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Students build underwater robots to perform tasks

Reported by: Jessica Albert
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Updated: 3/01/2014 8:21 pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Students from 10 schools from across the region competed against one another at the SeaPerch South competition in Starkville Saturday.
"You can sit in class and learn physics and math, but it's really great when you can actually apply them to a real world use," student Trey Wallace said.

Work on the robots takes hours.

"So they've really got to think the whole process out because they're starting really from true raw materials," SeaPerch South competition coordinator Eric Heiselt said.

The students goal was to make it so their robots could complete certain tasks underwater.

Which gave them a lesson in trial and error.

"But more importantly, how do you problem solve?" Heiselt said. "It didn't work. What do I do now? You can't just throw the whole thing out. The job still has to get done."

The students used wax to shield their motors from the water.

They also had to worry about other possible factors, like the current in the pool.

"So, a lot of times the kids are learning to be much more technical than they are in some of the other pieces where it's kind of like a toy set they're just putting together," Heiselt said.

The students said they were up for the challenge.

"It's a lot of fun to do the competition and it's great preperation for future jobs," Wallace said.

The students not only had to build the robots but also had to prepare a presentation to go along with them.

"We could build a robot, but there's nothing to say that we actually did it unless we can talk about it and explain why we did what we did," Wallace said.

Everything they learned can all be used for whatever comes next.

"There's a field for everybody in engineering and it can be a jumping place," student Angelica Maiers said. "You can go from engineering to another major you're interested in."

The students also said the key to success in a competition like this is dedication.

Four of the teams will go onto the SeaPerch national event being held in Hattiesburg in May.

Those teams will compete against 500 others from all across the country.
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