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Friday Harbor ROV teams net top ten finish at state competition
By Michael Barsamian/special to the Journal
On Saturday, May 12, the Friday Harbor High School ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) Team and the Friday Harbor Middle School ROV Team embarked on a trek down south, to Federal Way, for the 2012 Pacific Northwest MATE ROV Competition.
Both teams had spent multiple hours on almost every Sunday for the past six months working on these incredible contraptions, making them able to perform complex tasks, such as surveying a shipwreck site, removing fuel oil from the shipwreck, and many miniscule but difficult tasks in between.
To be able to construct a robot capable of optimal performance, the students participating on the ROV teams had to construct appendages of all different shapes, sizes, and capabilities. This forced them to channel their inner engineers to figure out how to solve these complex problems.
Each team had to make a poster for display, give a presentation of their poster and ROV, and participate in two 15-minute underwater runs. This was the middle school team’s first year actually competing, due to a snafu in the paperwork department the previous year, preventing them from even traveling to the competition. But they exceeded all expectations and more, earning a very high underwater run score.
The high school team’s underwater runs didn’t go as well as they had planned, but it was still an improvement from the previous year’s score.
Both teams had crafted very good quality posters, showcasing all of their work, and explaining the teams’ stances on how to deal with shipwrecks, which was the theme of the 2012 competition. Both teams were able to utilize the massive amount of communications points to propel themselves up towards the front of the pack, score-wise.
In the end, the middle school team earned 4th place out of 21 teams, but ended up a mere 7.5 points from 2nd place, which was absolutely incredible for it being their first year. The team also earned the Team Spirit award. Imagine what they’ll do next year.
The high school team, who had received 3rd place the previous year, earned 6th place this year. This closely correlates with last year’s score, because in this year’s competition, they doubled the amount of teams able to register in the high school division, making it more difficult to place high. The team knows exactly what it wants to work on to optimize the ROV’s performance for next year’s competition, for higher placement.
This competition has been very rewarding in the fact that it has provided a unique outlet for all of our team’s participants to hone their engineering and scientific skills and to also find out what their future passion may be, be it through the construction of the ROV, the designing of appendages, or the communications requirements.
Both teams would like to thank their mentors, Nick Frazee and Jenny Wilson, for all of the time and effort they put into helping out with every minute detail in this competition. They would also like to thank the Public Schools Foundation and the Friday Harbor UW Labs for providing the teams with funding, resources, and a place to work.
Also, the team would like to thank additional mentors, such as Mike Stepita and Bob Tauscher, for donating their time to helping out with the competition.
The high school team would finally like to thank Derek Smith for his extremely helpful scientific expertise in the field of exploring and dealing with shipwrecks.