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Everybody! “Into the pool!!!!”

Underwater ROVs
Courtesy photo

Students Gear Up for Underwater Robotics Competition

LINCOLN CITY- On Saturday, April 29th more than 35 student teams from across Oregon will converge in Lincoln City to compete for top honors in an underwater robotics competition focusing on the use of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to maintain the environmental health and safety of our port cities.

Coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant, this annual event 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 ROVs, to complete missions simulating real world problems. The Oregon Regional MATE ROV competition is one of 30 regional contests held around the world that are supported by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center, located in Monterey, California. Top qualifying teams from Oregon earn the opportunity to compete in the International MATE ROV Competition, which will be held June 23-25, 2017 in Long Beach, California.

This year’s competition highlights the role of ROVs in securing the health and safety of today’s seaports. It also encourages students to think about how this technology can help lay the groundwork for “port cities of the future.” Like port managers, the students will operate their ROVs to tackle tasks such as finding cargo containers that fell overboard, constructing an underwater tunnel, and cleaning up contaminated sediment. Instead of piloting their ROVs in actual port conditions, students will attempt related missions in the Lincoln City Community Pool. In addition to their ROV missions, student teams must also create a poster or marketing display, and conduct an engineering presentation for a team of marine researchers and engineers.

Through the MATE competition, students are tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs, and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their ROVs. This promotes entrepreneurship and leadership skills. Students also gain project management and communication skills as they work as a team, brainstorm solutions, manage a budget, and deliver presentations, skills transferable to future careers.

Elementary, middle school, high school, and college students from the following schools/programs are participating in this year’s Oregon competition:
Bandon High School
Eddyville Charter School
Life Christian School (Aloha)
Newport High School
North Bend High School
Siuslaw Elementary (Florence)
Siuslaw Middle School (Florence)
Taft Jr/Sr high School (Lincoln City)
Tigard High School
Tillamook High School
Toledo Elementary
Toledo Jr/Sr High School
Valor Christian School (Beaverton)
Waldport High School
Waldport Middle School
Warrenton Grade School
Warrenton High School
Wasco County 4-H
Clatsop Community College
Linn-Benton Community College

In addition to the MATE Center, the Oregon Regional Competition is supported by several local sponsors, including Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, the Oregon Chapter of the Marine Technology Society (MTS), Georgia-Pacific, and the Cascade Chapter of the Autonomous Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI). Local marine technology professionals, engineers, and scientists from Oregon State University (OSU), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) volunteer as judges for the competition, evaluating the students’ ROVs, poster displays, and engineering presentations. Volunteer divers from the Oregon Coast Aquarium and OSU’s Scientific Dive Team also support the competition.

The public is invited to attend the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition and cheer for their local teams. The competition will be held from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on April 29, 2017 at the Lincoln City Community Center at 2150 NE Oar Place, in Lincoln City, Oregon. For more information, contact Tracy Crews at tracy.crews@oregonstate.edu.

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