MATE 2008 International Student ROV Competition - 07.17.2008

MATE ROV competition
At University of California San Diego's (UCSD) Canyonview Aquatic Center, teams of students gathered around poolside workstations. Some intently studied images on computer monitors; others carefully fed a tether cable into the pool. The students measured water temperatures in hydrothermal vents, collected lava samples, and captured crabs - all simulated by elaborate props - with underwater robots that they designed and built.

More than fifty student teams, comprising over 650 students from five countries, including the U.S., Canada, China (Hong Kong), Scotland and Russia, participated in the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center's International Student ROV Competition, held June 26-28 at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at University of California San Diego (UCSD).

In addition to the pool missions, the teams were required to submit and present an engineering report and prepare a poster presentation to volunteer judges who are professional technologists and engineers in marine-related industries. At competition's end, three teams in each of two classes, Explorer and Ranger, rose above the rest. (Explorer class ROVs operate at higher power levels.)

Eastern Edge Robotics, of the Marine Institute and Faculty of Memorial University, won overall first place in the Explorer class, and also captured the top awards for technical report and engineering evaluation. Based in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, the team previously won the Explorer class competition in 2005 and 2006.

MATE ROV competition
Second place went to Long Beach City College of Long Beach, California, with third place going to California Academy of Math and Science in Carson. The two California teams also tied for best poster presentation.

In the Ranger class, New York City Home Educators Alliance took overall first place, along with best technical report and best team spirit award. They tied for top poster presentation.

Edgewater High School of Orlando, Florida won second place honors, and Dalbrae Academy High School of Mabou, Nova Scotia, Canada earned third place. The Canadian team also won an award for exceptional safety practices, and member Milton Longwood received one of three Ranger class engineering MVP awards.

This year's competition was designed to present students with the types of challenges faced by scientists and engineers working in extreme ocean environments, such as hydrothermal vents. The competition was hosted by the Ridge 2000 program, an interdisciplinary research program currently housed at SIO and sponsored by the National Science foundation (NSF), designed to study the biology, chemistry, geology and geophysics of Earth's ocean ridge systems.

MATE ROV competition
The MATE ROV competition teaches science, technical, engineering, math, and critical thinking skills, in great demand in today's technical workplace. ROVs help students become aware of technical careers in which they can apply these skills, a critical step in addressing the shortage of qualified engineers and technical professionals. The ROV competition also featured the Ocean Career Expo, which provides a forum for students to speak with representatives of sponsoring organizations to learn more about career opportunities.

Sponsors of the MATE ROV competition include the Marine Technology Society (MTS) ROV Committee, NASA, NOAA, NSF, Oceaneering International, and many other businesses and organizations.

Funded by the NSF and headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California, the MATE Center is a national program that works with educators and industry to improve marine technology education and expose students to marine-related careers. Visit online for a complete list of ROV competition winners and award prizes.

For more information, contact Caroline Brown, Public Relations for the MATE Center.

Contributed by Caroline Brown

(Editor's note: the MATE Center has been partners with two COSEE Centers, COSEE California and COSEE Networked Ocean World.)

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