MIT Sea Grant: Learn to Build ROV Workshops for Teachers

MIT Sea Grant is quickly entering the second year of the Sea Perch Institute. Find out more about the Sea Perch Institute, and how your school can become involved.  In 2003 MIT Sea Grant College Program (MITSG) started the Sea Perch Program as an innovative way ignite children’s enthusiasm for science, technology and engineering. MITSG educators have run over 24 two-day “train the trainer” workshops across the country and internationally, training over 425 teachers. These teachers then return to their schools and train their students to build an ROV, or remotely operated vehicle.  In 2009 MITSG piloted the Sea Perch Institute, SPI.  SPI allows MITSG educators and engineers to work more closely with selected schools and thoroughly embed Sea Perch into a school’s curriculum.  If selected to participate in SPI, you and your school will receive

-Four professional development sessions throughout the school year

-Classroom visits from MITSG staff

-Support from MITSG educators and engineers

-Access to MIT tow tank, test tanks, AUV lab, and MIT Museum visits

-Stipend for materials

-Final event at MIT with all participants

Schools must commit two teachers to this program.  MITSG will only be accepting four new schools in 2010-2011. Applications are due back to MITSG by September 30, 2010. Schools will be accepted by October 15, and the first professional development workshop is scheduled for October 23, 2010


Sarah O. Hammond Office: 617-715-5148
Lab:  978-283-6275

NE Scientists Record Deepest Undersea Volcano

With funding from NSF and NOAA, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and Harvard University, and others around the U.S. have recorded the deepest erupting volcano yet discovered, describing high-definition video of the undersea eruption collected using ROV Jason as “spectacular.”  NSF’s online press release includes videos of the sub-Pacific eruption of the West Mata volcano.

Live Webinar: ROV Exploration of Antarctica Sea Floor

Register now to participate in a real-time live event with PolarTREC teacher, Michele Cross, and scientists and engineers working near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. This event is hosted through the PolarTREC Live from the International Polar Year! program and will allow participants to learn more about the development of and research conducted by the SCINI ROV robot and the unique ecosystem on the Antarctic sea floor. Participants will have a chance to ask questions and chat with others during the presentation.

Event Date:  Wednesday November 11 2009
Event Time: 7:30 AM Alaska Standard Time [8:30AM PST, 9:30AM MST, 10:30AM CST, 11:30 AM EST]
Registration: Register for this free event and to receive instructions on how to join

Podcasts from Thank You Ocean

In the most recent podcast in the series Thank You Ocean Report, Dirk Rosen, founder and president of Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE),  talks about how, in our need for more information about the health of marine ecosystems, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are becoming important new allies as they help scientists ‘see’ beneath the surface of the ocean. Listen to the podcast

MITS Offers Build Your Own ROV Workshop for Teachers

The Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS), MIT Sea Grant, the Office of Naval Research, and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers are partnering to offer an ROV building workshop for middle and high school teachers.  Participants will experience the MIT  SeaPerch program through building their own ROV and then exploring how this ROV can be used in the classroom and field.  Teachers will receive a complete ROV kit to use in the classroom along with the SeaPerch curriculum guide.

The Sea Perch Program, created by the MIT Sea Grant College Program in 2003, trains educators across the United States and around the world to build the Sea Perch, a simple, remotely operated underwater vehicle, or ROV, made from PVC pipe and other inexpensive, easily available materials. Teachers then work with students to build their own Sea Perches and deploy them on research missions in nearby bodies of water. The hands-on Sea Perch experience is a gateway to further study and careers in robotics, engineering, marine sciences and more.

Where: Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute 85 Prescott Street, Worcester, MA

When:  November 6-7, 2009
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

16 PDPs will be awarded

Cost: This workshop is funded by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers through a grant from the US Office of Naval Research and includes all materials, funds for substitute teachers on Friday, and lunch both days.

To apply: Please email Amy Hoffmaster ( before October 28, 2009 with the following information:
Name, School, School Address, Phone, E-mail Address, Grade Level and Subject(s), Electronics/robotics experience

MATE Underwater Robot Competition Winners

California and Canadian Teams Snare Top Honors at International Student Competition

Buzzards Bay, Mass. At the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center’s International Student ROV Competition, teams of students from five countries gathered around poolside workstations, working together to guide remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) that they designed and built to function as submarine rescue systems.

