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Unread 04-17-2006, 11:28 AM
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Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

IFI sent this press release for us to post.

Quote:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GREENVILLE, Texas (April 17, 2006) – Innovation First, a leading provider of robotics products for the consumer and education markets, today announced it’s acquisition of the Vex® Robotics Design System brand name and trademark registrations from RadioShack Corporation. Innovation First, developer and licensor of the technology powering Vex, partnered with RadioShack in 2005 to develop the award-winning product platform.

“Gaining ownership of the Vex Robotics brand positions Innovation First to take the product platform to the next level,” said Tony Norman, president and CEO of Innovation First. “We plan to stock the full line of Vex products and accessories and will seek additional distribution partners to fully serve the consumer and education markets in the US and abroad. We’ll also be stepping up efforts to drive innovation into the product assortment and will offer even more unique parts through the www.vexlabs.com website.”

The Vex Robotics Design System includes a starter kit with over 500 individual parts and offers more than twenty accessory products including an autonomous programming kit, distance sensors, line following sensors and tank treads. Winner of the Best of Innovation award at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show, Vex promotes creativity and allows builders to design an infinite variety of robots to solve any task. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), creator of the nation’s leading robotics competitions for students, is utilizing Vex to pilot a new level of competition called the FIRST Vex Challenge which culminates in a national championship later this month at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. More information is available at www.usfirst.org/vex/.

“Teachers are looking for easier, fun ways to deliver practical lessons in math, physics and computer programming,” said Joel Carter, vice president of marketing for Innovation First. To this end, educational curriculum mapping to national standards has been developed for the Vex platform by intelitek and Carnegie Mellon University. “Ironically, the US is facing a shortage of qualified applicants for high-paying technical jobs. Vex is a low cost way for schools to introduce kids to these vocations through hands-on courses in robotics.”

To learn more about the award-winning Vex Robotics Design System, please visit www.vexlabs.com or call 903-453-0801.

About Innovation First
Innovation First incorporated in 1996 and is a privately held S corporation. Co-owners Tony Norman and Bob Mimlitch founded the company on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began producing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots, and is an industry leader in the hobby, competition and education markets. The RackSolutions division was formed in 1999 with the goal of becoming the "Rack Mount Problem Solvers." RackSolutions works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

Contact
Joel Carter
Innovation First, Incorporated
(903) 453-0880
joel_carter@innovationfirst.com
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Unread 04-17-2006, 11:30 AM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

Not too surprising considering that RadioShack dropped the ball on this one, but still surprising that IFI picked up the ball afterwards! Very nice!

Lets hope we see VEX in more stores now...
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Unread 04-17-2006, 11:33 AM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

Not a surprising move, but definately a welcomed one. My biggest fear when i heard radioshack was getting doubts about Vex was that it would cease to exist. Vex is definately an innovative and amazing resource, tool, and toy! I hope that IFI keeps up the great work and keeps inspiring us with their Vex products.
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Unread 04-17-2006, 11:40 AM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

happy to see someone is there to pick the Vex up after radioshack dropped the ball. hoping it still in stores, but if not can always get it off there site
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Unread 04-17-2006, 11:42 AM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

Wow. I didn't realize IFI would have the capital to buy the rights. Good for them though; it really expands their company a great deal in the general consumer sector.
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Unread 04-17-2006, 12:25 PM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

Nice. Very, very nice. Having participated in FVC Game Design, I had the distinct pleasure of spending a little time with Tony Norman and even more with JVN in the past nine months or so. The amount of effort, care, and thoughtfulness Innovation First has put into this platform and program is nothing short of immense, dating all the way back to the "Edu-Bot". The way I see it, even though a large distributor in Radio Shack is lost, the real vision and passion behind the product now has the control and power to really help VEX grow in meaningful and lasting ways. The distribution hurdle is a very temporary thing. Congratulations to Innovation First. I look forward to the future with great anticipation.
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Unread 04-17-2006, 01:02 PM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

It's all great news to hear, but the broke college students and others around the world want to know one thing. Will the pricing go down/up?
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Unread 04-17-2006, 01:04 PM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

I, too, am glad to see IFI pick this one up. They did great with the Edubot, then came the Vex line, which was a great improvement in both cost and user-friendliness. (After all, when everyone has the same controller, life gets so much easier...and besides, the Mini RC alone is $250. Fifty bucks more for a radio and a bunch of hardware is a steal.)

I can't wait to see what all those crazy Texans will do next--but whatever it is, I bet it'll be awesome.
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Unread 04-17-2006, 01:09 PM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

Seeing as how the state of things were with VEX and Radioshack, I think this is one of the best outcomes of the whole situation. I am curious to know how much the prices will fluctuate, if at all, but regardless I'm glad there will still be a supplier after Radioshack sells out their stock of VEX stuff.
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Unread 04-17-2006, 01:11 PM
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Re: Innovation First acquires Vex from Radio Shack

i am very happy that the vex line is not going to disappear. this will help out my grandfather's/friend's robotics class at their school, now that they have a reliable dealer for parts.
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