Underwater Robots for STEM Outreach

seafox1I have always enjoyed STEM outreach, be it talking about the UAV research I have been involved with at the Ladies Luncheon Club (average age of ~65) or showing how you can use node.js to control a Parrot AR drone to a group of hormonal teenagers.

Besides an interest in flying things I have always had a weak spot for maritime vehicles, particularly submarines. (For some reason land vehicles never really interested me). Triggered by the OpenROV kickstarter and, more recently, by listening to The Engineering Commons episode on Underwater Robots with Bill Porter, I have been looking for opportunities to learn more about them or even build them. As my own spare time has pretty much disappeared for various reasons, doing this as part of my STEM Ambassador work seemed a great idea.

The Sea Perch program is a popular STEM program in the US where students collaborate to build ROVs and compete against other schools. There is also MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) and the Foundation arm of AUVSI, each providing resources support and run a number of ROV competitions.

downloadIn the UK there are of course companies such as SeeByte and Atlantis Marine but I did not find any similar coordinated effort on the STEM front. Two relevant tweeps I did find were Martin Evans and Paul Foster. If you know anything or anybody else please let me know.

I am currently talking to a local school to do something in this area and it looks like we will start with building the basic SeaPearch. As its well documented and, at first glance, relatively easy and low cost to put together it seems like a natural place to start. We can then work our way up to more complex and capable ROVs such as an OpenROV or those as discussed in HomeBuiltROVs.org or the Underwater Robotics Textbook.

If this sounds interesting and you read this far, how about getting in touch and sharing your thoughts and experiences.

–Dirk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s