(By Staff Reports/Chewelah Independent)
Jenkins students get their feet wet at Underwater Robotics Competition at Whitworth…
Chewelah students went to Whitworth University last month to test the might and the waterproofness of their robot creations as part of Jenkins Junior Senior High School robotics program, headed by Tim Slater.
Anytime students are introduced to something new, there’s going to be some natural apprehension,” Slater said. “They broke through that barrier pretty quick. Each kid on a team had a specific role, and I think that helped the overall process. Personally, I think our underwater robots are the easiest thing we’ve built since there are less moving parts and it’s a simple design with basic materials.”
The competition was held on Saturday, May 13 and had 48 kids total with Chewelah being the smallest school at the event with 16 kids. They competed against Lakeside, Mt. Spokane, Mead and Riverpoint Academy.
The robots in question were all remotely operated and completely student-built. The robots were constructed from 1/2” PVC pipe and powered by three DC motors that had to be modified by students to operate underwater. A Cat 5 cable connected the motors to the control box – which is also student built and tethers the bot as well. A twelve-volt battery powers the robot.
Teams of 3-4 competed in all three events which were all underwater.
One event called buckets and rings involved scooping up rings and dropping them in a bucket. Another was an obstacle course which required navigating through an underwater slalom course down the pool’s swimming lane. The third was Capping the Well where the pilot of the robot has to put a PVC cap on the end of a traffic cone at the bottom of the pool.
In the Capping the Well competition, the driver doesn’t stand at the edge of the pool but instead watches everything through a GoPro mounted on the ROV while watching on a computer monitor.
Riverpoint Academy took first in the competition.