Underwater robots in action; SeaPerch Challenge returns to Mt. Vernon Feb. 4 | Events
The University of Southern Indiana and other academic organizations, Southwestern Indiana STEM Resource Center (SwISTEM) and the USI student chapter of the Institute of Electrical Electronics Engineers (IEEE), are sponsoring the 2012 Regional SeaPerch Challenge on Saturday, February 4, at Mount Vernon Junior/Senior High School, beginning at 8 a.m.
Twenty-six high school and 42 middle school teams, extending beyond the Tri-state area, have received their SeaPerch Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) kits, courtesy of NSWC-Crane* and have begun preparations for the competition.
The natatorium at Mount Vernon Junior/Senior High School is the competition location. It will provide space for the increased number of competitors and a larger venue for parents and fans. Last year the competition was held at the USI indoor pool.
“USI and the SwISTEM Resource Center are excited to see such a large number of teams registered to compete in this event,” said Allison Grabert, Southwestern Indiana STEM interim director. “The number of teams who are participating has tripled from last year, which indicates that southwest Indiana is committed to advancing regional STEM education.”
SeaPerch teams from grades 5-12 designed and built the vehicles. Two teams who competed at the national and state levels in 2011 are in this year’s competition.
The vehicles are required to maneuver through obstacles on top of the water and underwater, participate in a SeaPerch Sprint, and perform a mock submerged vessel retrieval called the lift bag challenge.
The competitors are divided into “stock” elementary, middle school, and high school team divisions, with some high school teams choosing to compete in the “open” division. The stock division students will not modify the ROVs they received in their kits. Students in the open division will have the opportunity to make alterations.
SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that trains educators to teach their students how to build an underwater ROV in a school setting. Students build the ROV from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts, following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme.
This is the second year USI is hosting the competition. High school winners will be eligible to compete at next-level competitions with an opportunity to participate at the national SeaPerch competition to be held in Manassas, Virginia, in April.
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