OHS shines at international robotics event

Underwater team places 2nd at advanced technology contest in Washington state
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

Ozaukee High School’s underwater robotics team took second place last weekend at the Marine Advanced Technology Education International Remotely Operated Vehicle competition in Federal Way, Wash.

“It was an amazing experience, and our team really worked well through the challenges we faced,” said senior Hannah Bell. 

The students’ skills were tested in underwater archaeology, seismology and renewable energy. There were 65 teams in the competition, which included schools from Hong Kong, Scotland, Egypt, Russia, Turkey and Bermuda.

On the first day, the team faced a hiccup when it initially failed the safety inspection because the ROV’s black box was loose.

“It was apparently a new rule this year, and the judges said our black box wasn’t secure,” Bell said. “We had to go back to one of our hotel rooms to tie and glue the contraption to keep it secure.”

The team eventually passed the inspection but lost 10 points, which Bell said was motivation for the team to make up the difference.

“It was a hard pill to swallow because you don’t want to lose points for something that easy right off the bat,” she said. “We knew we had to focus and get going.” 

The team faced a technical glitch on the second day of the competition during a preliminary underwater test because the ROV lost communication with its tools.

“We couldn’t even go into the water. The day before they were working perfectly fine, and we didn’t know what to do,” Bell said. 

The team regrouped in its tent and re-soldered a few wires, which did the trick.

“We were kind of guessing at that point and got lucky,” Bell said.

During the second pool run, the team tied for the highest score with a school from China by earning 270 points.

Bell said the team was excited with the score but anxious for the third day of competition, which involved cooperating with other teams to place puzzle pieces in the pool.

“We were being judged on how well we worked and collaborated with other teams,” Bell said. “It was fun working with people we didn’t know, and we learned a lot from each other.” 

Heading into the award ceremony, Bell said the team wasn’t sure what its standing would be and members were nervous when they weren’t named for third place.

“We knew we were tied for the top pool run, but we were super stressed because we didn’t know some of our other scores that involved our presentation, marketing display and technical documentation,” she said. 

When the judges announced second place, the team was ecstatic.

“It was a long competition and we were put through a lot of stress,” Bell said. “We were really happy that all of our hard work paid off.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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