For the second consecutive year, the Newport High School robotics team “Finnovators” won first place in the regional MATE ROV competition in Lincoln City, Oregon. The Finnovators is one of three robotics teams at Newport High School, and is composed of eight seniors. The team will advance to the international competition, to be held in Long Beach, California in late June.
At the regional competition, teams across Oregon demonstrated their ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) by completing underwater tasks. This included, among other challenges, retrieving contaminant data from the bottom of a pool, turning a valve, and disconnecting a power cable. Finally, the teams presented marketing and technical reports about their ROVs, and judges correspondingly asked questions. For the tasks and presentation, the teams were awarded points, and the Finnovators ended with the most.
The process culminating in this victory was arduous and required hundreds of hours of work. However, the result was a complex machine. The ROV features a claw, motors, cameras, and parts that were 3D-printed at Newport High School. The electronics of the ROV require two different coding languages, Python and Arduino, with code written by the team members.
The other two teams from Newport, the Cybernautics and Marine One, were also successful. These students were able to create their own ROVs for the competition, despite their lesser amount of experience. Further, these teams had some of the sophistication of the Finnovators, as they also used software code, 3D-printed components, and soldering. Like the Finnovators, the majority of the components for their ROVs were hand-made.
This demonstrates the benefits of the robotics program: it allows high school students of all ages and backgrounds to explore careers and learn teamwork and technical skills. As robotics is an extracurricular club, the teams do not receive funding from the school district.
Instead, the students fundraise a significant amount of their budget. However, this does not cover all of their expenses, which include electronics, building materials, and traveling costs. Thus, the team has sponsors from companies and organizations such as Georgia Pacific, AUVSI, Siletz Tribe, Marine Tech Society, Sexton Marine, Oregon STEM hub, Figaro’s and Lincoln County. The team is also accepting donations to fund their trip to the international competition through a GoFundMe page, which can be found under the title “Send NHS ROV team to Internationals.”
Information provided by Newport High Robotics Team