Tag Archives: ROV

Fifth Place and Frugal

Yes, we did just get 5’th place in the MATE International ROV competition, beating out big fancy schools like Purdue and Ohio State, and we did it in style.

(By “style” I mean “multicolored LBCC t-shirts we hastily purchased from the bookstore minutes before we left, which resulted in people getting us confused with Long Beach City College.”)

As the mom of the trip, I can’t help but be insanely proud of my boys for how amazingly well they did.


You know how hard it is to get family photos, right? Someone is always either blinking or crying, and often you forget altogether. So, since we didn’t get a good family/team photo, I’ll have to leave you with a candid shot of us eating dinner.


Not only did we come in fifth, but we also won the “biggest bang for your buck” award, which is basically the “you cheap” award.

We did, after all, score 210 points with a bot that cost us $1500, compared to, say, Purdue, who spent $25,000 on a bot that scored them 25 points.

Our plaque featured a one dollar bill, and was placed sideways in its cheap plastic frame.

We made fun of it adequately.

But in the end, we were insanely proud of ourselves. Our heads visibly increased in mass.

(Cue geeky discussion about whether “getting a big head” constitutes an actual change in mass or not)

(All photos except the last one were taken by Nick Ruedig. Thanks Nick.)

Pictures With Words On Them




Narwhals Always Win

Today we all wore LBCC shirts that didn’t exactly match.

“Next year, we should call ourselves the ‘otterpops,'” joked one club member.

“Our theme this year is ‘as cheap as possible,'” said another.

Our robot did look a little lame next to the sleek models sported by other schools. The frame was constructed from PVC, which is a pretty cheap material, and a lot of our components were make from stuff found around the lab from previous years.

Still, we were confident that our little robot could pick things up and move them around with it’s nifty claw made from hairbrushes.

The claw in operated with pressurized air from a dive tank. Kyle, our CEO, stopped by a dive shop yesterday and rented a dive tank to run it.

Today, when it came time for our robot to run through the missions tasks, we suddenly realized that our tank wasn’t connecting to the system right. So Sam P, who was so sick yesterday that he had a temperature and was barfing and couldn’t participate in our presentation, madly sprinted around the parking lot until he found our van and got the spare tank.

So. 2/3’s of the time we had no pneumatic power. Most of the tasks involved moving things around the pool, and we had no working claw. Still, we managed to get 195 out of 300 possible points, which puts us currently in about 4’th or 5’th place.

This is all thanks to our phenomenal driver Griffin.

Yesterday we snapped a picture of Griffin standing next to a statue of a guy who looked eerily like him.

Tomorrow we will have a chance to run through the missions again, and if we get a higher score it will override today’s score.

Also, we will get a significant amount of points from the tech report, the poster, and the presentation we did yesterday.

I won’t know how we did on those three things until tomorrow. I went up and checked on our poster to see if there was a score on it yet, and there wasn’t. But someone had stuck a sticky note on it with our team number.

There was a group of judges next to me. “We put sticky notes on the ones we thought could be first or second place,” I overheard one of them say to another.

I counted. There were about five posters that had sticky notes on them.

So overall things are looking pretty good for the Narwhal.


Traveling With Robot Boys

Part 1: Discussions we had while traveling up to Seattle.

– What is the difference between the terms “cylindrical” and “tubular?”

– Have people done scientific research to figure out the most annoying/scary/attention-getting sequence of flashing lights on police cars?

– Does the term “guys” refer to only males or is it gender neutral?

That last one I heard just as I was waking from a nap, and I began to explain how the term “guy” originated from Guy Fawks, not really sure if it was relevant to the conversation or not.

“Yeah, does she look like Guy Fawks?” said one boy to another. So I think someone had referred to the whole vanload as “guys” when there was, in fact, a girl along: me.

Part 2: Cool Labs

Our first stop was the University of Washington, where we got to tour a couple labs and see how they make underwater gliders and these floaty things that measure wave turbulence.

It was super cool. But as I had gotten up and eaten breakfast at 5 in the morning, and it was now 3 pm, I was too hungry and tired to enjoy it properly.

Part 3: The communications specialist gets to work.

We fought rush-hour traffic, ate supper, and got to our motel. I took a nap, and then woke up at 9 pm and began working on the tech report, spec sheet, and speech.

I drank tea to keep awake. Now surely my sleep schedule is messed up, but I feel as though I’ve contributed to the team even though I didn’t design a robot arm with continuous spin.


Sam, Amos, and Griffin figuring out what they’ll say for the speech portion.

Part 4: Last funny side-note.

Griffin has a mustache. The ROV club constantly makes “Griffin’s mustache” jokes. Griffin’s mustache is not only a sort of Chuck Norris esq character, it if also the source of Griffin’s magical powers.