Marine Research: The ROV Project

      A remotely operated underwater vehicle is a tethered underwater mobile device. This meaning is different from remote control vehicles operating on land or in the air. ROVs are unoccupied, highly maneuverable, and operated by a crew either aboard a vessel, a floating platform of some kind or in close proximity to land.  Building an ROV is not only a great way to introduce students to underwater exploration but complements the Design and Makerlab curriculum as well.  Here's how. 

         Students can choose from a growing selection of entry level ROV's that are simple in design and reasonably cost effective.  We selected an ROV in a Box kit that provided us with a good starting point or platform on which to build.  The ROV would be powered by three modified bilge pumps and would feature an onboard HD camera and binocular LED array.  Our ROV would be driven by a sealed 12 volt battery tethered to a control module operated on land.  The primary construction material is PVC pipe which is easy to work with and allows for easy changes in design or construction.

     The ROV Project embraces project based learning (PBL) using a multi disciplinary approach to teaching.  Students would rotate from one activity to another both in and out of the classroom.  Each class is divided into teams who are responsible for some aspect of the ROV design, construction or its operation.  Students research the history of underwater exploration, learn about recent historical discoveries such as the Titanic, the Bismark or the CSS Hunley or examine some of the physical principles that enable these vessels to float... or sink.  Students are often faced with design or assembly challenges that require problem solving skills in order to overcome them.  The results are really impressive.

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