Kingston robotics team qualifies for 2024 FIRST Robotics World Championship

The team at the University of Waterloo Event. Photo via W.A.F.F.L.E.S.

W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics, a team of 23 students based here in Kingston, qualified to compete in the 2024 FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston, Texas later this month.

Each year, the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) releases a challenge, and the W.A.F.F.L.E.S team designs and builds a robot to compete in the championships. This year, the students took the six weeks to build their 25-pound robot made from a mechanically refined cocktail of both custom and factory made parts, according to a release from the organization.

“With the guidance of mentors, students put in hours of work designing, machining, assembling and programming their robot. It’s safe to say this season their hard work paid off,” the release reads.

After winning the FIRST Impact Award at the Ontario District Waterloo Event, and winning the Ontario District Waterloo Event, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics competed last weekend at the FIRST Ontario Provincial Championship where they won their division and once again won the FIRST Impact Award. There, they earned an invitation to the World Championships in Houston, Texas by ranking 4th overall in Ontario. Between April 17 and April 21, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. will represent Canada as they compete against 600 teams from more than 30 different countries.

Despite being a robotics team, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. is more than just robots. The organization said it aims to spark creativity and ignite a flame of passion in kids and students around the Kingston community and help shape the future. Ibrahim Ahmad, a grade 11 student on W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics, who has gained many valuable skills as the team captain and sponsorship lead, said his experience has helped him earn an internship with Google via the FIRST Canada Youth Council.

“Being part of W.A.F.F.L.E.S. has been an awesome ride, opening up educational opportunities, teaching me valuable life lessons, and giving me friends I’ll never forget,” said Ahmad, student and Team Captain on W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics

According to the release, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. gives back to the community through demonstrations, workshops, and other initiatives, reaching over 10,000 people yearly. The organization conducts site visits to major sponsors and local schools, and participates in community events such as Science Rendezvous and Princess Street Promenade. They also organize various programs, including LEGO robotics summer camps, in addition to Fall, Winter, and Spring programs for the FIRST LEGO League.

W.A.F.F.L.E.S. has also made an impact through their partnership with Canadian Blood Services. According to the release, since 2014, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. has named their robot after someone in need of a stem cell transplant. This year, they’ve been paired with Leo and encourage anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 to join the stem cell registry in hopes of finding a match. 

W.A.F.F.L.E.S. FRC Team 4476 could not have achieved this success without the generous contributions of their Platinum level sponsors; Kingston Community Health Centres, BGC South East, and Novelis, Gold level sponsors; Pure Ingenuity and TC Energy, our Silver level sponsors; Caicos Beach Villa and Smith Engineering, as well as many other companies and local businesses.

The organization is always looking for sponsors and supporters. Anyone interested in helping this team put Kingston, Ontario on the world map for its excellence in youth robotics, is asked to consider becoming a sponsor or supporter.

More information about the organization can be found on the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics website: www.wafflesrobotics.com, or by emailing [email protected]. Information on FIRST and all of its robotics programs can be found at www.firstinspires.com.

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