Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Students dive into aquatic robot competition

TAMPA

Before the sunscreened bodies slipped into the cool water, robots roamed a pool at Adventure Island.

Six student teams from across Florida raced Saturday to make their homemade marine robots grab toy crabs, take temperature readings and pull small rocks off a pipe placed at the bottom of a 10-foot pool.

The winner will compete in international competition in San Diego.

The two local teams — King High School and Hillsborough Community College — faced off first.

The high school students had been scrambling minutes earlier, fixing a claw on their robot. They needed that remote-controlled claw to pick up the toy crabs.

"It was pretty frantic," team captain Tyler Owens, 17, said.

They fixed it with spare parts and lowered "Lionfish" into the water.

On the other side of the pool, the Hillsborough Community College students had some trouble. Their more expensive and complicated robot, "Fish Hawk," wasn't working.

Team captain Siva Beharry made the call to pull the robot out of the water. The compressor drew too much power. They should have had another outlet, he said.

Sometimes a simpler robot is better, HCC computer science instructor Richard Senker said.

"Keep it simple, because fewer components can break," he said.

That seemed to be the driving philosophy behind King's robot, which was made of PVC pipes, water noodles, a baking rack and propeller. Owens controlled it with a joystick on a black control box.

The college students' robot was bigger, connected with a thick bundle of cords in a rainbow of colors. Beharry controlled it with a computer.

Beharry's brother and teammate, Ary Beharry, said that while the complicated machine gave them trouble, it had taught them about the potential of remotely operated vehicles.

"It was definitely a learning experience," he said.

That's the goal of the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center's competition, judges said. Coordinator Erica Moulton encouraged the students to network with judges and officials, who work with robots.

"Ask him how you can get his job," she told the students, pointing to an Odyssey Marine Exploration employee.

King High School came back for the second round with a vengeance. The team completed the mission, collected all the items and took an accurate temperature reading.

"I'm pretty proud of how it all turned out," Owens said. He plans to attend the University of Florida next year to major in aerospace or nuclear engineering.

The King team placed third, while Edgewater High School from Orlando won. But Owens is quick to point out his team beat the college students.

"I feel good because we beat HCC by a lot," he said. "We're just a high school, and they're college students."

Though he won't be back next year, the team will be. King High School has grant money for more engineering projects. It'll use some of that money for next year's robot, physics teacher Steve Banister said.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

Students dive into aquatic robot competition 04/12/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee:

  2. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot

    News

    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of WESH.com
  3. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  4. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.