The Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South engineering clubs will be teaming up to compete in the Sixth National SeaPerch Challenge to be held May 2016 at the Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge.
Both teams advanced to the nationals as a result of their scores in the U.S. Navy SeaPerch Challenge held on Friday, October 9. The underwater robotics competition is hosted annually as part of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week in Edinburg.
“The clubs have been putting their robots to the test after school to make sure that the buoyancy, speed are enough for the robot to do what the course is asking for,” said Javier Garza, Pre-Engineering Teacher at HHSS. “Students really enjoy working on it, and they gain a lot of experience from this. We are very excited to be here.”
HHS came in 1st in the nautical obstacle course and advanced to the final interview stage while HHSS tied for 1st place overall in the presentation category.
Twenty-four high school teams from across South Texas designed and built Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) to maneuver through an obstacle course and pick up rings from the bottom of the pool to place them in an underwater container.
“For this competition, we built a robot using a kit that was provided,” said Conner Smith senior at HHS. “It took us about two or three weeks to build the robot. It took a little bit longer than we expected because most of our team is also working on the BEST robotics competition. So we had two robots that were being built at the same time. We got a few good days of practice at the Aquatics Center in Harlingen.”
Students also completed a presentation portion – worth 50 points of their overall score – in which they explained the details of their design, and tests performed along with the physics and engineering behind their robot. Adjudicating their presentations were a panel of judges, which consisted of U.S. Navy officers.
“During brainstorming, we asked ourselves, ‘What is the most hydrodynamic way to get through an obstacle and the easiest way to control the robot?’ said Noah Serrato senior at HHSS. “We decided on a football shape for our design. Since that shape goes through the air easily, we felt that it would have a similar effect in the water.”
Scores from the obstacle course, ring pickup, and presentation were tallied for each team’s final results.
For strategic purposes, the groups will be joining forces to represent HCISD as one team in the next level of competition.
To learn more about the SeaPerch Challenge, visit www.seaperch.org.
Click here to view photos of HHS competing.
Click here to view photos of HHSS competing.