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New video shows how underwater robotics contest prepares kids for technical jobs

Posted by: | July 25, 2017 Comments Off on New video shows how underwater robotics contest prepares kids for technical jobs |

July 25, 2017

A new video shows how Oregon students are preparing for technical careers by building underwater robots for an annual competition in which they demonstrate their skills in front of engineers and scientists.

Contestants in MATE ROV competition learn engineering and problem solving skills. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

The video, which was produced by Oregon State University with funding from Oregon Sea Grant, was filmed during the 2017 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition, which Oregon Sea Grant coordinates. It is one of about 30 regional contests around the world in which students qualify for an annual international competition.

Contestants operate their underwater devices remotely, and sometimes with a video monitor. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

“Our goal is to really get students interested in science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — and connect them with marine technicians and engineers and marine scientists that utilize remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs,” Tracy Crews, the manager of Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program, said in the video.

Contestants often have to troubleshoot in real time. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

Thirty-one teams from Oregon participated in this year’s competition, which was held in April at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. More than 200 students from elementary school through college demonstrated devices they built.

“For students who struggle with conventional school, it’s a chance for them to really shine,” Melissa Steinman, a teacher at Waldport High School, said in the video.

A new theme is chosen each year. This year’s theme highlighted the role of remotely operated vehicles in monitoring the environment and supporting industries in port cities. Like port managers and marine researchers, the students guided their robots through tasks that simulated identifying cargo containers that fell overboard, repairing equipment, and taking samples of hypothetically contaminated sediment and shellfish. Students also presented marketing materials they created and gave engineering presentations.

“A couple of teams, they just nailed it,” Ken Sexton, one of the judges and owner of The Sexton Corp., said in the video.

Students were also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their robots. The students gained project management and communication skills as they managed a budget, worked as a team, brainstormed solutions and delivered presentations.

“Some of my team members are really, really good at programming, now,” Natalie DeWitt, a senior at Newport High School, said in the video. “And we have one kid who is really good at using CAD software design, now. And they actually had internships over the summer … those experiences we had in robotics gave us qualifications for jobs that we wouldn’t have had before.”

“It’s really good problem-solving, teamwork, just everything all together. It really helps … you have better skills for the future,” said Kyle Brown, a junior at Bandon High School.

Photos from the 2017 contest in Oregon are on Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page at c.kr/s/aHskYZdMiF

Volunteer scuba divers helped out at Oregon’s 6th annual Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

under: engineering, environment, events, kids, marine education, marine science, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science education, technology, videos
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A parasitic isopod known as Orthione griffenis is decimating mud shrimp populations in coastal estuaries ranging from British Columbia to northern California. Most surviving mud shrimp populations are heavily infested with the parasite, threatening their existence.

“From Bamfield, Canada, down to Morro Bay, California, the native mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis, are either gone or the populations are severely depressed,” said John Chapman, an Oregon State University invasive species specialist who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Mud shrimp are valuable prey for birds, fish and other animals in estuaries, and some ecologists believe they have provided a steady food source for ocean-bound juvenile coho and Chinook. Mud shrimp are also important to the ecology of estuaries: each day during their feeding, they may filter as much as 80 percent of the estuary’s intertidal water.

Studying the shrimp, which can burrow to depths of two meters, involves extracting them with quantitative sampling devices. These devices traditionally have been either handheld cores and shovels, which can damage the shrimp beds, or a “yabby” pump, which sucks up only medium-sized and large shrimp and is not quantitative. Neither method is reliable for quantifying the most important reproductive sizes, and both often damage shrimp in the process of collecting them.

The solution? Create a new device that’s not only long enough to reach the deepest shrimp, but gentle enough to bring them to the surface unharmed — and also simple enough to allow for rapid, inexpensive sampling by just a few researchers.

Engineering student Cade Burch demonstrates the "portable deep core."

Engineering student Cade Burch demonstrates his team’s “portable deep core.” (Photo by Rick Cooper)

To develop the device — a “portable deep core” — Chapman enlisted the assistance of OSU Engineering professors John Parmigiani and Sharon LaRoux, who would oversee the student design teams* and participate in the field testing and implementation. Chapman and Parmigiani also secured $9,000 in funding from Oregon Sea Grant, to help defray materials costs and other expenses.

Between January and May 2017, three student teams, each working on a different design, researched, planned, designed, built and tested the components of their respective devices, and on May 19 they unveiled the working prototypes at OSU’s Undergraduate Engineering Expo. “Each of the three designs will be evaluated and combined over the summer by a graduate student into a single, final prototype,” said Parmigiani.

According to Chapman, the newly designed deep core “will, for the first time, give us access to the entire range of burrowing shrimp populations, and let us gather the information we need to help slow or reverse the mud shrimp’s decline.”

