On Saturday, April 30th, teams from Ohio and Michigan put their underwater robots to the test at the first ever MATE ROV Buckeye Regional, held at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. The PAST Innovation Lab was proud to organize this competition and partner with MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education), which is a national partnership of organizations dedicated to create interest in and improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and to provide the marine technical workforce with well-educated professionals. There are 26 MATE ROV (remotely operated vehicles) Regional Competitions in the world, and winners from these competitions earn the right to compete in the international event at NASA’s Johnson Space Center – Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas.
Teams have to build their own ROVs and then “fly” them through a series of underwater obstacles. These obstacles are based on a theme related to the international competition. Since this year’s international competition will be hosted by NASA, the obstacles were designed with the thematic challenge: From the Gulf of Mexico to Jupiter’s Moon Europa: ROVs Exploring Inner and Outer Space. Teams had to analyze simulations of oil spills and coral reef stability in the Gulf of Mexico, and to simulate connecting sensory probes between satellites, taking thermal vent readings, and measuring ice depths in search of extraterrestrial life on the Jupiter’s Europa. Added to these underwater robotic demonstrations, teams have to display effective communication skills by adopting the persona of a company and convince judges – acting as NASA officials – why their ROV is the best for the mission through marketing displays and product presentations.
Winners for the first MATE ROV Buckeye Regional were by category:
AquaCards, Inc. will be representing the Buckeye Regional in Houston. Team members are Riyon Affara (12th grade), Giovanni Sanchez (12th grade), Marco Lopez, (11th grade), Luis Plaza (12th grade) and Apolonio Cazares (12th grade). The program advisor and instructor at Melvindale High School is Randy Thomas who has been running underwater robotic programs for more than 15 years in Melvindale, just outside of Detroit.
The PAST Innovation Lab is grateful for all of the partners, judges, and volunteers who made the Buckeye Regional possible, in particular, NOAA’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program and The Ohio State University. Before this year, teams from Ohio and around the region had to travel to Chicago, Alpena, MI, or Philadelphia to compete. The PAST Innovation Lab is excited about the future for this competition and bringing marine engineering and robotics to the region.
To learn more about how you school can be part of the 2017 MATE ROV Buckeye Regional contact us!