Members of Eagle Environmental, E.A Butler All Grade’s robotic club, had the chance to show off their underwater robotics skills recently at the 11th annual MATE ROV competition in St. John’s.
The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Centre, based out of California, co-ordinates the underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) competition through a network of 21 regional contests that take place across U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, Scotland, and Japan.
Student teams from elementary, middle and high schools, home schools, community colleges, universities, and community organizations participate in one of three different classes that vary depending on the sophistication of the ROVs and the mission requirements.
In addition to technical skills, the events help students to develop the ability to problem solve, think critically, and work as part of a team. By connecting students with employers and professionals from the workplace, the competitions also expose students to ocean-related career opportunities and
help them to see the pathways to those careers.
This year’s event focused on the recovery of Second World War shipwrecks. Students were expected to measure mock shipwrecks, remove endangered coral, retrieve oil samples, and identify metal and non-metal debris.
Eagle Environmental’s ROV was specially built to retrieve oil samples using a windshield washer pump and an IV bag. They also had a specialized arm that was created from pliers and an actuator. Their overall vessel was built from plastic piping in order to glide through the water.
This was the first time Eagle Environmental participated in the ranger category. They received the Halibut Award for “keeping their eye on the prize,” which highlights their commitment and determination to the tasks.
The local team members feel that they now have their ROV perfected and are already preparing for next year’s competition.
Eagle Environmental would like to thank all of the sponsors that made it possible for them to attend the competition, especially local community sponsors such as Three Rivers Lions Club, Heatherton/ Highlands Festival Committee, College of the North Atlantic, and all of the parents, students and community members who participated in their various fundraising activities.