*Design teams
205a: Cade Burch, Eric Beebe, Omar Alkhaldi
205b: Patrick Finn, Jacob Garrison, Connor Churchill
205c: Zachary Gerard, Evan Leal, Derrick Purcell

Additional reporting by Mark Floyd, OSU News and Research Communications

 

 

under: ecology, engineering, environment, fisheries, grants, marine animals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, salmon, shellfish
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Newport HS students qualify for international underwater robotics contest

Posted by: | May 3, 2017 Comments Off on Newport HS students qualify for international underwater robotics contest |

Students from Newport High School have qualified for an international underwater robotics competition in California after placing first at a similar contest in Lincoln City that tested their engineering and problem-solving skills.

“The Finnovators” were one of 31 teams from Oregon that participated in the state’s 6th annual Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition on April 29 at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. More than 200 students from elementary school through college demonstrated devices they built for the competition, which aims to prepare students for technical careers.

Teams hailed from Astoria, Warrenton, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport, Toledo, Eddyville, Waldport, Florence, Bandon, Albany, Aloha, Tigard, Beaverton and The Dalles.

The competition, which was coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and sponsored by the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, was divided into four categories based on skill and grade level. Only two of the categories, Ranger and Explorer, allowed students to advance to the 16th annual international competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif., and will feature the top 60 teams from around the globe, including ones from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Russia.

“The Finnovators” were in the Ranger level, which requires students to perform all tasks without looking in the pool and instead rely only on the sensors and cameras on their robot. Although they are not required to compete in the regional competition, two Explorer-level teams from Linn-Benton Community College and Clatsop Community College demonstrated their robots. They, along with another Explorer team from Oregon State University, are working on fulfilling requirements to qualify for the international competition.

The Oregon event is one of 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Education Center.

Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s theme highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles – or ROVs – in monitoring the environment and supporting industries in port cities. Like port managers and marine researchers, the students at the Lincoln City contest guided their robots through tasks that simulated identifying cargo containers that fell overboard, repairing equipment, and taking samples of hypothetically contaminated sediment and shellfish. Students also presented marketing materials they created and gave engineering presentations.

Additional support for the event came from the MATE Center, the Marine Technology Society, the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Oregon State University, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. More than 50 volunteers from these and other organizations ran the competition and served as judges and divers.

Photos of the competition can be downloaded from Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

Read more about the event in the Newport News Times.

Winners of the Oregon competition are:
RANGER CLASS (intermediate level, 1st place finisher advances to international competition)

1st Place – The Finnovators from Newport High School in Newport

2nd Place – Knight Marine from Valor Christian School International in Beaverton

3rd Place – R.U.W.E. from Taft High School in Lincoln City

NAVIGATOR CLASS (intermediate level, participates only in regional competition)

1st Place – Laveer Enterprise from Life Christian School in Aloha

2nd Place – EROV from Taft High School in Lincoln City

3rd Place – ROV Sharks from Wasco County 4-H in The Dalles

SCOUT CLASS (novice level, participates only in regional competition)

1st Place – Valor Tech from Valor Christian School International in Beaverton

2nd Place – Jet Sky from Siuslaw High School in Florence

3rd Place – Water Warriors from Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton

ADDITIONAL AWARD

Team Spirit Award – Water Warriors from Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton

under: awards, engineering, events, kids, marine education, marine science, news, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, STEM education, technology
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Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City

Posted by: | April 21, 2017 Comments Off on Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City |

Oregon students from elementary school through community college will compete in Lincoln City on April 29 in an underwater robotics contest that tests their engineering and problem-solving skills.

The students, who hail from 20 schools largely along the coast, will be showing off devices they built for the annual Oregon Regional MATE ROV competition, which is coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and aims to prepare students for technical careers.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the swimming pool at the Lincoln City Community Center at 2150 N.E. Oar Place.

The event is one of about 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Center (MATE). Top teams from Oregon qualify to compete in the International MATE ROV Competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif.

Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s contest highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles — or ROVs — in securing the health and safety of seaports and helping lay the groundwork for “port cities of the future.” Like port managers, the students will guide their ROVs through tasks that simulate finding cargo containers that fell overboard, constructing an underwater tunnel, and cleaning up contaminated sediment. Students will also present posters or marketing displays they created and give engineering presentations.

Students are also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their ROVs. The students gain project management and communication skills as they manage a budget, work as a team, brainstorm solutions and deliver presentations, all skills transferable to other careers.

