Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
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Robots Storm CMA

The robots are coming! Technology, young inventors, ocean exploration and futuristic innovations converge during our Robotics By the Sea event on August 17th. CMA is excited to be hosting this free action-packed day for the fifth year in a row.

Robotics By the Sea launched from a broader discussion on how to incorporate research technology into the Aquarium’s core set of classes each summer. “In order to focus our middle school class on research technology, we knew the topic had to be fascinating and new,” said Aquarium Educator Jim DePompei. “Something that would get kids interested in not only science and research, but also technology. So we decided to build an underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle) during a new Wet Tech class.”

DePompei oversees the class each year and since the inception it has evolved from everyone teaming up to build one underwater ROV to students building several ROVs in small groups. Students walk in with very little technical experience if any, yet after five days they have built a robot.

“The best part about the class is watching kids who have no background in engineering, wiring or technology, actually take the materials and create functional underwater ROVs,” said DePompei. “The first three days are the hardest because students are still figuring out how to reach the end goal with a mess of wires; they just don’t see it yet. Once they actually put the ROV in the water on Thursday and they start piloting it around, suddenly this look of pure amazement crosses their face.”

Each year, students are tasked with building ROVs for a specific purpose. The missions are modified scenarios from an organization called Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE), which hosts an underwater robotics competition every year. One year the challenge was to remove oil from a sunken WWII ship before water corroded the oil tank and spilled on nearby coral reefs. Another year, students had to raise archeological finds on the bottom of the ocean and bring them to the surface.

“The idea is to combine science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which is being promoted in teaching standards as STEM,” explained DePompei. “One of the best ways of bringing all these aspects together is through robotics because it includes the design elements for engineering, the scientific need for building the robot, the mathematics required for determining the amount of electricity and the technology needed to bring the robot to life.”

Join us for Robotics By the Sea and see what Wet Tech class members have constructed this year. You will even have the chance to test drive what they’ve built. Local high school robotics clubs will also be demonstrating remote control robots they’ve fashioned and there will be robot-related arts and crafts to help jumpstart your imagination and ingenuity. Support young innovators by stepping into the future at this exciting event!

Post Date: Monday, August 5, 2013


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