Oregon underwater robotics competition connects students with marine technology in the Pacific Northwest
April 23, 2018 — Oregon Sea Grant has issued a challenge to students: Design and build an underwater robot that can locate the wreckage of an airplane, deploy equipment to monitor earthquakes, and install renewable energy devices, all of which will be simulated in the Lincoln City Community Center pool on Saturday, April 28, 2018.
The Oregon Regional MATE ROV competition is an annual event that encourages students from across the state to learn and apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills as they develop underwater robots – also known as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). These underwater robots are used to complete missions based on real world issues and events.
The competition theme and missions change each year. Because the international competition will take place near Seattle, Washington, this year’s contest will highlight the role ROVs play in the Pacific Northwest, including activities that deal with archaeology, seismology and renewable energy. Through the competition scenario, students learn about the region’s seismic activity, emerging renewable energy technology, and rich aviation history.
Students also are being exposed to business practices as they are tasked with creating mock companies that work together to “manufacture, market and sell” their ROVs. This simulated company approach promotes entrepreneurship and leadership skills as students manage a project and budget, brainstorm ideas and engage in problem solving, prepare reports and marketing materials, and deliver presentations, all necessary skills for future careers.
The forty student teams participating in this year’s competition are from:
- Curry County 4-H STEM from Port Orford, Brookings & Gold Beach, OR
- Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, OR
- Siuslaw Middle School from Florence, OR
- Toledo Elementary from Toledo, OR
- Newport Middle School from Newport, OR
- Newport High School from Newport, OR
- Taft Jr./Sr. High School in Lincoln City, OR
- Tillamook Jr. High School in Tillamook, OR
- Tillamook High School in Tillamook, OR
- Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton, OR
- Warrenton Middle School in Warrenton, OR
- Valor Christian School International in Beaverton, OR
- Oregon Islamic Academy in Tigard, OR
- Tigard High School in Tigard, OR
- Wasco County 4-H in The Dalles, OR
- Wallace and Priscilla Stevenson Intermediate School in White Salmon, OR
- Knights STEM Association in Ridgefield, WA
The Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition is supported by Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, Oregon State University, the MATE Center, the Marine Technology Society, and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Each year, approximately 50 volunteers serve as divers, scorekeepers, and judges for the competition, evaluating the students’ ROVs, poster displays and engineering presentations. Volunteers for this year’s competition work as engineers and researchers at the Sexton, Corp.; Garmin; Oregon State University; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Oregon Sea Grant; and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition is one of 31 regional contests held around the world that are supported by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center. Those upper level teams that qualify will advance to the MATE International ROV Competition, which will be held June 21-23, 2018 at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington.
The public is invited to attend the regional competition and cheer for their local teams. The Oregon competition will be held from 8 am to 5 pm on April 28, 2018 at the Lincoln City Community Center at 2150 NE Oar Place, in Lincoln City. For more information, contact Tracy Crews, Regional Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch a video of last year’s competition: