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Vex Robotics Starter Kit and add-ons

Evan Blass

vex robotics kit vertSure, you could go the easy route and drop a hundred bucks on a preassembled Robosapien and teach the recipient that life just hands you things; or, you could show them the satisfying sense of achievement one gets upon successful completion of a project, and spend a few (hundred) more bucks on the Vex Robotics Starter Kit. Available exclusively at Radio Shack, this progeny of an erector set and a Lego Mindstorm (actually it's "inspired" by some winners of FIRST, a high school robotics competition) allows you to create limitless variations of radio-controlled robots that can gain increasing autonomy through a series of separate add-ons. A quick scan of the optional sensors and parts would indicate that you could build a bot capable of competing in almost every one of the ten events at the Eastern Canadian Robot Games, which might make it worth the $300 price tag right there. Unfortunately you have to cough up another hundred bucks to get the interface cable and software that let your bot do anything cool, accessories that the Shack probably should have included in the first place. Please remember that if purchasing for a child to remind him/her about the included lubricant grease's "adverse human heath [sic] effects;" it can be "harmful by inhalation and contact with skin," so needless to say, this kit requires adult supervision.

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