Recently, my sister and I finished the SeaPerch robotics competition. Our team (4H SmartBotics) built an underwater robot. Our task was to create a bot that could maneuver a hoop obstacle course, and collect and move different sized balls that we had to release by engaging a lever.
The robot was comprised of PVC pipes, 3 thrusters (motors with propellers), netting, and ballast (washers). In order to waterproof our thrusters, we covered the motors in electrical tape, then coated them with toilet bowl wax (Eww! – that’s what we are working on in the above pictures) and placed them in plastic canisters.
We worked long and hard on our robot – the adults are not allowed to do any of the work. In the picture below we are soldering the electrical wires to the motors.
Below is a pool practice before we painted the ROVs orange so that they were easier to see in the water. This was Ariana’s first try at navigating. It’s not as easy as it looks!
The regional competition was held on Rowan University’s campus. We used their pool to complete our tasks. Our teams were the Sharks (I wanted to call us the Hammerheads) and the Cyclones. Each team had two “navigators”. One handled the robot’s cable and the other handled the controller. To cheer them on at competition, our team wore matching green tees and made posters. Our parents were the leaders, so we got to do a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff, too.
In the end, we ended up winning 1st and 3rd in our category (Open competition, middle school), which was just about the best we could have done. Both us and our parents could not have been happier.
In the videos below you can see one of our robots in action!
Our team members were in the nj.com news…way to go Smartbotics Sharks!