MATE ROV competition

IMGP9581  We went to an International remote operated vehicle (ROV) competition at the aquatic center in Federal Way, about 1.5 hours from us. The program looked awesome and the prospect of meeting students from other countries was more than we could resist. So off we went at 7:30am after just getting home from camping the day before, and playing football Fri evening! I was TIRED! But I am so glad we went. IMGP9582  Egyptian team setting up. IMGP9584  Less complex projects in the swim area (Ranger program), more complex in the dive tank (Explorer program). IMGP9585  The teams set up a company, give it a name, have a CEO, a CFO and 4 department heads in charge of engineering, technology, communications and one other function. They create a 50 page project report, a poster display and do an engineering presentation. All three of these are judged and awared points. They also complete 2 missions and are awarded points for successful completion of tasks. Finally, they have a safety check for which they receive points. The high scorer wins!
IMGP9586  Here are samples of the Moscow team's setup. IMGP9587  Engineering report. IMGP9588  Setting up the robot. IMGP9589  People in orange shirts work for MATE - Marine Advanced Technology Education. Each year has a different theme. This year it was ocean observing systems - collecting data on oceans from nodes on the sea floor.
IMGP9594  This is the Jesuit Robotics team setting up. We got to talk to the guys for a while before their turn. IMGP9595  They each had a role to play and they knew it well. This is the B team, the A team got to do Mission 1, so the B team is doing Mission 2. This way everyone gets to play a part in the program. IMGP9596  Putting the robot in the water. IMGP9600  The man way across the pool in the orange shirt, the shorter man, is Marty Klein who was commissioned by Jacques Cousteau to do the sonar system development. See this:
IMGP9601  A community college team. Going to visit the teams after the competition is a really good idea - they are less stressed, and quite willing to pull the robot apart and let you touch it to learn about the systems. It was really cool. These guys were nice and did theirs on a shoestring - like $2500. IMGP9602  The Saudi Arabian team - talked to them for a while. Nice people. IMGP9603  The guys were pretty beat from days of travel and competition but were really nice. They are university students and plan to go into research. They enjoyed their travel here. They also enjoyed watching Sam solve his 5x5 cube. IMGP9604  Nice guy giving it a go!
IMGP9605  The NASA-funded team from Arizona State Univ (whose robot had some unfortunate psychological troubles - it was hearing commands that were not being given to it by the driver - some kind of interference). Poor guys - I tried to cheer them up a bit - they certainly had a good story to tell about the weird issue their bot had! They are holding a panda given to them by the Chinese team, in orange. IMGP9606  The two teams together. IMGP9607  Each team had a different way to "grab" things. I appreciated seeing each different approach. IMGP9608  Ah - a good use for the grabber!
IMGP9609  All having fun after the event. IMGP9610 IMGP9611  IEEE had a big presence here providing information on careers and scholarships. IMGP9612  This Oceaneering pilot training device was really interesting. You could learn about how the pilots of real ROVs are trained to operate the ROV. Oceaneering has 73 ROVs in the Gulf of Mexico right now on oil rigs running all kids of operations - plugging things in, taking things out, setting switches, grabbing cables, etc.
IMGP9613  I gave it a go, too. IMGP9616  One of the ROV pilots giving it a try. The job is a good one for those not interested in high school and willing to live on a rig for 21 days at a time. After about 5-6 years of work, they can move up into a supervisory position and earn 6 figures. IMGP9617  The Venezuelan team - we heard their poor robot got picked apart for parts on its way here, so they had to do immediate repairs. Poor guys. Another team said that security at their airport (I think Egypt) thought it was a bomb so all the wires were snipped. Logistics is a huge issue for the international teams. I think I'd be looking at shipping it some way other than a plane! IMGP9618  He says he has video of his ROV on YouTube, so we will have to look it up.
IMGP9599  Watching their mission on the live feed.