Two Schools, One Team

Since 1999, the Northern Knights, a high school robotics team bringing together students from Loyola High School and the Sacred Heart School of Montreal, has competed in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (“FRC”). FRC is an international student robotics competition brings together over 2900 teams from over 19 countries, to complete in the annual challenge designed by FIRST. A challenge, which allows us students to experience the practical side of the sciences and develop invaluable real-world skills.

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Counting down the days until Oshawa! #firststronghold

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About Us

The Northern Knights, Team 296, are a high school robotics team bringing together students from Loyola High School and the Sacred Heart School of Montreal to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).

Founded in 1999, the Northern Knights are the second Canadian team as well as the first Quebec team to join the FRC. Throughout its history, the team has won numerous awards for their robots’ prowess at various levels of competitions. Most notably in 2006, the team went on to be the first ever Canadian team to win the World Championship as the captain of its alliance.

Off the field, the team has strived to play an active role in the community with the goal of increasing the accessibility of and interest in science and technology. Over the years, our outreach efforts have reached over a hundred thousand students through various interactive events. The team has also partnered with FIRST Quebec to provide mentorship and guidance to other teams in the province. Moreover, through its partnership with Sacred Heart, the team aims to support and encourage women to consider careers in the sciences.

About First

The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), is an international high school competition in which students from various high schools around the world team up with volunteer professional mentors to build robots that compete in high intensity robo-sports. In only 6 weeks, students must build from scratch, robots to compete in the annual challenge, which this year, is FIRST Stronghold. FRC is a combination of the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand", work together, and build and program robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. In the process, FRC participants develop real world competencies, all the while improving their organization, communication, and leadership skills.

For more information about FIRST or the FRC, we encourage you to visit:

Our sponsors

Loyola High School is a Jesuit, Catholic school for boys in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1896, Loyola has a long tradition of excellence of educating "Men for Others" who are intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving and committed to doing justice.

The Sacred Heart School of Montreal is a Catholic school for girls in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1861, Sacred Heart aims to instil the values that Saint Madeleine Sophie so valued all the while promoting creative education and leadership framed by the five goals of a Sacred Heart education. The truly international character of a Sacred Heart School aids in fostering a global education and citizenship in our girls.

Robotique FIRST Quebec is an international competition that fosters inspiration and recognition of science and technology among young people of Quebec by; engaging in an innovative mentoring program in robotics that relies on the expertise of engineers and academics, while promoting a balance of life, including-self confidence, communication and leadership. FIRST encourages more involvement in society, while enjoying the satisfaction of acting and competing with respect and integrity.

Vision for our Robots

One of the challenges in controls for the FIRST robotics competition is to integrate automation and assisted controls in game to achieve the point scoring objectives. We use a variety of encoders and sensors to try and provide feedback to the robot in autonomous mode and to the driver in tele-operated mode. One such challenge is the integration of vision for our robot. While network based cameras like these are inexpensive and readily available in different shapes and sizes, we have had some problems integrating it with the control system, and since have moved to USB type cameras.

To integrate vision, we are using a 4-channel USB DVR along with small analog cameras to take advantage of multiple points of view (POV) to have both forward and rear-view vision.

There is a 15 second autonomous mode at the start of each match where the robot must run solely on pre-programmed instructions and feedback loops from the sensors. The small camera can be used to locate the retro-reflective tape installed around the goals. Additionally, during tele-operated mode, the driver is across the playing field from the goals, and the view of the robot is often obstructed by the field elements and other robots.

The vision tracking is used to identify and automate end effector actuation to manipulate the game pieces. The front POV camera is used to drive the robot up to the game piece in order to manipulate the game piece, and to identify where the robot must drive to in order to score the game piece. The rear POV camera is often used by the driver, when the robot cannot be seen from the driver station, to orient the robot on the field and defend against incoming opponents.

Our current implementation uses the front POV camera and an alternating color light in order to find the grey game balls. This is used to drive up to the ball and lower the end effector to pick it up. The proximity to the ball is determined using size and position in the POV. The rear view camera is used to help the driver orient the robot when his view is obstructed.

As explained in this wireless ip camera setup guide, IP cameras offer several advantages over analog cameras, especially the ability to send video wirelessly for several cameras over one stream. They also provide the possibility to stitch video together to form a 360 view in a way similar to 360heros. For the future, we will continue to experiment with the implementation of IP cameras as they offer different possibilities.

Contact Us

Robotics Lab and Workshop

Loyola High School
7272 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montreal, Qc. Canada H4B 1R2
P: (514) 486-1101
F: (514) 486-7266

Special Operations

The Sacred Heart School of Montreal
3635 Avenue Atwater
Montréal, Quebec
Canada, H3H 1Y4
P: (514) 937-2845