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Underwater Robotics at EWU

Published: February 16, 2017

CHENEY, Wash.   As part of its ongoing effort to encourage future students to pursue a STEM education, Eastern Washington University welcomed the regional SeaPerch challenge on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the EWU Aquatic Center.

SeaPerch competition 2017, EWU Aquatic Center

The innovative robotics competition included up to 80 middle school students from around the region. Participants used their remote controlled underwater vehicles to navigate different challenge courses and obstacles in the pool. Winners are now eligible to take part in a national competition. The EWU Student Club of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) hosted the competition, in association with the Spokane Senior Chapter of the ASME.

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the SeaPerch program equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Students build the ROV from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts, following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme.

EWU student volunteers from the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs provided the majority of staff to run the event.

The SeaPerch Program provides students with the opportunity to learn about science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM). Throughout the project, students will learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork and technical applications.

SeaPerch competition photo, student placing underwater vehicle in pool

Keeping with the robotics theme, Eastern Washington University will also be the site of the FIRST Robotics District Championship April 6-8. Featuring teams from all around the Northwest, this year's First Robotics Challenge (FRC) is called "Steamworks".

The game, according to FIRST, challenges robotic teams and their alliances to utilize steam power to prepare their airships for the ultimate long distance race. Up to 64 teams are expected to compete at this event on the EWU campus.

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