West Seattle teens’ underwater robot diving into international competition

We are always thrilled to be able to share news about local people – of all ages – achieving great things. Today – meet the team of local youth headed to an international technology competition! As part of it, they needed to do “media outreach” for bonus points – and even wrote their own story, which we’re happy to publish. First, Alex Miller‘s introduction:

We are participating in the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Competition. An ROV is an underwater vehicle that is controlled from the surface. We built this ROV throughout last year and recently participated in the Pacific Northwest regional competition and placed 2nd. This qualified us for a place at the international competition in Orlando, Florida. We are really looking forward to going. In addition to building our ROV, we made a poster about our ROV, we wrote a technical report, and we have prepared an engineering presentation to give to a panel of judges.

Alex is 13. He’s on the AMNO & CO ROV team with 13-year-old Nicholas Orndorff and 15-year-old Clara Orndorff. Read on for their full report, and a photo of their ROV:

Recently the AMNO & CO ROV Team qualified to compete in the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center’s International ROV Competition for students. The team members are Alex Miller (7th grade), Nicholas Orndorff (7th grade), and Clara Orndorff (9th grade). A Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV, is a tethered robot used to complete tasks in underwater environments.

AMNO & CO was the second place winner in the Pacific Northwest Regional, which was held on May 12th. AMNO & CO accomplished this using an ROV they designed and built over the past year. At the International ROV Competition, which will be held June 21-23 in Orlando, Florida, AMNO & CO will compete against over thirty of the top teams from MATE’s 21 regional competitions around the world, including the US, the UK, China, Egypt, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Each year, the MATE ROV competition encourages students to learn and apply science, technology, engineering, and math skills to the competition tasks that simulate real-world problems from the ocean workplace. This year, the contest focuses on the role that ROVs play in assessing World War II shipwrecks and the potentially hazardous fuel oil that they may still contain.

During World War II, oil was one of the most important resources, allowing ships and soldiers to travel across the world’s oceans. Because of this, oil tankers were key targets. Many tankers now lie at the bottom of the world’s oceans. It has been almost seventy years for most of sunken ships and as a result, many have decayed. The oil that they may still contain could at any point in time be released to create an enormous environmental disaster. Of over 8,500 oil-bearing shipwrecks, more than 6,300 are from the World War II era. The wrecks of tankers can be found in the world’s oceans, seas, and even the world’s lakes.

Teams will participate in mission tasks, piloting their ROV to assess the condition of a simulated shipwreck and determine if oil is still on board. The teams will then attempt to remove this oil from the wreck to prevent environmental disasters. In addition, they must prepare a technical report describing their ROV, make a presentation to a panel of judges, and create a poster display.

This is the third year that AMNO & CO has participated in the Pacific Northwest Regional ROV Contest, and the first year they will be attending the MATE International ROV Competition.

The AMNO & CO ROV team is supported by local sponsors including West Marine, Global Diving, and Harris Electric. The team practiced at the Shoreline Pool and fundraised over the summer near Alki Beach. Their fundraising covered a large portion of the cost of their ROV.

For more information about the AMNO & CO ROV team, please contact them at amnoandco@live.com. For more information about the MATE ROV competition, visit www.materover.org or contact Caroline Brown at (401) 338-8980 or caroline@carolinebrown.com.

Wishing the team and their ROV the best of luck at the competition!

3 Replies to "West Seattle teens' underwater robot diving into international competition"

  • AEP June 15, 2012 (5:33 pm)

    How cool is this? Congratulations, enjoy your trip to Florida, and keep on innovating.

  • Madison Parent June 15, 2012 (6:27 pm)

    I agee this sounds so cool, congrats and enjoy your trip to Florida. You will remember this for the rest of your life.

  • Rosalie June 15, 2012 (9:44 pm)

    Way to go, team. Your enthusiasm, and creativity, are always inspiring to young and old alike. All the best in Florida.

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