Because 2007 has been designated as the International Polar Year (IPY) by the International Council for Science, the annual ROV competition will highlight our planet’s Polar Regions and the impact they have on the global climate. According to the IPY, the earth’s Polar Regions are immensely influential on the Earth’s climate, environment, ecosystems, and human societies — yet we have comparably little knowledge about polar environments and climates and their effects on other ecosystems.
The MATE Center hopes to change that, by working with members of the IPY community to develop next year’s competition scenarios, which will be designed to present middle school, high school, community college, and university students with the same types of challenges that scientists and engineers face when working in these environments.
The 2007 international competition will be held June 22-24, 2007 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, at the facilities of the Marine Institute (MI) and the Institute for Ocean Technology (IOT). Part of Memorial University, MI is Canada's leading center of fisheries and marine training. The IOT is a federal government research laboratory that conducts ocean engineering research through modeling of ocean environments, predicting and improving the performance of marine systems, and developing innovative technologies that bring benefits to the Canadian marine industry. State-of-the-art facilities at MI and IOT include:
|•||The largest flume tank in the world, with a water capacity of 1.7 million liters, and water velocity ranging from 0-1 meters per second.|
|•||An engineering basin that is used to simulate the extreme ocean environment; waves, wind, and currents can be controlled to achieve various sea states.|
|•||An ice tank where the water surface can be frozen and the air temperature maintained at a uniform -30 to 15 degrees Celsius to simulate the polar environment.|
Before the June event, teams from across the world will participate in regional events. Currently, fourteen regional competitions are part of the MATE Center’s ROV competition network:
• Florida (Tampa Bay, FL)
• Great Lakes (Alpena, MI.)
• Hawaii Big Island (Kailua-Kona, HI)
• Hawaii Oahu (Honolulu, HI)
• Hong Kong
• Mid-Atlantic (Norfolk, VA.)
• Monterey Bay (Monterey, CA)
• New England (Buzzards Bay, MA.)
• Newfoundland & Labrador (St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada)
• Northern California (Eureka, CA)
• Pacific Northwest (Federal Way, WA)
• Southeast (Savannah, GA.)
• Southern California (San Diego, CA)
• Texas (Houston, TX)
ROVs are underwater robots used to support scientific research, the offshore oil and gas and telecommunications industries, underwater archaeology, underwater construction and structural inspections, and port and harbor security. MATE’s competitions use ROVs as a way to teach technical, engineering, scientific, and critical thinking skills–skills in great demand in today’s technical workplace. MATE’s competitions are also important because they help students become aware of careers where they can apply these skills, a critical step in addressing the shortage of qualified engineers and technical professionals.
Headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California, the MATE Center is a national partnership of community colleges, universities, high schools, employers, and working professionals whose mission is to improve marine technical education and meet marine workforce needs. Its competition is the first student robotics competition to focus exclusively on ROVs. The competition is supported by the NSF, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Marine Technology Society ROV Committee and other ocean and technologyrelated organizations.
For more information, please visit www.marinetech.org/rov_competition/index.php.
• The MATE Center: www.marinetech.org
• International Polar Year: www.ipy.org
• Memorial University: www.mi.mun.ca