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Hartnell College Team Takes Second Place in Robotics Competition

April 24th, 2007

On Saturday, April 14, nine students from the Hartnell College Rockets and Robotics Club braved the rain and competed in the Monterey Bay Regional ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) competition.

The Monterey Bay Regional contest is an annual event organized by the Marine Advance Technology Center and Monterey Peninsula College. In honor of 2007 being the International Polar Year, the 2007 ROV competition challenged students to design and construct ROVs that operate in underwater polar environments. During the competition, each team had to operate its ROV vehicle to complete three missions:

Mission 1: FLUME TANK - the ROV had to thread a messenger line through an anchor ring and return the line to the surface.

Mission 2: ICE TANK - the ROV had to complete three tasks: (1) collect jellyfish (simulated by "O-balls"), (2) collect a sample of algae (simulated by ping pong balls), and (3) deploy a passive acoustic sensor (simulated by an ABS pipe, PVC end caps, a chain, and a dive weight).

Mission 3: OFFSHORE ENGINEERING BASIN - the ROV had to install a gasket in a wellhead and inject corrosion prohibiter into the wellheadís protective cover.

Students were judged on how well their ROV completed these missions, the quality of their poster, and their engineering presentation and design.

This was Hartnellís first time competing in the contest. Of nine competing schools from the Northern California region, the Hartnell College Rockets and Robotics Club earned second place.

In June, the club will present its ROV project during the Senior Design Team Symposium at the Jack Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. The teamís poster and ROV are currently on display in Merrill Hall.

Angelica Meza, the president of the Rockets and Robotics Club, came up with the idea to enter the competition. Her interest in robotics stemmed from her participation, last summer, in an internship at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). During her internship, she worked on an artificial intelligence project involving the programming of aibos (robotic dogs). This summer, she will participate in a project in the Rocket Laboratory at NPS involving the design, layout, and construction of a data acquisition training workbench. Angelica will pursue a major in aerospace engineering at Cal Poly, Pomona in the fall.

The funding for the construction of the ROV was provided by the NASA-Curriculum Improvement Partnership Award (CIPA), which is a three-year grant project management grant awarded to Hartnell by NASA.

For more information about the club, please contact Dr. Pimol Moth, Hartnell College physics and astronomy instructor, 831-755-6893.