Indiana State University has organized the first state competition for a new underwater robotics program. The technology and engineering students of the university played host as they volunteered their services for the inaugural SeaPerch state finals.
The ISU Arena was the venue for students from 10 high schools in the state as they competed in three events with submersible SeaPerch vehicles. The skill of the student controlling the robot was as much in evidence as the robot’s design in the competition.
Kara Harris, director of undergraduate services in ISU's College of Technology said that having the kids at ISU was a great opportunity for the university to showcase itself. The three events that the students competed in were an obstacle course, a ring salvage operation and an amphibious assault. The submerged robotic vehicle is handled by a person on the surface with a panel control.
Lori Richmond, director of learning for SeaPerch said that ISU was really growing its unmanned vehicle systems, and it's a very reputable school in technology and innovation. Adding that it was in a good location for the students to access and working with the professors here to organize the competition made the process much more efficient.
SeaPerch was set up in 2003 to generate interest in underwater studies. The program’s goal is to teach students the value of technology as they go on to post secondary education in the fields of technology or engineering. Most high school students who participated in the event thought it was an interesting and educative outing.