Robots on the Rise

The Bermuda College team "Deep Divers Inc." runs their underwater robot through one of the three challenges in this year's Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Bermuda Regional Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Challenge. The team would go on to win an award for "Best Overall Product Interviews" in the Scout/Ranger category.

In Bermuda, students of all ages—primary school through college—have a unique opportunity to develop and demonstrate a range of skills, from math to group problem solving, by participating in the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Bermuda Regional Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Challenge. The annual event, held this year in late March and hosted by BIOS with lead donor support from HSBC Bank Bermuda Limited (HSBC), is part of BIOS’s Mid-Atlantic Robotics IN Education (MARINE) program.

Teams use special viewing lenses to help them see below the surface and navigate their robots as they attempt to complete various tasks based on real-world needs and challenges. In this task, teams were asked to use their ROVs to "install" a monitoring package by placing the yellow "x" within the green square, and to pick up "seagrass" specimens (seen in green square) for restoration activities.

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

“It is encouraging to see the growth of participation in the competition over the years, particularly the knowledge-base among our young participants on important issues such as sustainability and climate change,” said Jane Estey, Head of Financial Crime Compliance Transformation for HSBC, and HSBC spokesperson for the BIOS partnership. “Programs such as these help promote ocean conservation, protecting the quality of our marine and ocean life for future generations.”

Each year, MATE develops a new theme for the robotics competition based on potential real-world situations. This year’s theme, “Jet City: Aircraft, Earthquakes, and Energy,” challenged teams to develop ROVs capable of locating airplane wreckage, recovering wreckage debris, and installing a variety of underwater scientific equipment (all challenges were simulations placed in a pool at the National Sports Centre).

“This competition really motivated me to do better and work harder,” said Matthew Ivo, a senior student at CedarBridge Academy and member of team ROVnology. “I learned a lot, from correct ways to wire motors and switches to communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills.”

In addition to the design, construction, and operation of an ROV, teams were also required to prepare technical reports and poster displays, as well as give engineering presentations and interviews to a panel of judges, many of who are working professionals in STEM fields.

Rheneka Bean, laboratory technician at The Berkeley Institute, was a first-time judge at this year’s event. “My mind was blown the whole day,” she said. “The students had incredible understanding of their robots and expressed their comprehension well with regard to robot maneuverability, structural design, and the marketing aspects for their posters.”

The pilot from Clearwater Middle School's team "KNZL Robotics" uses a display screen and a video game controller to maneuver the team's ROV underwater. The team would go on to win Second Place Overall in the Scout category.

This year’s ROV Challenge had a total of 22 teams from 8 schools in Bermuda, including Somerset Primary and Bermuda College. The 2018 winners are as follows:

BEGINNER PRIZE CATEGORIES

First Place Total Score (Primary): Somerset Primary “Bees”

First Place Total Score (Middle/Senior): Clearwater Middle School “CW Crazy Engineers”

Second Place Total Score (Middle/Senior): Saltus Grammar School “Sea Wolf”

Third Place Total Score (Middle/Senior): Clearwater Middle School “CW Pioneers”

Best Overall Marketing Poster (All Beginners): Dellwood Middle School “DMS Bottom Feeders”

Best Overall Product Interviews (All Beginners): Dellwood Middle School “DMS Sargassos”


SCOUT/RANGER PRIZE CATEGORIES

First Place Total Score Scout (Middle/Senior/College): Dellwood Middle School “Narwhals”

Second Place Total Score Scout (Middle/Senior/College): Clearwater Middle School “KNZL Robotics”

First Place Total Score Ranger (Middle): Clearwater Middle School “CW ROV Inc.”

Second Place Total Score Ranger (Middle): Warwick Academy “Smartwater”

Best Overall Marketing Poster (Middle/Senior/College): Dellwood Middle School “DMS Sea Kings”

Best Overall Product Interviews (Middle/Senior/College): Bermuda College “Deep Divers Inc.” and Warwick Academy “Water Wings”

BIOS would like to extend special thanks to La Trattoria and the Orange Bay Company for sponsoring a pizza lunch for all participants, mentors, and event volunteers.