Santa Cruz High School Students Build Remote-Controlled Underwater Vehicles for Ocean Experiments – KION546

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) Students from the Mount Madonna School Engineering Club built an underwater remote control vehicle (ROV) to explore the ocean floors of Catalina Island.

Before the pandemic, the school’s engineering club was taking a trip to Catalina Island in the spring. Because the 2020 and 2021 trip was canceled due to COVID-related restrictions, the trip was postponed until the fall. This year, a few days before the trip, 13 students worked during their lunch breaks and over the weekend to build the underwater robot equipped with a camera that would allow them to explore the ocean off the island. .

“We are testing to make sure all parts are properly soldered to the motherboard,” said junior Sam Kaplan, who was helping classmate Cecily Kelly and senior Liana Kitchel prepare the ROV control box components.

“This part is no more difficult than building with Legos,” commented senior Addy Catterall-Pendleton, holding a complete engine and propeller unit in her hands.

During their trip, students will use ROVs to collect data in a remote area of ​​Catalina Island where the school has been studying for 10 years. This includes observing ecosystems along the coastline and reef systems, according to teacher and co-supervisor Lisa Catterall. Catterall adds that the students will have time to test the ROV at Little Fisherman Cove and use it at other sites on the island.

Students typically observe and record the behaviors of several animals that live near the island, such as leopard sharks, Catalina gobies, Pacific octopus, and other forest kelp species. These ROVs will allow students to explore the animal’s habitats without disturbing it too much.

“Physical oceanography focuses on the physical and chemical properties of the ocean, including currents, tides and topography, and more directly the biological and engineering activities in which we engage students on our trip to Catalina, “said student professor Dr. Nicole Tervalon, who holds a doctorate in ocean engineering from MIT” The ocean has a major impact on all of our lives. “


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