Student Competitions

MATE Underwater Robotics Competition Winners From Canada, Wisconsin

Teams from a university in Newfoundland and Labrador and a high school in Wisconsin were the big winners at the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Underwater Robotics Competition.

The competition, which challenges students at all levels — K-12, community college and university — to design and build remote operated vehicles (ROVs), robots, to accomplish underwater tasks, took place at the NASA Johnson Space Center's Neutral Buoyancy Lab.

The winning team in the advanced Explorer class was from Memorial University of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. A team from Ozaukee High School in Ozaukee, WI, took first place in the intermediate Ranger class.

The Memorial University team also won an award for best product demonstration in the Explorer class and a special award went to team member Rachel Seymour, who was named Most Valuable Player for her demonstration during the final presentation.

Ozaukee High School also won an award for best product demonstration in its class, as well as the "Best Bang for the Buck" award for having the vehicle with the best performance for the price.

In the Explorer class, Jesuit High School of Carmichael, CA took second place and AMNO & CO of Seattle won third place. In the Ranger class, the Highway 68 ROV Club of Salinas, CA came in second and Harrington Middle School of Mt. Laurel, NJ third.

A complete list of winners of all awards is available online.

MATE's goal is to encourage students to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, particularly in an effort to prepare them for the future workforce for ocean occupations.

Throughout the school year, teams at all grade levels worked to develop dual-purpose single-launch ROVs that can operate in the deepest oceans and harshest outer space environments. Using the NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab - the world’s largest indoor pool at 202 feet long, 102 feet wide and 40 feet deep - the teams had their ROVs conduct a number of tasks.

In the ocean-themed missions, students used their ROVs to turn a decommissioned oil rig into an artificial reef and collect oil samples and coral specimens. The space-based missions challenged the teams to pilot their ROVs under the ice sheet of Jupiter’s moon Europa to collect data.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.