Fifty-four student teams from five countries, including the U.S., Canada, China (Hong Kong), Scotland, and Russia, participated in MATE’s International Student ROV Competition, held June 24-26 at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Mass.

Competitors include student teams representing middle schools, high schools, home schools, community colleges, universities, after-school clubs, outreach programs, and 4-H and Scout clubs. Teams compete in either the “Ranger” or “Explorer” class, depending on the sophistication of their ROVs and the mission requirements. At the end of the competition, three teams in each of two classes rose above the rest.

Explorer Class Winners

Veteran competitors Long Beach City College of Long Beach, Calif. won overall first place in the Explorer class. The team swept all of the Explorer class categories, earning the top awards for their engineering evaluation, poster presentation, and technical report.  They were the only team that completed all of the pool missions under the allotted time.

Second place went to Flower Mound Robotics of Flower Mound, Tex. Team member Luke Cragin earned one of three Explorer class “Engineering MVP” awards.

Sea-Tech 4-H Club of Skagit County, Wash. won overall third place. The team also won the “Sharkpedo” award for innovation and originality, and was recognized for being the most safety-conscious team.

Ranger Class Winners

In the Ranger class, Dalbrae Academy of Mabou, Nova Scotia took overall first place and had the highest mission score. Heritage Collegiate of Lethbridge, Newfoundland won overall second place honors and had the top technical report.

Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Sciences of Monterey, Calif. earned overall third place. Team member James Caress received one of three Ranger class “Engineering MVP” awards.

Submarine Rescue and Recovery Missions

MATE worked with OceanWorks International and the Deep Submergence Systems Office at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to develop the mission scenarios, which focused on a submarine rescue training exercise. Student teams piloted their ROVs to inspect a simulated submarine for damage, deliver emergency supplies, and replenish the onboard air supply, among other tasks.

In addition to the pool missions, the teams were required to submit and present an engineering report and prepare a poster presentation for volunteer judges that are professional technologists and engineers in marine-related industries.

First held in 2002, the MATE ROV competition program has grown to include 16 regional contests that feed into the international event. The competition teaches science, technical, engineering, math, and critical thinking skills, in great demand in today’s workplace. ROVs help students become aware of marine technology careers in which they can apply these skills, a critical step in addressing the shortage of qualified engineers and technical professionals. The competition also featured the Ocean Career Expo, which provides a forum for students to speak with representatives of sponsoring organizations to learn more about career opportunities.

Sponsors of the MATE ROV competition include the Marine Technology Society (MTS) ROV Committee, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), Oceaneering International, and many other businesses and organizations.

About the MATE Center

Funded by the NSF and headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, Calif., MATE is a national program that works with educators and industry to improve marine technology education and expose students to marine-related careers.  More information about MATE

Complete list of ROV competition winners and award prizes

News Release : Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle “Nereus” Reaches Deepest Part of the Ocean

A new type of deep-sea robotic vehicle called Nereus has successfully reached the deepest part of the world’s ocean, reports a team of U.S. engineers and scientists aboard the research vessel Kilo Moana. The dive to 10,902 meters (6.8 miles) occurred on May 31, 2009, at the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean.  More

International Student ROV Competition

The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center, the National Science Foundation, and the Marine
Technology Society’s (MTS) ROV Committee invite you to the 8th Annual International Student ROV
Competition. Nearly 60 teams representing middle schools, high schools, home schools, after-school groups,
community colleges, and universities from the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, Scotland, and Russia are scheduled to
compete in this year’s event, which is being held June 24 – 26, 2009 at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in
Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. Details on the MATE website

Build Your Own ROV

NOAA scientist Doug Levin has developed a detailed manual to explain how to build a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for underwater use, either in your classroom or at home, for under $100.  The manual lists parts and pieces, where to find them, and photographs of how to assemble them.  The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary website publications page offers the downloadable manual, along with ROV lesson plans, origami and other activities, and much more.  Download the manual