Local marine technology professionals, engineers, and scientists from Oregon State University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency volunteer as judges. Volunteer divers from the Oregon Coast Aquarium and OSU’s Scientific Dive Team also support the competition.

under: engineering, environment, events, jobs, k-12 teachers, kids, marine education, marine science, National Sea Grant Program, news, NOAA, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science communication, science education, technology
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New edition of Confluence now available

Posted by: | October 11, 2016 Comments Off on New edition of Confluence now available |

The fall/winter 2016 edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s semiannual newsletter, Confluence, is now available online. Articles you’ll find in this issue:

  • Guidelines help boaters enjoy watching whales without disturbing them;
  • University of Oregon study reveals why hypoxia hasn’t affected Coos Bay;
  • Simulator helps coastal residents prepare tsunami evacuation strategy;
  • Students get their feet wet in watershed science with StreamWebs;
  • Oregon Sea Grant helps prepare coastal kids for high-tech jobs; and
  • When human health affects environmental health.

You can download a free PDF here.

Oregon Sea Grant's semiannual newsletter

under: citizen science, climate, coastal hazards, Columbia River, Confluence, courses, classes and workshops, earthquake, ecology, engineering, environment, HMSC Visitor Center, k-12 teachers, kids, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, people, public communication, publications, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, social science, STEM education, tsunami, whales
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MATE ROV competition in North Bend this weekend

Posted by: | April 28, 2016 Comments Off on MATE ROV competition in North Bend this weekend |

NORTH BEND – Forty-three teams of elementary, middle school, high school and college students from across Oregon descend on the North Bend Community Pool and North Bend High Schoolthis Saturday, April 30, to try out their hand-built underwater robots in the Oregon regional section of the annual Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Remotely Operated Vehicle competition.

The event, which is open to the public, runs from 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m.

Team works on ROVThe Oregon competition is one of 24 regional contests held around the world under the coordination of the MATE Center. Top teams from upper level divisions will earn an opportunity to compete in MATE’s 15th annual international ROV competition June 23-25 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

This year’s contest highlights the role of ROVs in scientific research and exploration in the deep ocean and outer space. Students will pilot their RVs through missions designed to meet NASA-identified needs. Among other things, teams are challenged to build a robot that can survive transport to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, and operate in the ocean beneath the moon’s ice sheet to collect data and deploy instrumentation. Teams must also create a poster and be interviewed by engineering judges.

The competition promotes entrepreneurship and leadership skills by requiring students to organize their teams into a company, with each student taking on a specific roll as they design, manufacture and market their student-built robots. They must manage a project and budget, brainstorm innovative solutions and work as a team – all important workforce skills.

The Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition is supported by numerous partners and more than 50 volunteers who serve as divers, judges and support staff. This year’s competition is sponsored by the Oregon Coast Stem Hub.

Learn more:

 

 

under: engineering, events, k-12 teachers, kids, marine education, STEM education

Renewable energy challenge brings kids to Hatfield Center

Posted by: | April 15, 2016 Comments Off on Renewable energy challenge brings kids to Hatfield Center |
2015 Renewable Energy ChallengeNEWPORT – More than 200 third- through 12th-graders will demonstrate their knowledge of wind-, wave- and solar energy on April 19 in the third annual Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. The event takes place from 10 am to 2 pm.
Students from Warrenton, Seaside, Tillamook, Toledo and Waldport will bring their student built renewable energy devices to compete for top honors at this year’s competition. In addition to testing their devices in wave tanks, solar tracks and in a wind tunnel, teams will interact with a panel of engineering judges who will further rate teams on knowledge and design innovation.
Students will also have the opportunity to hear about current research on potential impacts of offshore wind energy devices, and participate in HMSC’s Sustainability Quest, an educational clue-directed hunt.
This year’s Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge is made possible by support from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, Georgia-Pacific Foundation, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. Teams with top wind energy devices will be invited to participate in the National KidWind Challenge  in New Orleans at the end of May.

 

under: engineering, HMSC Visitor Center, kids, marine education, STEM education

Videos of Critical Issues in Adapting to Climate Change

Posted by: | January 27, 2015 Comments Off on Videos of Critical Issues in Adapting to Climate Change |

Crashing waves

A set of three short videos highlights some critical issues related to climate change at the Oregon coast. Those issues are flagged by the video titles:

How Soon Do We Have to Think Differently?

. . . How Should We Adapt?

. .  and the overarching goal of having Community Resilience.

The videos, intended primarily for those involved in or concerned about the issues that adapting to climate change presents for coastal areas, were produced by Oregon Sea Grant with the cooperation of a range of climate researchers and coastal professionals who are interviewed on camera. The themes of the videos emerged from surveys, interviews, and workshops conducted by Sea Grant and partners in the last few years.

Coastal professionals in other states, as well as in Oregon, may find the perspectives and insights of these videos useful or provocative.

In addition to the high definition versions on Vimeo.com linked above, the same videos are on YouTube, where closed captioning is available:

 How Soon Do We Have to Think Differently?

