Teams to Gather for Robotics Challenge

During the annual challenge, this year on March 25th, students will set the robotic vehicles they have built (in collaboration with their instructors) on a variety of missions. Photo by Alex Masters.

Twenty-eight teams from 10 Bermuda schools and educational organizations, including two new teams from Bermuda College, will converge on the National Sports Centre on March 25 for the 2018 Marine Advanced Technology in Education (MATE) Bermuda Regional Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Challenge. The program, hosted by BIOS, is part of the Mid-Atlantic Robotics IN Education (MARINE) program, with lead donor support from HSBC.

Globally, HSBC focuses on supporting educational initiatives that promote learning about the natural environment. In Bermuda, HSBC has partnered with BIOS for the past four years in support of MARINE and the ROV Challenge, which teaches young people about the world's oceans and the importance of preserving them.

During the challenge, students will set the robotic vehicles they have built in collaboration with instructors on a variety of missions centered around this year’s theme of “Jet City: Aircraft, Earthquakes, and Energy.” Multiple courses will be set up in the pool, each with pre-determined tasks for the ROVs, and their student pilots, to complete within an allotted time. Students compete at a variety of levels of difficulty, as designated by MATE: Beginner, Scout (Intermediate), and Ranger (Advanced Intermediate). 

The robotics challenge, held in the National Sports Centre pool, reflects BIOS’s commitment to using underwater vehicles to understand complex ocean processes.

This year, students on the beginner teams are asked to build vehicles capable of maneuvering a net to collect plankton in a mock-up of the Sargasso Sea. They will collect and return plankton to the surface, identify the plankton, and collect a sediment core from the bottom of the “ocean” to identify microfossils.

Scout students will be tasked with locating the simulated wreckage of an airplane and returning its engine to the surface, as well as installing or recovering seismometers and turbines. Students will also earn points from judges based on a marketing poster and team interviews about their ROV.

The challenge reflects BIOS’s commitment to using underwater vehicles to understand complex ocean processes, said director of BIOS's Ocean Academy Kaitlin Noyes, who coordinates the program. Building ROVs fosters critical thinking skills, enhances individual and group problem solving skills, and boosts technological fluency. It also supports education goals associated with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, known as the STEM fields. 

Special thanks to the Orange Bay Company for sponsoring a pizza lunch for all participants, mentors, and event volunteers.

The event on Sunday, March 25, begins at 9:00am and is free and open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held on Saturday, April 21. For more information, contact Kaitlin Noyes via kaitlin.noyes@bios.edu