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Underwater Robot Competition to Test 600 Middle High School Students

May 9, 2008

Underwater Robot Competition to Test 600 Middle, High School Students

What: More than 600 students from 43 middle and high schools and community colleges in Greater Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland will square off in the third annual Greater Philadelphia Sea Perch Challenge — an underwater robot competition.

Teams will navigate underwater robots, called sea perches, by remote control. Sea perches, which measure 1 foot in length, width and height and are made of plastic tubes and flotation orbs, propellers and sensors, must be maneuvered through rings and recover weighted objects, carrying them to collection buckets.

Teams will be evaluated in two rounds of competition by judges from engineering firms, government agencies and higher education on the speed with which they navigate the course and the mass of the weights they recover. Teams will also make presentations about the design of their sea perches.

Students built sea perches in 14 weeks with the help of professional mentors trained by the Navy. Students learn about robot-building, propulsion systems, controllers, weight and buoyancy in the Sea Perch Challenge, hosted by Drexel University’s College of Engineering, the Delaware Valley branch of the American Society of Naval Engineers and Philadelphia Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Visuals: • Underwater photography opportunity of the robots in action via portals • Students installing camera packs and testing their Sea Perches • Students navigating their sea perches through rings and controlling them to pick up weighted objects • Students’ parents and mentors cheering on the teams

When: Saturday, May 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Peak time: 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Pool on lower level of Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center, 33rd and Market streets


News media contact: Brian Rossiter, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-2705, 267-228-5599 (cell) or

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