The robots are descending upon North Bay this March 24 to 26, as teams throughout Ontario meet at Nipissing University to compete in the annual FIRST North Bay Robotics Competition. There are 30 teams registered, including North Bay’s very own robotics squad, officially known as First Team 1305 Ice Cubed Near North Student Robotics Initiative.
Matthew Miners is on the local team, which has about 15 students this year. The crew meet at Canadore College, which provides space for them to work on their creations, and the end result certainly impresses. The team named the robot Vector, a 120 pound eight-wheeled machine that is ready to compete on the big stage later this march.
FIRST Robotics Canada was established in 2001 with the aim to inspire high school students to take part in science and technology and provide opportunities to build robots and compete in tournaments. In 2002 the charitable organization held its first competition in Mississauga at the Hershey Centre. Fast forward to today, and there are over 20,000 students involved with FIRST and over 1,000 teams across Canada competing in over 60 championships.
It’s a robot revolution, and new members are coming along all the time. Each year the competition changes, and for this contest in March, teams had to design a robot that would pick up small plastics cones and square blocks, and place them in the marked areas within the playing field. Teams can also gain points by having their robots dock temporarily on their charge stations.
See: 27 Robotics teams from across the province to compete in North Bay
Jessica Kelso is looking forward to seeing her old 1305 crew unleash their robots later this month. Kelso was a member herself before moving on to work with First Robotics Canada as a program coordinator. She administers camps and activities for students to learn more about science and technology.
She noted that FIRST Robotics operates throughout the world, “so there are teams competing world wide within the organization, and we host the Canadian events. We’ll compete within Ontario and then go on to the world championship held in the States.”
North Bay mayor Peter Chirico noted he’s “a big fan” of the event and is thankful for all of the work that goes on behind the scenes to produce the show. “It’s amazing to see the enthusiasm they have” within these robotic teams, “and I’m inviting the entire city to come up and see what this is all about, to see what these future leaders of our community are doing.”
See for yourself the robots in action at the Robert J. Surtees Athletic Centre, 100 College Drive, North Bay. The event is free to attend, and organizers ask those who enter to wear a mask.
By David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Mar 09, 2023