design of an attention-grabbing robot named the Air Blast.

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