Roboti­cists pool tal­ents

The Leader (Tasman) - - SPORT -

Rich­mond was the scene of an un­der­wa­ter ro­bot bat­tle when the NZAquaBots Chal­lenge hit the ASB Aquatic Cen­tre last Sun­day.

Nine teams rep­re­sent­ing about 50 stu­dents from Garin Col­lege, Motueka High School, Nel­son Col­lege and Nel­son Col­lege for Girls spent months con­struct­ing pipe-based ‘‘AquaBots’’ out of kits im­ported from the United States be­fore pit­ting their cre­ations against one another.

Dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion, ro­bots com­pleted an un­der­wa­ter ob­sta­cle course and raced to sal­vage div­ing rings from the bot­tom of the pool and carry them back to a bas­ket.

The stu­dents also had to give a pre­sen­ta­tion about their ro­bot and its skills.

Amer­i­can-born NZAquaBots di­rec­tor and Garin Col­lege physics teacher Jay In­man started the pro­gramme af­ter be­ing in­volved with a US ver­sion

Garin Col­lege’s ‘‘Team Nau­tilus’’ pre­pares for the sal­vage race dur­ing the first NZAquaBots Chal­lenge Com­pe­ti­tion at the ASB Aquatic Cen­tre on Sun­day. From left are Fin­lay Lan­ge­laan, 14, Molly In­man, 14, Harry Woodyear-Smith, 15, and Ju­lia Froel­ing, 14. named Sea Perch.

He said the ro­bots were highly cus­tomis­able, say­ing one Nel­son Col­lege for Girls team gave their ro­bot forks for arms. The way dif­fer­ent teams placed their ro­bot’s mo­tors also made a dif­fer­ence to speed and mo­bil­ity.

‘‘Some of them had glitches and some got tan­gled up with each other while they were do­ing the course, but we didn’t have any cat­a­strophic fail­ures,’’ he said.

‘‘All of the aquabots func­tioned re­ally well.’’

Eight judges from the Cawthron In­sti­tute, the Nel­son Marl­bor­ough In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, the New Zealand Navy and oth­ers chose Garin Col­lege’s Team Nau­tilus as the win­ner.

The team will have the op­tion of tak­ing part in Sea Perch’s com­pe­ti­tion in the US next May.

Jay said that if they were able to af­ford the trip, Team Nau­tilus would be the only group from out­side the US com­pet­ing.

‘‘We’ll do ev­ery­thing from sausage siz­zles to ap­proach­ing com­pa­nies and bene­fac­tors who might want to see a New Zealand team suc­ceed over in Amer­ica.

‘‘It’s an Amer­ica’s Cup for un­der­wa­ter ro­bot­ics.’’

Un­der­wa­ter thun­der:

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