Electronic Design

Underdog Robot Takes Underwater Competition

The field included MIT and other seasoned specialists in engineering and marine technology. Yet Carl Hayden High School, a rookie team from the deserts of Phoenix, Ariz., grabbed first place in the Explorer class of the Third Annual ROV Design and Building Competition for High School and College Students. Sponsored by the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center and held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the three-day event challenged 22 teams to design, build, test, and operate their own remotely operated underwater vehicles.

Teams earned points for completing missions as well as for preparing technical reports, verbal presentations, and a poster display. The Carl Hayden High School Falcon Robotics Team also earned the Judges' Award for best remotely operated vehicle, the Elegance in Design Award, and First Place for Technical Writing. While this was the school's first time in the MATE Center's competition, it has participated successfully in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) Robotics program for the last three years.

The team's robot, "Stinky," features several key innovations. Rather than analog systems, it uses digital computer processors. Its PVC frame provides buoyancy and versatility at low cost. A self-contained battery offers efficiency as well as stability in water currents. And, a modified laser range finder determines distance to objects underwater.

Led by teachers Fred Lajvardi, Allan Cameron, and Sam Alexander, the team includes Christian Arcega, Luis Arranda, Lorenzo Santilian, Oscar Vasquez, Michael Hanck, Griselda Ibarra, and Robert Neice. For more information, go to www.marinetech.org/roc_competition or www.freewebs.com/falconroboticsrov.

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