translated to be…remotely operated vehicles at Dauphin Island Sea Lab. After learning about various ways that information is collected remotely, we had an opportunity to build and pilot an R.O.V. What fun! Each group received 3 motors and there were buckets of pre-cut pieces of PVC pipe of various lengths and shapes (straight, elbows and Ts) that we used to build our vehicle.
Our first effort was rectangular and big, but then we realized that perhaps it would be too heavy and so we down scaled it to something smaller and more compact. Next we had to add some of the pipe insulation that would make it float.
Notice the arm on the left side? The goal was to operate the vehicle to dive down and retrieve one of the dive rings at the bottom of the pool and then have your vehicle surface and bring the ring to you. Basically, you are telling the vehicle to go fetch. The first trick was to get the ROV to float by putting on enough insulation. But, if it had too much insulation then the motor was not strong enough to make it descend. Ok, we finally got that set and could maneuver the ROV on the bottom of the pool.
With a bit of maneuvering you could get the ring on arm….
which brings up the next challenge. The vehicle is now heavier than it was and cannot surface, so we reel it in and tinker a bunch and try it again. I am a big fan of design and build challenges in which you get to try it and refine and then try it again. We played quite happily until it appeared stormy and it was time to seek shelter. What a great learning experience!