In a time of seemingly endless technological advancements, robotics competitions are giving high school students an early introduction to the world of engineering.
At California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS), students are getting involved in robotics on a global level. CAMS self-proclaimed “Nerd Herd” just got back from competing in Houston for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) international robotics competition. Now, the CAMS ROV team are heading to the 2018 Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) International ROV Competition.
The team, 45C Robotics, qualified after taking first place in the regional high school level competition, a sweet victory over Palos Verdes High School who’s won the last six years in a row.
“The team knew going into the competition that only one team was going to Seattle,” said Sandra James, CAMS computer science teacher. “And since the powerhouse Palos Verdes High School always wins first, they were there to have fun and see if the improvements based on their last years’ efforts would get them a higher score. Surprise, the little team [of 7 students] that took down Goliath (a 30-person team).”
Now, they will face nearly 1,200 contestants from all across the world, including Hong Kong, Scotland, Egypt, Russia, Turkey, and Bermuda.
This year’s MATE competition theme surrounds Seattle’s reputation as “Jetcity:” Aircraft Earthquakes and Energy. MATE sends the theme to teams in or around December.
“This is when the real work begins on the project,” James said. “Each year is a different theme to keep the students on their toes designing ROV’s with specific capabilities.”
During the competition, there will be challenges that include lifting debris or parts and the dangers of earthquakes. Teams will find a multitude of items on the ocean floor (stimulated in a pool) and have to calculate the energy to bring those items up safely.
“The team did their planning and designing of the components required to bring different items to the surface using cameras, claws, and a “lift” bag that was literally a bag that could be filled with air via an air tube,” James said.
The team has about a month longer to prepare and adjust their robot before the competition, which will occur from June 21 to June 24.
“When something like this happens so late and unexpectedly, the kiddos are not financially prepared,” James said. “So if anyone wants to support them they can send any donations straight to the school.”
Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/cams45c.