According to the OnRobo new products website, Radio Shack is expanding the accessories it distributes for the Vex Robotics Design System - coincidentally just in time for the holiday gift buying season. The new kits are intended to add more functionality and programming ability to the Vex platform. The basic system, which bears a close resemblance to the Erector sets from decades past, was developed in partnership with the FIRST organization.
FIRST, which is usually promoted as "the world's leading high school robotics competition", has created a lot of excitement and energy about robots and engineering as a career choice for young students at a critical point in their life. Vex expands on that theme and makes it possible for students to experiment at home without having to spend a fortune on equipment.
The new Vex accessory kits include a Programming kit to modify the robot's behavior based on its sensors; a line tracker kit, ultrasonic range finder, optical shaft encoder, light sensor, omni-directional wheel, sprocket and chain, and a tank tread.
All things considered, it looks like a very good way to get kids, and their parents, up and running with robotics in a way that allows them to buy add on kits as their experience grows and their budget allows.
I'm sure we can look forward to a lot of Vexed kids and parents come Christmas morning.