ending on either side of the arm. This tandem gear train
disperses the stress on each D-shaft, reducing twisting and
How Can MATRIX Do Better?
MATRIX models will tend to fit somewhere in between
VEX and TETRIX in terms of sturdiness. Much like both of
the other platforms, a well-designed MATRIX robot of any
size will be plenty sturdy, while a poorly designed one will
sway. The flat beams in particular could stand to be
manufactured from a higher quality of aluminum to avoid
At the 2012 FTC World Championship in St. Louis,
teams from all over the world got their first glimpse of
MATRIX Robotics, with some fantastic models on display at
their booth. There was a lot of excitement about the kit,
and more than a few people expressed their interest in the
universal joints and belt drives incorporated into some of
the models on display.
These awesome parts are unfortunately not currently
available from MATRIX, but the team is hard at work
finalizing the designs for distribution. While it's a bit
disappointing that they aren't here now, I share the
anticipation of what's to come with many MATRIX
Because they're a small operation, there's a definitive
personal touch from MATRIX support with exceptionally
fast responses to questions and great customer service.
However, the downside of their small size is that it takes a
while for some of their innovations to reach the market. I
look forward to seeing the company grow and reduce their
turnaround time on new products.
This is the first time in quite a while that I’ve been this
genuinely excited about a new robotics platform (the last
time was the release of the NXT), and so I look forward to
seeing how the system matures. I’m especially excited
about the impact it will have on the growth of the FIRST
Tech Challenge, given the low price point of the kit. I hope
we see the same pace of growth in FTC as we are in FIRST
LEGO League which had over 20 thousand teams compete
last season alone, compared to 2,500 FTC teams.
All said and done, MATRIX Robotics is a spectacular
new kit. Everyone I’ve spoken to who’s had the opportunity
to work with the kit has been very excited about it, and in
particular, the simplicity and flexibility of the system.
At $500 USD for the base kit including over 750 pieces,
it is actually cheaper per piece than LEGO MINDSTORMS
NXT (though you’ll need to buy a controller separately).
That is very impressive for a metal system. If you have an
opportunity, take a few minutes to experiment with
MATRIX. You’ll like what you see. SV
44 SERVO 05.2013