How Should We Adapt?

Community Resilience  (Neskowin, Oregon, is the focus.)

NB: The URL for the last video above has been corrected (1/28/15)

 

 

under: climate, climate adaptation, coastal hazards, engineering, environment, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science communication, videos

Confluence: Oregon communities respond to climate change

Posted by: | September 3, 2014 Comments Off on Confluence: Oregon communities respond to climate change |
Confluence cover

Cover by artist Earl Newman

Climate change: Some people feel overwhelmed by it, others argue about it. Oregon Sea Grant researchers, Extension specialists and communicators, meanwhile are working to better understand what a changing climate is already doing to the ocean and coast – and helping coastal communities better prepare themselves for higher and more damaging waves, stronger storms, rising sea level and other anticipated changes.

The latest issue of OSG’s Confluence magazine examines some of the issues coastal Oregon faces, and ways in which Sea Grant is helping citizens and scientists address them, from anticipating the effects of climate change to building resilience in the face of them – and better understanding how people with different backgrounds and philosophies can even communicate about the topic.

Other articles in this issue include

  • Profiles of several Oregon Sea Grant Scholars, and how their student experiences in Sea Grant internships and fellowships helped prepare them for careers in marine science and public policy
  • A new app that helps coastal visitors identify critters they find on the beach – and contribute to citizen science by reporting them.
  • A study of how juvenile Dungeness crab move through coastal waters as they mature, and an exhibit at the Hatfield Marine Science Center that explains what scientists are learning, and how it might benefit the crab fishery.

Learn more

under: climate, coastal hazards, Confluence, crab, engineering, environment, fellowships, fisheries, HMSC Visitor Center, marine policy, marine science, ocean literacy, outreach and engagement, publications, research, scholarships, science communication, social science

ROV teams compete for regional honors

Posted by: | May 1, 2014 Comments Off on ROV teams compete for regional honors |

Taft High School ROV team  launches Ocean's Hope at 2013 competitionLINCOLN CITY – —More than 150 elementary, middle school, high school and college students in 27 teams bring their underwater robots to the Lincoln City Community Center on May 10 to compete in the annual Oregon Regional MATE Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) contest. The event is free and open to the public.

The teams, which have spent the past few months designing and building the underwater vehicles, join students around the world participating in 23 regional contests supported by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center. Qualifying participants will earn the chance to advance to MATE’s International ROV Competition June 26 – 28, at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Michigan.

Coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition encourages students from Astoria to Bandon and Bend to The Dalles, to develop and apply science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills as they work collaboratively to create working ROVs—tethered underwater robots used in ocean exploration, scientific research, and marine technology industries—to complete missions that simulate real-world tasks.

This year’s competition is thematically organized around the role of ROVs in exploring and documenting shipwrecks and conserving national maritime heritage sites such as the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, where more than 50 shipwrecks are submerged. The competition helps students understand how chemical, biological and physical conditions can affect such archaeological sites.

Competing teams participating will perform a variety of underwater mission tasks, piloting their ROVs to identify a simulated shipwreck, collect microbial samples, inventory invasive species and remove debris. Students are challenged to think like entrepreneurs and form companies that develop creative solutions for engineering and constructing an ROV to document and explore a newly discovered wreck site. During the process, the students develop the teamwork, creative thinking and problem solving skills that make them competitive in today’s global workplace. The project requires them to solve problems in new and innovative ways, work as part of a team and understand all aspects of business operations—important 21st century skills.

Teams from the following schools and organizations are participating in the competition: Bandon High School, Cheldelin Middle School (Corvallis), Clatsop Community College (Astoria), Eddyville Charter School, Life Christian School (Aloha), Linn-Benton Community College (Albany), Meek Pro Tech High School (Portland), Oregon State University (Corvallis), Summit High School (Bend),,Taft 7-12 (Lincoln City), Tahola Middle School (Tahola, WA), The Dalles High School, Toledo Elementary, Toledo Jr/Sr High School, Waldport High School and Wasco County 4-H.

The Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition is supported by many sponsors, including Oregon State University, the Oregon Coast Regional STEM Center, Lincoln County School District, the Marine Technology Society-Oregon Chapter, the Siletz Charitable Contribution Fund, the Cascade Chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and Tanger Outlet Mall. Local marine technology professionals and engineers volunteer as judges for the competition, evaluating the students’ ROVs, poster displays, and engineering presentations. Numerous other volunteers donate their time each year, serving as divers and support staff for the competition, making it a community-wide effort.

For more information,  contact Tracy Crews at OregonCoastSTEM@oregonstate.edu.

Learn more:

under: engineering, events, HMSC Visitor Center, kids, marine education, STEM education

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