University of Arizona Student Developing Underwater Robots for Exploration and Defense

For engineering senior Eduardo Moreno from the University of Arizona this summer will not be spent idly. He will spend this summer building underwater robots that will be tested and used in exploration and national defense.

Autonomous Cooperative Underwater Robotic Vehicle or A-CURVE is a low cost underwater robot that he designed and constructed last year. He will work to enhance and modify the robot which is essentially designed for shallow water exploration and closed spaces. It is used at the depth of 45 to 100 feet.

His mentor, Ricardo Sanfelice, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering is hoping to get him a federal grant to continue working on the project. Last summer, Moreno worked on the project as part of the McNair Achievement Program. The program is a U.S. Department of Education graduate school preparation program for low-income, first-generation college students in their junior or senior years with GPAs of 3.0 or higher.

Last year Moreno worked primarily on his own by funding the project with scholarship money and getting additional funds from corporate sponsors. He outsources manufacturing of parts to a company in Mexico near his hometown and even scavenged for parts on Ebay.

His enterprising spirit paid off and the University of Arizona Underwater Robotics Research Team won the 2010 Graduate and Professional Student Council student showcase and in 2011 won the Best Use of Off-the-Shelf Components category during the Engineering Design Day competition.

Moreno said that his motivation is not only to do a really good job at whatever he was doing and to see this robotic concept through, but rather to multiply his impact on society through a group of people and provide an environment where those working on a common project can learn from each other and take something with them.

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