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Students' siege-engine robots rumble in Dallas

Students from 14 countries battled it out at the 2010 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship in Dallas. They designed and built their own autonomous and remote-controlled robots from kits.

Thousands of students from around the world converged on Dallas over the weekend with curious, siege engine-like robots they designed and built. Their mission wasn't to smash local architecture but to triumph in a game called Clean Sweep, part of the 2010 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship held at the Dallas Convention Center April 22-24.

The budding roboticists from middle schools, high schools, and colleges in 14 countries created their machines using the VEX Robotics Design System, an educational platform that can yield a wide range of autonomous and remote-controlled bots.

In Clean Sweep, alliances of robots have to put as many balls as possible over a barrier and into the opponent's field. The robots operate autonomously part of the time; otherwise they are remote controlled. Students from China and New Zealand defeated nearly 400 other teams to take the championship title.

Organizers say the VEX kits help students develop critical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Meanwhile, officials from partner groups like NASA were on hand to scout out potential robot masterminds. Check out some highlights from the event in the gallery.