Vex robotics let Mac students program wirelessly

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Innovation First on Thursday introduced two new products to its popular Vex Robotics line, including a new Competition Control System that operates via Wi-Fi and works with the Mac.

Vex robotics systems are popular in elementary, middle and high schools, as a way of teaching students the principles of engineering and science, math and technology. It's an open-ended robotics platform that lets users create systems that an do all sorts of things -- kits include gears, motors, wheels, metal and hardware. Some kits retail for less than $100.

Vex robotics competitions are increasingly popular, where teams of students will square off to achieve various goals, such as "Bridge Battle," where two teams square off with a goal of having robots place tennis balls in red and blue color sections.

The new Vex 802.11 Wi-Fi Competition Control System, whose price was not announced, provides a way for users to interact with robots without having to tether their robots to USB ports or use Radio Frequency (RF). It works using Wi-Fi and enables any user with a Wi-Fi-enabled computer, Mac, PC or Linux, to program their Vex robot wirelessly. It can also work remotely through the Internet.

The company said that an upgrade will be introduced in August that will enable existing Vex radio control systems to work via Wi-Fi instead.

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