MATE Olympic Coast ROV Competition challenges local students to create an underwater robot to ensure public safety, help uphold healthy waterways and preserve historical artifacts. The students’ robots were on display in the Forks Athletic and Aquatic Club on Saturday, May 18.
An annual event, the Mate Olympic Coast ROV Competition encourages students from the Olympic Peninsula to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and math skills as they develop underwater robots – also known as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) – to complete missions based on real-world issues and events.
The competition theme and missions change each year. The international competition took place in Kingsport, Tennessee, this year’s contest highlighted the role ROVs play in inland waterways, including where history plays a significant role. This part of the country has Civil War artifacts that need careful recovery. Not only that, man-made structures and the landscape, which includes Boone Dam, the Great Smoky Mountain range and Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Trail, need repair, restoration and preservation.
Through this competition, students also are exposed to business practices because they are tasked with creating mock companies and must work together to “manufacture, market and sell” their products, i.e. their ROVs. This simulated company approach promotes the development of entrepreneurship and leadership skills as students manage a project and budget, brainstorm solutions, prepare reports and poster displays, and deliver presentations, which is necessary in future careers.
The following schools participated in the competition:
• Forks Intermediate
• Forks Jr. High
• Quileute Tribal School
• Lake Quinault Middle School
• Taholah Middle School
• Port Townsend STEM 4H
Mate Olympic Coast ROV Competition is supported by local sponsors, including NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Motorola, North Pacific Coast Marine Resource Committee and Surfrider Foundation Olympic Peninsula Chapter. Local professionals, including engineers and inventors, volunteer as judges for the competition, evaluating the students’ ROVs, poster displays and engineering presentations.
The MATE Olympic Coast ROV Competition is one of 36 regional contests held around the world and managed by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center and MATE for Inspiration and Innovation (MATE II).