Thought I’d point readers toward the VEX VRC Hub mobile phone app. It’s kinda cool, but mostly I’m writing about it here because it’s hard to find on the App Store (on iPhone, anyway; it is also available on Google Play). If you do the natural thing and search for “VEX” in the App Store, you have to scroll down to the 5th item that shows up—which is past the app for Skyrise (which was 4 games ago)—to find it. It also doesn’t help that it doesn’t have the word “VEX” in the app name.

VRC Hub home screenSo what’s it all about? On the right here you see the VRC Hub home screen, which has info for the last 3 games (not useful for most readers here, but hey…). If you click on the picture of a book, you get the complete rule book for each game; good to have on-hand if you don’t keep a paper copy in your lab.

VRC Hub timer screenIf you click on the teeny-tiny picture of a clock in the way-upper-right corner of the home screen, you get to the more useful part of the app (image at left). It has one-click timers you can use for skills, match play, and autonomous practice in your lab.

And the extra cool part? You get the real-live VEX tournament sound effects for the start & end of the time period, plus the 30-seconds-left alert, just like in a real match.

VRC Hub end of AutonThe interface is mildly confusing for match play; to start the 15-second autonomous, first click “Regular”, and the 15 seconds will go as you imagine. To move on to the driver-control period, click the “RESUME” grey button at the bottom of the screen (image at right) and it will move on to the 1:45 for match play.

If you click the “Skills” icon from the top section, it sets it for 60 seconds, and if you choose VEX U, you get 45 seconds for auton and 1:15 for driver control—the standard time amounts for VEX U.

I like using the VRC Hub app in our lab because anything that gets us closer to simulating real match conditions is a good thing. Plus, you don’t need to rely on anyone looking at the timer on their phone and calling the end of each segment of play. The sound effects make it really clear whether the robot is going to be able to perform as expected in the time available. Enjoy!