Bowtech Products is delighted to support the MATE Scotland ROV challenge, secondary school underwater robot competition. The company undertook the underwater filming of the competition using MCVIS-1 mini compact video inspection systems and has gifted a colour tooling camera and LED light to the Mintlaw Academy team ROV.
The MATE competition challenges school, community college and university students from all over the world to design and build ROVs to tackle missions modelled after scenarios from the ocean workplace. The competition provides students with the opportunity to develop and build upon their engineering skills and more that are transferrable through to their curricular studies. Students are required to think of themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’ and transform their teams into companies that manufacture, market and sell ‘products’. In addition to engineering their ROVs, the students are required to prepare technical reports, poster displays and engineering presentations that are delivered to working professionals who serve as competition judges. There are 22 regional contests this year, taking place across the USA and in Canada, plus Hong Kong, Japan, Egypt and Scotland – the winners of each then going forward to Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Michigan to take part in the 2014 Mate International ROV final on 26-28 June 2014.
The competition was held in April 2014 at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. The team of pupils from Mintlaw Academy, Aberdeenshire beat competition from Alford Academy, Alness Academy, Banff Academy, Bridge of Don Academy, Bucksburn Academy, Craigmount High School, Edinburgh, Mackie Academy, Menzieshill High School, Dundee, Peterhead Academy and Robert Gordon College to achieve first place for the second consecutive year. The Mintlaw team will travel to the Thunder Bay Finals and hope to improve on their performance at last year’s finals in Seattle. Ali Hynd, principal teacher of technology at Mintlaw Academy said, “The project has grown arms and legs since (Seattle) and the team now collectively spend approximately 40 hours a week designing, building and experimenting with the vehicle and the tooling. The rewarding thing from my point of view is that most of this is done in their own time, at lunch or after school.” Developing their public speaking, two of the Mintlaw students have also spoken about their experiences to over 800 subsea professionals at the Subsea Expo Awards dinner, a daunting task for any experienced after-dinner speaker.
By connecting students with employers and professionals from the workplace, the competitions also expose them to ocean-related career opportunities and help them to see the pathways to those careers. Brian Hector, technical director of Bowtech Products commented: “The biggest challenge facing our industry today is lack of engineers, we need to do all we can to encourage school leavers and graduates into the subsea industry”.